Review by ramsean
"Take a chance on a Journey like no other"
The title of the game says it all really. It is a journey through beautiful landscapes with mesmerizing music. I don't really want to say anything else about it because the more I reveal, the more I take away from the experience. If you like atmospheric games like Shadow of the Colossus, Metroid Prime, Fragile Dreams or Endless Ocean stop reading now and go download this game.
Still here? Okay, the games main objective is to get from point A to point B. At the beginning you will obtain a scarf which allows you to fly for a short periods of time, this allows you to get from A to B faster and in a more entertaining way. Why walk when you can fly, Jesus said that so it can't be wrong. The secondary objectives come from discovering glyphs which extend the length of your scarf, bigger is always better because it means you can fly further. The other things you'll want to watch out for are the murals half buried in sand and snow in out of the way places. Finding the various murals is important because they reveal the history of the mysterious jawa like people and allow you to understand just why you're trekking through a desert and up a mountain. It's impossible to be killed by enemies in journey instead every hit you take reduces the size of your scarf which makes you less mobile, it's genuinely disappointing watching your 20 foot scarf reduced to the size of a bowtie because of your own recklessness.
Speaking of the scarf, journey is a very pretty game everything from the realistic scarf and sand physics to the silky smooth animation. There are moments, scratch that, large chunks of Journey where you forget you are playing a downloadable game. The art design is just inspired; despite most of the game taking place in a desert everything feels strangely aquatic with flying cloth creatures that resemble schools of fish and hammerhead sharks. The lighting should also be applauded each location has its own particular atmosphere. Never has a wasteland looked so beautiful.
The thing that makes Journey truly unique though is not the pretty visuals but the way the developers have implemented online multiplayer. As you progress on your adventure, you will meet fellow travellers. The only way you can communicate is by making noises of a different pitch. This comes in handy when you want to show another player something in the environment. The various different chirps have a second purpose though; they can be used to recharge the power of a companion's scarf. This means that you can cover a lot more ground with an anonymous friend in toe than you could alone. If you get really good at cooperating you can even find yourselves flying high above the landscape for extended periods of time. The bond these mechanics help forge over a relatively short amount of time is possibly the most impressive part of the game. Losing track of your partner is genuinely quite sad and finding them again is a moment of joy few games can match.
The relationships these experiences forge actually adds a strange kind of replay value, it's interesting to see how the game changes with a different play through. As you play the game your role slowly evolves from follower to mentor. There is a reward that reflects this within the game which grants you an extra ability. It's an interesting mechanic which means the game doesn't have to end when the credits roll.
When the credits do roll and Austin Wintory's 'I was born for this' starts to play, it hits you hard, the hairs on your arm will be standing on end. It's then that you realise you've just witnessed something special, an amazing little game and it's completely unique. If you are the kind of player who will be upset by the absence of complex puzzles or challenging enemies then this game probably isn't for you. If you believe paying ten pounds for an adventure that takes just over an hour and half to finish is a waste of your money, maybe you should give it a miss. If however you're the kind of person who can play a game and judge it on its own merits. Roll the dice and pick up one of the best experiences you are likely to have in a game.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 03/19/12, Updated 05/29/12
Game Release: Journey (EU, 03/14/12)
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