Journey – Review

Post by Patrick

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One of the greatest features to come out of the last generation of consoles was the ability to download games straight to our consoles. This along with the fact that Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo gave the means for indie developers to publish their games, we were able to experience games that probably wouldn’t exist otherwise. The popularity of these games didn’t go unnoticed. Sony signed Thatgamecompany right as the two founders were finishing up their master’s degrees. Thatgamecompany released Flow and Flower before giving us Journey. All three games felt like some sort of experiment. In Flow you played as a microorganism and in Flower you controlled the wind.

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Journey is special. I still remember the first time I played it and beat it. At the time I only owned a Wii and an Xbox 360, so I wasn’t really following any news or releases regarding the PS3. I had heard of Thatgamecompany but didn’t really pay much attention to them. One night I was over at my friends house while a friend of ours was visiting from abroad and they encouraged me to play through Journey. We sat there in the dark for two hours while I went through the game, pretty much in silence the entire time except for the occasional “wtf” moments. At the end I was speechless, the game took my breath away, I’ve rarely experienced that kind of moment and I’ve been playing games for over 22 years. This might all sound like hyperbole, but I mean every piece of praise I write. It might have been that one specific night I played the game, maybe the stars aligned just right, I’m not sure what it was but when I was done with Journey that night, it left a lasting impression on me.

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In Journey you control a robed figure. You start off on a dune and your goal is to reach the summit of a mountain that is illuminating light. Along the way you have to solve simple puzzles. Your character wears a scarf, its length determines how long you can fly through the environment. The game is pretty linear, but you can explore off the main path and discover secrets that explain the games mysterious lore. You can also find glowing symbols that will increase its length of your scarf. The longer the scarf the longer you can fly.

One of the games special features is its multiplayer. As you traverse the world you’ll come across other players. You’re randomly placed together so you can’t control who you play with. The only way to communicate with the other player is through a serious of sounds and pings. You can work together to recharge your scarves and to help each other fly further. You can see how experienced the other player is by counting the rows of patterns on their robes. Most of the time these experienced players will help guide you to secrets. Sometimes you might play and beat the entire game and not even experience the multiplayer.

To top it off, the music in the game is brilliant. The composer Austin Wintory was nominated for a Grammy in 2013 for Best Score Soundtrack for his work on Journey. The nomination was the first for a video game soundtrack. It’s hard to say what Journey would be without Wintory’s work because his music fit so perfectly with the game.

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Journey is one of those games that I keep going back too. I owned it on the PS3 and I just bought it again on the PS4. It’s a game that I’ll keep going back too as long as I own it. I understand why people would dislike it, but I personally think it’s a perfect game. If you were to play it I would strongly advise to play it in one sitting, with the lights off and the volume up. It’s not a long game, it’s not difficult and it’s pretty straight forward.

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