Review by Archmonk Iga

"There is no way to accurately "review" Journey, as it is more a metaphor on life than an actual videogame."

From the beginning where you wake up, till its end where you are reborn, Journey encapsulates the beauty and adversity of life in short, sweet videogame form. There is no easy way to critique Journey—it plays like any 3D platformer but instead of obstacles and enemies it is only you and your vast surroundings.

The entire game is a motif for life—it demonstrates the feeling of being young and free while at the same time demonstrating feelings of being old and limited. It both celebrates and laments the countless mysteries that all of our futures hold. It exhibits the beauty of love, the fear of loss, the unfamiliarity of death. It takes all the emotions of something as simple as a human being and blends them together to represent and praise the importance of being alive.

Had you not already known that Journey is a videogame, you would probably have no idea what you were reading about. Which is partly why Journey is such a landmark for the medium. We have our Nietzsches, our Platos, our college courses, documentaries, religions, texts… We all have access to countless ways to open our eyes to who we are and why we are here. But only a select few of us are lucky enough to play videogames—and an even more select few of us will have our eyes opened in new ways because of Journey.

We awake as a Journeyer with no set path, no endgame. We move around and jump just like any other platformer. We simply have to move forward with our journey to reach our ultimate fate.

Physically, we traverse deserts, caverns, ancient structures, and more. But throughout Journey's entirety we are given the impression that these environments are more than what they appear, that they actually mean something. There have been times in my life where, in my mind and heart, I have felt lost and alone. There have been other times in my life where I've felt like nothing could stop me, like the entire world was awaiting my first big step forward. There have been times where I have felt caged, as if I was nothing more than a witness to every uncontrollable thing around me. Perhaps best of all, there have been times in my life where I have felt important to another human being, who has helped me through experience, guidance, or simply by being there with me. And somehow Journey is able to effortlessly represent all of these sensations that we experience in our lives in an unobtrusive and gratifying way.

I am going to leave it at that. Journey offers its players more than just an “experience,” obviously. There is well-woven multiplayer, secrets and trophies, and power-ups for your Journeyer to discover. But the videogame part of Journey comes as an afterthought, both while playing it and while reflecting on it. Above all, it is indeed an experience—one that other videogames are unable to match.

OVERALL: 9.0/10

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 01/30/14

Game Release: Journey (US, 03/13/12)

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