Thatgamecompany’s Flower was a memorable experience, and their next game called Journey, has been in development for over three years, and considering the fact that it’s a really small team, what they’ve created is something extraordinary. As the game’s name implies, the premise is simple – you have to travel to a certain location, and if you are signed into the PSN, you will meet other players on the way.
There is a twist here though. You will not know who these players are until you beat the game. Who knew a concept so simple, could evoke such a strong emotional response, and cultivate feelings of togetherness. Journey is a beautiful game when it comes to the general visual style, and considering the message that it delivers to the players at the end of the game.
As soon as you begin the game, you’re thrown into this vast desert area with absolutely nothing around you. The goal is to reach the mountain far away in the horizon which is shining brightly. You will find a lot of varied environments here, and once you reach the end, it’s not surprising to have a big smile on your face.
Your character has no name, although, as you keep progressing through the game, you can get longer flight abilities as you keep finding more symbols. It’s sometimes such a magical experience. Of course, the entire game turns on its head when you find your first partner to accompany you in this Journey.
Then till the game finishes, you will be glued to the screen, sticking close to your partner, sending signals and making sure that you don’t lose the sight of him and hope that you guys reach the final destination together. In my first playthrough, I met three guys whose names I barely managed to see after the credits, but it was cool nonetheless.
As you keep playing you will encounter Sentinels who are defending the area, and if you manage to get trapped in their area of sight, expect some heavy damage and lose some of the flight abilities you’ve gained till now. It’s great trying to communicate with your partner and avoiding the sentinel together. I admit I got hit twice, and it wasn’t a pleasant moment.
Sometimes you will lose sight of your partner, and let me tell you something. It feels bad. It really does. You’ve just traveled so far with a random stranger for so long, and when you lose the sight of him/her, you certainly won’t be happy. So here you are, with no ability to communicate with your partner, but with a connection so strong that will put most big competitive multiplayer games to shame. It’s all in the game design. It really is.
Unfortunately, the game is really short. You can finish it in approx. 2 hours or even less. But the good thing about this is that, your eyes will be glued to the screen for all this time, and surprisingly the second playthrough evokes a much bigger emotional responsive. The pacing is perfect here, and the soundtrack really does its job well in immersing you in the game. Protip: please play with with some good headphones, you won’t regret it.
The visual style is sometimes depressing and shows isolation, but it’s also sometimes very colorful and evokes feelings of happiness. There is a good balance here and it’s something Thegamecompany have created very well. Journey at its core is a very linear game, although, sometimes it’s really easy to get lost because of the platforming mechanics, which can take you to another location pretty quickly.
The short length of the game aside, there’s nothing bad here that would stop me from recommending it to everyone. Journey is a magical experience with a fitting name, and it’s something that every video game lover needs to play. The sudden rush of emotions that this game can generate has to be experienced.
This game was reviewed on the PS3.
Gorgeous varied visuals. Amazing soundtrack. Good pacing. The co-op experience is great. Flight mechanics are fun and enjoyable.
The singleplayer experience ends really fast.
Journey is a magical experience with a fitting name, and it's something that every video game lover needs to play. The sudden rush of emotions that this game can generate has to be experienced.