Review by beckonthemoon
"The experience outweighs the complexity, sometimes"
A movie, book, or piece of art can evoke a certain reaction. Music can build emotion or destroy it. Video games are rarely about any other emotion then pride, or guilt. Pride at conquering the next hill. Guilt at failing to do so. Few game studios are willing to embrace other emotions. Survival horror embraces fear, but typically let's it fall into the realm of ambiguous pride/guilt type scenarios. Quantic Dreams dared to evoke multiple emotions with Heavy Rain, but didn't include one thing. A game. The experience barely needed to be replayed because the ending left you with no questions. You knew the answer, now move on. Thatgamecompany took a different approach. They didn't answer anything. Hell, they didn't pose any questions really. All you know, is there's a mountain, and it would be in your best interest to get to it, eventually. Welcome to Journey.
In essence, Journey reminds me of a mix of Shadow of the Colossus and Fallout. A vast, endless land filled with hidden "treasures" to discover. The game always feel, however, like there's been a chaotic event that may have unfolded here at one point. A mass of stones resembling gravestones lays across the land where your character is introduced to you, making you feel like you are the lone survivor of a war you'll never learn about, or ever want to. It is chilling, but makes you want to discover the answers hidden in the wasteland. You won', but you will still feel satisfied with the adventure you take.
Graphics: 10 out of 10
Just because a game doesn't feel photo realistic doesn't mean your jaw won't hit the floor. The beautiful sand dunes, water scenes, and dark tombs you will explore speak for the ability of cartoon like graphics to paint a picture more amazing then the real thing. Sometimes, truth is smaller than fiction.
Gameplay (Single Player): 10 out of 10
The game features gameplay mechanics that almost make Bejeweled seem complicated. From making a scarf longer to increase your jump, to pinging a light around your body to enliven destroyed pieces of clothes or to make tiny cloth creatures throw you into the air, the game only utilizes two non movement buttons. This never takes from the experience, and if anything, makes you feel more in control more quickly. The ping ability pretty much runs the show, meaning the x buttons jump function is actually easily forgettable at rare moments, but not enough to prevent any sort of excitement.
Gameplay (Multi Player): 8 out of 10
The only short coming, frankly. I got this game a week before anyone else due to my PSN Plus membership, and frankly, very raely walked the path with anyone. I can only imagine now, with more players, it will be even harder to accurately deduce your companions intention. This is because, with no concrete way to communicate outside of your ping, you will never truely know what they want. This is, of course, the cool aspect of the multi player, but the game never truely realizes it when that player is by your side for so long, and then dumps you in the drop of a hat. And it may seem like an issue of a trophy hound loosing out at the last second, but it plays into other issues as well. The other player may know something you don't about getting to a glyph (the games "level up" system), and if they leave suddenly, it becomes a real chore. Also, at the end, the game will introduce you to the names of 8 players you met. It won't add them to your Players Met list on the XMB, so it's like a tease. It seems irrelevant to know you met jackrabbit560 if you'll most likely never speak again. Still, it does bode for some really funny moments, and your companion is capable of re filling your jump scarf, so they aren't really a complete waste of time.
Overall: 9 out of 10
A trip through the wastelands is due for anyone who is open minded. If any game you play requires over the top action, you're gonna hate this. Less, you try it. I believe that players from all backgrounds can find a real catch with this games ability to force you to take an epic qust, but never push you into the brink of insanity. It's not meant to be challenging. Much like Flower and Flow before it, it's just meant to be an experience of the game itself. It's meant to relax, provoke, and intice you, not with over whelming violence and gore. But with what it is: a game.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 03/14/12
Game Release: Journey (US, 03/13/12)
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