Director’s cuts have always been something of a gray area when it comes to games. Some games throw these things out for free, should the devs deem the additional money unnecessary. Some, however, try to sell the games again as a revamped package. Now, I won’t be going into the politics behind these procedures. It all comes down to what’s new after the update’s installed, and that’s what interests us.

At first sight, Q.U.B.E. might look like a simplistic Portal clone, but after starting it up, you will quickly understand that the truth couldn’t be further away from the reality. In the original 2012 release, our protagonist woke up with no recollection of what’s going on whatsoever. Director’s Cut, on the other hand, is featuring charismatic albeit only occasionally heard voices (courtesy of Rachel Robinson and Rupert Evans) guiding you and providing snippets of storyline as you progress. Whereas this new version of the game gives you something to latch onto and a context in which your actions make sense, the original felt disturbingly abstract until the very end. This is the biggest change in the updated game – it removes most of the mystery out of the story. And while I like the whole notion of things being somewhat more logical than they were, I also kind of miss the vagueness emanated by the way the original game played out. I was hoping for an option to toggle the new content, but we’re pretty much forced into it. Of course, the additions are an improvement over what we had before, but still.

Graphically, I don’t think I’ve seen any substantial improvements. Ambient occlusion is nicer, as are the dynamic shadows, and the levels remain an enigma even after you reach the part where things start falling apart. It’s pretty, but also sterile and alien. Just as it should be. So kudos to devs on this, even though it’s nothing new. The soundtrack, on the other hand, has underwent big changes. Instead of the catchy, dynamic and more upbeat music the game had up until now, you will be listening to atmospheric and (a bit) haunting tracks that nicely upgrade the new storyline. The thing is, this new music simply isn’t as memorable as the original tracks were.

Puzzles remain the lifeblood of the game, as expected. Using the high-tech gloves your character is equipped with, you will be able to manipulate many different blocks that are seemingly randomly scattered around the environments. If you haven’t played the original, you’re in for quite a treat. The game begins with simplistic block combination puzzles that will have you set the platforms as necessary and jump across to the far end of the level. And you might expect to see nothing but variants of this system, but you’d be wrong. Further down the line, you’ll have to manage puzzles that involve magnetism and lightning, which might give you a few headaches, but solving them will always prove worth it, if only from the perspective of achieving something.

The Director’s Cut does have some issues to it, however. The shadows can get weirdly rendered, causing the otherwise sterile environments to bug out and forcing you to reload the last save. I had the game crash on me two times, both happened when loading levels. But nothing comes even close to the horror that is the keybinds bug. Being a curious critter, I always try to fiddle around with control schemes and mouse smoothing options. The game worked just fine up until that point, but after I entered the key bindings menu the controls were assigned to a non-existent controller. After resetting them manually (there’s no „defaults“ button to click), I found out that the „A“ button randomly stopped working. On a keyboard. The game simply doesn’t recognize it, even though I can easily use it in the menus and bind it to whatever I want. So I’m playing Q.U.B.E. Director’s Cut using ESDF to move.

What you’ve surely noticed is that these changes aren’t bad per se (disregarding the bugs), but instead create a whole different atmosphere that the fans of the 2012′ release might not find all that enjoyable. It’s a thing of taste, I guess, and it all depends on what kind of experiences you like. Q.U.B.E. Director’s Cut shines a new light onto a relatively old game and will guarantee a second play through, if only to hear the fantastic dialogue as the story plays out. You decide if that’s worth the price. However, if you didn’t get the chance to play the game when it came out, I suggest getting it now.