Journey is the fourth game from thatgamecompany. They’re a relatively small studio, but their size shows no limits. They put their time and efforts into making a game experience that is quite unique and offers plenty of emotion and connection with their player. Their titles always have a pick up and play aspect as well, so you won’t have to spend much time with one of their titles to earn how it works. Journey is an extremely good example of this, as it should only take you a few minutes to find out what to do, and what your goal is.
As the game starts you’re shown a shooting star, which passes over a desert. The camera then pans down to reveal your character sat on the sand meditating. From here you will be shown your goal I a short cut-scene, which is to reach the mountain top in the distance. With your progression you will soon meet a companion who will appear from within the dunes. You can make the choice to bring them with you, follow them or make your own path without them. Whatever you decide, you can communicate or pass each other if you so wish to. Your experience will be slightly different if you have a companion due to the way you interact with each other, but this isn’t a requirement.
With the combination of visuals, audio and the world, this game is a must to experience. It’s one of the most beautiful games out there. So if you have a chance to play this title, do so as you won’t regret it.
Audio plays a huge part in how the game unfolds. It can change the mode dramatically, from a happy safe environment, to a cold and dangerous encounter. The audio compliments everything from the world, the graphics, the experience and your experience. The music is subtle and picks up pace when something exciting happens. But it also has its quite and subtle dark sounds, which bring emptiness to the world, like you’re lost or alone.
There is always music playing, even if you don’t notice it. But it doesn’t become repetitive or annoying at any point. The composition overall is what you would expect from any high-end game title. Even if you don’t like classical melodic music, you will find yourself enjoying the sounds that Journey has to offer.
The visuals and graphic styles are very unique to Journey. Each area you enter has its own feel, tone and experience. Even though you’re progressing through a sand filled world, each area manages to feel new and exciting. The character design is simple, but the game runs so well that the graphical style compliments the experience.
You won’t run into area of textures popping in and out, there are no frame rate issues and all the textures are crisp and clean. This pushes you further into the experience as there are no unwanted distractions within the world of the games design that take away from the overall package.
Journey doesn’t really have much of a story, but this isn’t overly important as you have one goal. As you progress the music, visuals and basic communication makes the game more of an experience, which will touch you through the power of music and the creative art styles used throughout the game.
You’re given a very simple set of tools, jump, glide and the option to chirp to the world and follow players. Even though the controls are simple, they’re very intuitive and require a very low learning curse to enjoy the game. Think of it as a pick up and play title, which almost anyone with no gaming knowledge could do. Even though the controls are so simple, the game is all about emerging you in the world and exploring. You will find times where you need to collect various symbols to grow your scarf, which allows you to become airborne, but once depleted you need to locate a source to replenish the scarfs ability. Collecting these symbols also allows your scarf to grow which gives you extra time in the air.
For this title being a game of exploration, puzzles and platforming, you don’t feel like the game is forcing you down one path. The world is open enough, and there usually is only one path to take, but due to its open area design, it doesn’t feel closed in. You would think with this being a platforming title that it would become monotonous, but it really complements the play style. The puzzles are intuitive and usually obvious enough that you won’t spend hours running around wondering what to do, or get bored with trying to find that one switch to progress.
As you explore the forgotten lands of Journey you will either hear a chirp or notice a white flash on your screen. The game will pair you with another player, which you can decide to follow or interact with. The only way to communicate is through chirping and jumps, but with this basic form of communication and isolation, you will find that you will need to develop some sort of code between you and that player.
If you’re someone who doesn’t have internet access or likes to play alone, you can take the game offline and experience everything for yourself, but the preferred method is to play while connected to the network and allow companions so join in on your adventure.
One of the biggest drawbacks to Journey is its length. The game is relatively short and can be completed within a couple of hours. But don’t let this stop you from experiencing what the game has to offer. If you have any interest in the title, then you won’t be disappointed.
The overall experience is one of the most creative and heartwarming experiences on the PS3. If you’re interested in games that can be more than just a game, but a full experience of highs and lows, then you should definitely try this title. There isn’t much else I can say about this, as it’s one of those games where everyone will walk away from it with a different experience, but the developers have done an amazing job with such simple concepts and design.