By CJduke 6 Comments
So last night I played Journey from start to finish. It is probably the first game I have ever played from beginning to end in one sitting, and yes the game is only 2 hours long, but being able to sit down and have one short, well thought out and beautiful experience with a game is something I have never done before. And I loved every second of it. Journey really felt like, well, a journey, which is something I was skeptical about prior to playing the game. How can such a short game consist of something you would call a Journey? The game pulls it off and does it perfectly. There is so much more to this game then just "beating it" and I think that's what makes it stand out to me the most. Sliding down sand dunes through ancient ruins while the sun glows brightly, causing reflections and shadows to cover the landscape is an experience worth buying this game alone. But, not only does the game look amazing, it is able to tell a story without a single word and somehow (I just can't quite figure it out) gave me such a plethora of emotions throughout my adventure. The feeling of staying close to your nameless companion, helping each other find secrets and explore, all without any real form of communication was so indescribably satisfying. It was also so heartbreaking when I got to the very end, only to lose my companion in the wondrous and overwhelming environment. The final moments of the game filled me with such awe and joy, but it was also saddening to not be able to share it with someone who I had traveled and explored the world with. There are so many other little moments in this game that just made me smile as I was playing it, such as freeing the cloth creatures, and climbing a sand hill. Even things such as the controls felt wonderful, even though you are doing very little 'gameplay' throughout your adventure. The weight of your character moving through the sand, the feeling of gliding through the air and gracefully falling to the surface was just so immensely satisfying.
The emotional feelings this game got out of me, along with its beauty made me feel like I got a better experience from this small 2 hour adventure then I get from most 60 hour games. It was so nice to sit down and enjoy a straight forward experience where the objective wasn't to win or lose or to score the most points, but to just experience it. This got me thinking about the state of indie games and smaller download only titles. With games such as Bastion (I still need to play Limbo) I am feeling like smaller developers are able to craft a more original, thought provoking, and memorable experience than many big budget games. A lot of these 60 plus hour adventure are amazing as well, but I get the feeling when I play a game such as Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning that everything is disjointed, and a lot of the content is generic and overused. Even with Mass Effect 3 I feel like a lot of the side missions just take away from the true experience and just allow the developers to say 'this game is THIS long and has X amount of content." Don't get me wrong, I'm not hating on these games, I actually like them both very much. Its just that after playing Journey I feel like a more straight forward, focused experience is so refreshing in the world of video games today. I also really appreciate games such as Bastion and Journey's ability to tell a story in unconventional ways. Having someone narrate your adventure, or having the story being the experience itself offers such a new and emotionally rewarding experience that you can not find anywhere else. Its so nice to be able to play something and love it without having to shoot waves of enemies.
I really think everyone should give Journey a try. It's actually disappointing that this game is PS3 only, because I feel everyone should get the chance to at least see this game for themselves, whether they enjoy it or not. The adventure it offers is like nothing else I have ever played in a game and I hope we continue to see these types of games come out of the downloadable only portion of the game industry. Maybe one day we will even see what a game like Journey could be like if it were an 8 hour adventure instead. No matter what, I think everyone should give Journey a chance. Even if you don't like it, I think you can at least appreciate its creativeness and its amazing visuals.