So this is my first blog post and my super spoilery tale of my experience with Journey on the PSN, like Alex said in his review avoid this if you plan on playing the game.
I really don’t know where to start with this game, I went in with little in the way of expectations, but I figured I’d give it a shot.
The game starts with a very simple goal, and a simple means of moving forward to match. You are in a vast endless desert and the only real landmark in the shifting sands is a mountain with a pillar of light at the peak far in the distance. So you move forward, there are almost no controls to speak of, left stick moves you, one button emits a seemingly pointless chirrup. That’s it really.
As you move through the sand towards the mountain you’ll discover some rubble, and some torn fabric circling in breeze, when you approach it swarms you and adds the only other mechanic to the game, a jumping/gliding mechanism, and from there you perform some simple puzzley tasks to advance.
It sounds pretty unimpressive I know, but the game is stunning visually, the desert is better than the one in Uncharted 3, and for some weird reason the simple mechanics are compelling, you just sort of want to see what’s up ahead.
Then at some point you’ll see you standing off in the distance, you’ll turn a corner, or look behind you and there you’ll be. The multiplayer will have kicked in. You’ll have no real way to communicate with each other, just those chirps (which emit a wave of light as well.) and jumping.
For me we formed a bit of a teacher student relationship, s/he was rushing ahead and trying to jump up shortcuts. I kept pinging away drawing attention to glyph’s (they increase your jump time/distance) and triggers to advance the story. I suspect that will be different for everybody, You don’t even have to stay together apparently, and you can complete the game on your own, the only real benefit is that when you’re near each other your jump recharges.
However after a few areas of the game I no longer expected s/he to disappear on me it had become our quest, and we developed an ease of communication, it just became natural to ping each other and wave around getting each other’s attention when necessary. We learned to work together to recharge each other mid air to reach new areas and secrets.
It went beyond that though. At some point I lost half of my scarf (shows jump ability) and s/he would help charge me and boost me up to advance, there was a real sense of camaraderie.
Later on s/he was attack in the same way not once but twice, and I literally yelled at my tv in frustration as I watch his scarf sizzle away into the sky. Not at the game or at him, but because I was powerless to help him against the enemy.
Near the end as you climb the mountain you begin to freeze, the only thing keeping your scarves powered is huddling together to keep some sort of charge. Until at some point I blinked and my companion was gone, I turned to look down the mountain and I could see no sign of life, no pings, no jumps, nothing, I started walking back down to see where I could find him/her, stumbled and collapsed into the snow, freezing.
I sat stunned, but not upset, what had happened? Did we do something wrong? Was this the end? There was no way of knowing. But then the white became less dull and a cutscene emerged (they pop up occasionally) the deity/spirit creature that you meet along appears and then suddenly my scarf regrew longer than ever, and I triumphantly rise into the sky as the music swelled, still I was sad to be alone after so long, when suddenly swirling ahead of me among the friendly creatures we’d encountered along the path, pinging loudly and sending out waves of light was my friend waiting for me. We flew upward, floated among the creatures, rode on the backs of huge dragon like beings the whole time joyously pinging away at each other, and at the end, we sat down at the top of the cliff in unison like we’d known each other for years, we looked down over the world for a moment, then turned and headed towards the spire of light, and walked towards it side by side, until finally everything became a blinding glare.
I know it’s hard to believe, and it sounds cheesey, but I’m willing to bet that anybody who plays this game will feel some sort of emotional reaction, you will become attached, and you will remember the voyage fondly, moreso than just about another story you’ve been a part of.