I've got more than a feeling about this game...
I would like to first start out by saying that this is my first review/general contribution to the website. I have a great passion for games, in which I never seem to have a medium to express my love for, so I have decided to become more active on the site and get my voice out there. That being said, here's what I thought about Journey:
Journey is an ambitious game. When put under the microscope and compared to more traditional games that we have become accustomed to in this current generation, it finds a way of standing out as a unique experience, even with its simple and minimalist game design philosophy. The mission statement for this game is very simple: Embark on a journey. However, it can easily be said that almost all games want to leave you with this same feeling or sense of accomplishment. Yet, Journey is able to present that idea in a form of media experience and general human emotion that little to almost no other game has ever achieved before.
The game begins in the desert. The deep of the desert. Surrounding you as far as the eye can see are grains of sand, dunes, and more sand. Even in a bleak and empty setting as this, the game looks beautiful. The graphics are certainly not pushing and demanding all of the ps3's graphical power but it has a very clean and clear art direction behind it. After your surroundings are established, our character is introduced, meditating in the sand and waiting to embark on his journey. The games tutorial is extremely simple. Through out the first area, a ps3 controller will present its self on screen four times. Once to show you there is six-axis support for the camera, another that tells you to use the right stick to walk, and then two more for the X and O buttons. You use X to jump if you have what I like to call "ribbon power" stored up and O to collect the ribbon power through out the world. After that, there is no other tutorials what so ever.
One of the more interesting aspects of this game is how little guidance you are given through out the game. There are no voice overs, no text telling you what the next objective is, there is no mini map, HUD, and barely has a pause menu. You are expected to explore the land presented in front of you, explore your options, and see where your journey takes you. However, even with out all of these normal game vices, from the first moment of the game you almost already know exactly where it will end. When the game opens in the desert you can see a very large and opaque mountain in the distance with a giant beam of light that dissects the very top of the mountain. As you embark on your journey you will find yourself moving closer and closer to this distant mountain until you are climbing up to its peek.
This is where I seem to have the most connection and enjoyment with this game. Its total relaxing nature makes it a joy to sit down and play and its open ended, non objective based platforming, gives you a large sense of total freedom and euphoria. Your journey does not simply only entail a million foot stoops across the desert. A long the way you will experiencing a variety of platforming elements and levels that keep the pace of the game moving along nicely. While, the game only lasts for about 3 hours, you will definitely want to run through again and again and again. There are "secret collectibles" to find around each level, much like thatgamecompany's previous game, flower. Some of them can be a little tricky to reach which is why it is always nice to have a friend a long for the journey.
Journey does feature online multiplayer co-op but again, as a common theme for this game, it handles multiplayer very differently then most games. As you are playing through your journey you might notice a small white patch, gleaming out of one side the screen. This tells you that another player has randomly been paired with you and you are free to embark on a journey together. That's it. There are no game lobbies, game invites, or anything like that. You will not even know who you are playing with until after the credits role. It is interesting that despite these limitations, Journey has provided me with a multiplayer experience that is right up there amongst the great few great co-op titles such as portal 2.
The sum of all of Journey's parts equates to a fantastic game experience that can be matched by no other game. I had an amazing time playing through this and would have no problem recommending it to anyone. If you are fan of the previous games made my thatgamecompany and it's philosophies of game design, than this is a game you can absolutely not pass up. Now if you will all excuse me, Im going to get my fith play through started...