Sunday, April 01, 2012

Journey Review (spoiler-free)

Year after year gamers spend millions and millions of dollars on titles like Gears of War, Call of Duty, and Madden. I've played each of these myself and have enjoyed all three at some point; however, I don't believe anyone out there would deem them original, especially after the countless sequels we see every year. Journey is one of the most unique titles I've ever played and it couldn't be more different from the aforementioned titles. In a few short paragraphs, I'd like to share with you a little about my experience with this title; however, I won't make you wait to learn exactly how I feel. If you own a Playstation 3, buy - this - game.

Journey is a Playstation Network exclusive from That Game Company, the very same folks who brought critically acclaimed titles such as FlOw and Flower to the Playstation 3. Journey blows them both away. Whereas those games were solely about the experience with very loose objectives, Journey offers clearer objectives with an even more emotional experience, spiritual even.

Breathtaking Visuals.
You control an unnamed traveler and must guide him (or her?) to the top of a mountain. That's it. That's the goal of Journey. What's amazing is how the game reveals objectives and gameplay mechanics with minimal information and no spoken voice whatsoever. The creators want you to feel totally engrossed in the experience. There is no HUD with a health bar cluttering the screen or even any text, aside from the very beginning when the game instructs you on how to control your character.

Chances are high you will come across a fellow traveler or two as you make the trek across the vast desert. No matchmaking. No connecting. Just there. You can choose to carry out your quest alone and ignore the traveler or you can stick together, side by side for the entire game. There are minor benefits to traveling with a companion yet they aren't significant enough to hamper your experience should you choose to go it alone.

Journey does a lot of things well. There are three particular components every video game needs and Journey does all exceptionally well: pacing, music, and visuals.

The game can be completed in two hours (or less if you're in a hurry), which may seem too short even with the game's $15 price tag. Trust's worth it. First, this isn't a game you'll want to rush through. Pacing is everything and the sense of reward upon discovering a new locale or improving your character's ability will have you exploring every inch of this breathtaking desert. Secondly, you'll want to play through the game more than once. There are minor rewards for beating the game multiple times, which I won't spoil here. Because the game is so short, I didn't hesitate to jump back in for another play-through.

The score is fantastic and isn't just a complement to the game; it's part of the game. As great as the music is, the visuals round out the package with a graphical showcase rivaling even the finest looking Playstation 3 games. The gentle flutter of your cloak. A subtle path in the sand. Little details like this persist throughout your entire adventure.

I have never played a perfect game; yet, I can truthfully say any qualms one may have with Journey are guaranteed to be levied at the type of game rather than its actual execution. This isn't my favorite game of all time or even the best game I've ever played, but I can't think of a single change I would have made to this epic tale. I am fairly confident this will be a timeless classic we'll long to return to years from now. In an industry overrun with killstreaks and headshots, Journey is a breath of fresh air. Besides the fact it's wholly original and incredibly breathtaking, Journey will evoke feelings and emotions you've never felt in a video game before.

10 out of 10.


logankstewart said...

Visually, this game looks phenomenal. It's simplicity also sounds great. However, $15 is way too much for such a short game, even if it warrants multiple plays.

There's still an entire world of Skyrim for me to uncover. I'll have to keep an eye out if this goes on sale.

Good review.

Jonboy said... must play it! You would love it. I'm almost sure of it.

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