‘Journey’: Sometimes short trips are the best

Journey

Journey
Thatgamecompany
Sony Computer Entertainment
PS3

Sometimes fantastic experiences can come from quick adventures. This is Journey in a nut shell. With a name like Journey you would expect the game to last an inordinate amount of time, but Journey isn’t concerned about artificially lengthening gameplay. It is more concerned with telling a simple story that will leave most players extremely satisfied with their brief playthough. Often times described as the definition of an art game, thatgamecompany has created a universal story that will hit everyone differently.

The gameplay of Journey consists of navigating a hooded figure through a vast desert, with the ultimate goal of reaching a far away mountain. Nothing is explained, but the game is very intuitive in showing exactly what it expects players’ to accomplish. Players are encouraged to simply move toward the light. While the joystick gives players control of the protagonist, the Sixaxis motion in the controller aptly moves the camera. With a press of the circle button, the players’ character sounds off a simple chime. These noises allow the character to interact with the environment, often times signaling other elements to guide the player along. The hooded figure is also equipped with a unique scarf that allows the player to jump into the air. This jump will only last as long as the glyphs on its scarf remain lit, so deciding when and where exactly to use this ability is one of the functions that comes into play.

Journey-PS3-Screenshot

Unlocking paths, jumping to different locations, and traversing the vast desert is the bulk of the action in Journey. This simplicity allows players’ of all different skill sets to enjoy the title, as well as, focusing on some other fantastic technological advances that seamlessly flow into the game. Of course, this is where the multiplayer aspect comes into discussion. Wait, but Journey was never billed as a multiplayer game…which is exactly what makes the moment it occurs so amazing. Without warning or bothersome connection screens, players’ are joined in the middle of their journey by another traveler who is going to the same place. This other hooded figure is controlled by another player and is really fantastic in its implementation. Even without voice chat or even knowing who this stranger is, a camaraderie between unknown players is formed.

Similar to previous games released by thatgamecompany, Journey pushed the Playstation 3 to the limit. For a small team releasing a downloadable title, that is quite a feat and the visuals in Journey still hold up years later. From the little details in the environment really making this feel like another world, to the way the fabric moves or the way the sand parts when moving over it, the world feels alive. Journey is still on par to be released for the Playstation 4 at 1080p and 60 FPS, which would bring this beautiful game to a new generation.

This journey might not be for everyone. The pace is slow and steady, far from the action packed set pieces of most modern video game titles. While there are some secrets to discover and trophies to unlock, most will be satisfied with their initial playthrough and never bother to replicate the same feelings. Journey is special in the way it elicits an emotional reaction and that will be different across the board. Those willing to experience the vast desert will be rewarded with one of the finest crafted stories in gaming. That alone should be enough to convince those who’ve never tried this Journey to try one of the Playstation 3’s finest titles.

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