Journey User Review
My experience with “Journey” is hard to express because with the exception of “Flower” I haven't played a game remotely like this one. Just like with “Flower” though, thatgamecompany some how continually creates emotion simply through its core mechanic of movment throughout the entire 3 and a half hour experience.
Players take control of a nameless avatar dressed in a red robe in the middle of a desert. With nothing else to go off of except with a gleaming mountain in the distance, you as a player are tasked with treking through the desert to reach the mountain.
While at first blush, it's a seemingly simple premise with fairly simple mechanics that include walking, flying and skating across the sand. But as the game progresses, it's so much more than simply moving towards a mountain because that's the objective of the game. The mountain represents what each and every one of us is striving for in our lives. It represents the one thing that we want to achieve or find that will complete our lives. Because it's a metaphor, the mountain can represent and speak to anyone. It isn't a set object, and because the mountain can be whatever you want it to be, this makes “Journey” incredibly relatable. Througout the pilgrimage to the mountain, the scenarios within “Journey” reflect the struggle of one's life. There are moments where you are unsure of what you're doing, moments of pure joy that represent the greatest moments of your life and others that are tragic and heartbreaking where the odds seem insurmountable. But the beautiful thing about “Journey” is how well thatgamecompany captures these emotions through its simple mechanics, beautiful music, graphics and the level design. It's amazing how all of these attributes work together to capture all of these emotional moments in the game that really speak to the player in such a relatable way. “Journey” is the definition of meaningful play, not just within the game, but within the player's emotional psyche. This is because it captures so well the journey of life itself, and how that struggle to whatever our mountain in the distance is comes with so many emotions as we go through so many different phases and emotions within our lives.
Graphically, the game impresses like no other independent game on the market today. Gorgeous sand dunes glisten, snow covered mountains shine to create some of the most beautiful environments you'll ever find all captured by thatgamecompany's brilliant lighting to capture the emotion of the scene whether that be fear or wonder, the lighting and the environments complement each other like no other.
Sound wise, the music like in Flower, is brilliant and captures the mood perfectly to fill you with so many different emotions that caputre each level perfectly. thatgamecompany is a well oiled machine, and lead designer Jenova Chen has dictated his vision perfectly to his team as all facets of the game work together to create one of the most cohesive and powerful experiences around.
The only draw back of Journey is its length, but at the end of the day, I'd rather have a brilliant 3 hour experience, than a lack luster 10 hour experience that has a bunch of filler. There is no filler here, Chen and his team deliver on his vision by delivering a game with no fat, all of it is formed around the experience itself.
Whether you're struggling against the wind in icy mountains or skating gleefully along the sand, somehow in a mere three and half hours, thatgamecompany captures these emotions and events perfectly, creating the ultimate journey that represents the beauty, struggles and wonder of life.
This user review does not reflect the views of the PSX Extreme Staff.