Not since Dark Souls has a game resonated with me like Journey. Since completing it the other night, I have been constantly browsing these message boards among others for peoples insight on the game. I've read reviews, I've watched videos, I've listened to podcast--I'm eagerly anticipating this weeks Bombcast to hear the crews articulate their experience--which is what Journey is: an experience.
Essentially a story about life, Journey makes a compelling argument for the games as art debate. In the relatively short time it took me to complete my journey, I felt emotions few games let alone films or music have been able to evoke from me. That snowboardingesque sequence, that brought out the same childish giddiness I felt years ago rolling down grassy hills. Watching my journey be retold in those pictures was touching, like looking over old photographs. Ascending to the top of the mountain, pure bliss.
It's a phenomenal achievement by thatgamecompany. They've somehow crammed the highs and lows we will all inevitably face in our own journey through life, provided we live to old age, into a game that can easily be completed in one sitting. Whether you experience these highs and lows alone or with someone by your side is up to you. Or perhaps out of your control, if the stranger on the other end isn't willing to co-operate. But hey, that's life. Some of our lives will be like my journey: born alone, died alone. I made some friends along the way, and formed a partnership with someone for a good chunk of the journey, but ultimately, I walked into that light alone. My friend on the other hand, he had the same companion with him for most of his journey.
If there's any criticism to be made of the game, it's that someday this game will have be played alone. Perhaps it's not until then that we will truly appreciate it, looking back on it much like the clothed figure looking over the ruins of a civilization long gone.