I’ve just this minute finished the PSN Exclusive Journey.
Created by the minds behind the games fl0w and Flower, thatgamecompany, it’s quite simply…brilliant.
Part of me was a little sceptical at first as gaming websites from across the vastness of the internet had been raving about it. It’s gathered a couple of perfect scores along the way, which meant I had high expectations.
Starting along in the middle of the desert, with no back story, your soon alerted to your goal. A mountain top, glowing at it’s peak. You play as a little character dressed in a robe, un-named and with no dialogue.
Once you’ve completed the opening section to the game (of which introduces you to your ‘singing’ ability) the world suddenly opens up…and for me…also meant meeting my co-op buddy for the first time. He just appeared out on the sandy plans with no name, just the ability to sing like me.
A quick press of the circle button on your control makes you sing, while a held down press unleashes a louder note with an area of effect. You use this ability to ‘wake up’ various points of the game, such as the strange rug-like objects dotted about the game. You can’t help but get attached to them as you progress. Most allow you to jump higher, and to glide towards the next platform or ledge. Others will guide you.
While it’s a very linear game, it doesn’t feel really constrained. It’s hard to describe, but I never felt like I was being ‘pushed’ or ‘trapped’ into going down a route. One of my main issues with Final Fantasy XIII was how it almost felt like a ‘tunnel’ effect at times. I never had that feeling when playing Journey.
At it’s core, this is a puzzle platforming game. While it’s not impossible to complete on your own without your buddy, having that other person playing alongside you adds that bit of something emotionally to the game, especially towards the later stages. The puzzles you encounter are somewhat simple, yet incredibly clever. This game wasn’t created to challenge your skills as a gamer.
I can’t quite believe I’ve got this far without mentioning the graphics, which look like a work of art. The little lighting touches are simply fantastic, such as the shimmer of the sand when the different sources of light reflect off it. The game’s architecture have been lovingly created and fit the style of the game perfectly.
It’s only downside is it’s length. I managed to complete it in about 2 hours. After finishing it, I did reflect on its price vs length. If your a fan of games such as ICO and Shadow of the Colossus, then I think you’ll agree with me…it’s £9.99 well spent. I think by now you’ll be able to tell if this is a game for you.
You don’t have to have played ether of those games by Fumito Ueda to enjoy Journey. If you like a game that feels more like an experience, short yet lovingly created, then you’ll enjoy Journey for what it is. A fantastic achievement.
You can check out the trailer below.