For years there has been discussion about whether or not Videogames can be classified as an art form. If there is just one game that can be used as evidence to that, Journey is it.
You are a mysterious and nameless cloaked traveller and your goal is simple. Head towards the light at the summit of the mountain in the distance.
Traversing the barren desert you will uncover secrets and use your own imagination to understand what might have happened to the world around you. Along the way you will gain help from the cloth creatures that will guide you on your way and give you power that allows you to reach secret areas.
Gameplay consists of walking, jumping and speaking. The speaking element is activated with a tap of the Circle button which bellows a tiny musical note. These notes help attract not only the cloth creatures to come to your aid and invoke life around you, but also the attention of other cloaked travellers.
Journey has a very unique multiplayer system. Playing the game whilst logged into the Playstation Network will randomly connect you to other players experiencing their own Journey. You can choose to travel together or go your separate ways. It’s entirely up to you. Whilst playing I felt like I had to seek out other players, and although you cannot communicate directly through voice chat, the musical notes were more than enough to help me get across what I was trying to say. It’s hard to explain but it just works. For instance, I came across another traveller during the middle section of the game when danger first begins to lurk. My immediate thought was that I needed to protect them and be their guide. I made my way across the sand dunes and let out a big musical note to let them know I was there. We stood and stared at each other for a few seconds, exchanging notes, as to which I began to lead the way with my new partner following closely behind. It was such a beautiful and effective moment that goes to shows how we can communicate just through feelings and emotions, created by the environments we live in and situations we find ourselves in the middle of.
Graphically the game looks beautiful. I honestly didn’t think anyone could pull off as good looking sand as Naughty Dog did in Uncharted 3, but thatgamecompany somehow made it look even better. From the trails your character leaves behind to how it shimmers in the sunlight. It’s a great achievement and not something you are likely to find in many other downloadable titles. The soundtrack features a sweeping orchestral score that plays out wonderfully across the entire game, adding to your immersion into the world and the emotions you are feeling.
Journey is a short game, very short and that might be a problem to people who are on a budget. I beat the game in one sitting and it took a mere couple of hours. However the experience I was given more than justified the £9.99 price tag. It’s not often I go away from a game feeling such a great range of emotions, but Journey did that for me more than I could have ever imagined.
If you enjoyed Flower then I implore you to play this game. I may have finished my Journey in just 2 short hours, but those hours were some of the most fulfilling and heart wrenching I have had in gaming in quite sometime. I understand that details about the game in this review may be quite vague, but that’s done intentionally as to not spoil it for anyone. thatgamecompany deserve all the praise that is being heaped on them at the moment. They have created a rare and special gem within an industry that is growing more and more of a “me too” attitude as each month goes by. It deserves to be experienced. To put it simply….
Journey is a Masterpiece!