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Journey Review

/ May 23rd, 2012 No Comments

Journey Review

Journey Review

Journey Review

To say Journey is one of the most beautiful and satisfying game experiences ever to be released may cause some debate, but make no mistake about it, Journey is a rare gem in the gaming world that delivers an emotional punch you’ve always wanted in a gaming title. Developed by thatgamecompany, this downloadable release off the PSN is all about simplicity. Clocking in at just under 3 hours long, this title offers some of the most breathtaking visuals seen to date, along with a jaw-dropping musical score and seamless gameplay that flows from one scene to the next.

Story

Relying on a more simplistic narrative is where this title lives and breathes. We follow the path of a lonely traveler that moves gracefully along the sands and city ruins of a desolate land with one goal in mind – to get to the mountaintop summit that shines off the sunlight in the distance. As you progress through the lands you begin to feel that something has happened to the inhabitants here. Something catastrophic perhaps? Not sure, but either way, you’re attached to its surroundings and it never releases you from its grip.
The story itself is all about you and the emotional journey you take from it. To fully succumb to its powers, let it consume your every thought and play the game in one sitting – no bathroom breaks, no food runs, nothing. Just sit back with a pair of headphones and melt away in its beauty.

Gameplay

Journey on PS3

Journey on PS3

Certain aspects of the gameplay may scare off some that only hear about it. There are no high scores to reach, no coins to collect and certainly no enemies to kill. So what kind of gameplay can you expect? You travel from one land to the other gliding along the sands and picking up magical pieces of cloth fragments that allow you to fly in the air with easy and grace. The more fragments you collect, the longer and farther you are able to fly and access other areas. If you run out of power from the scarf, it will blink rapidly letting you know when it’s time for a recharge. The game fully integrates the Sixasxis motion inside the PS3 controller when moving throughout the game. A simple tilt here and there and you can move your character even more gracefully over steep dunes and crowded ruins below.

You can interact with other beings you find in the lands by speaking musically to them with a push of a button. Once they approve, they help you fly higher and farther than you could have gone before. Using the musical notes can also unlock other aspects of the game’s surrounding ruins and artifacts. Think Metroid Prime Scanning Module and there you go. Playing the musical notes in key areas will only add to the overall experience and let you enjoy the gorgeous cut-scenes that pop up every now and then.

There is multiplayer as well. A co-op system is used by the PSN as it matches you with another player to go through the game with. The catch here is you don’t know who you’re playing with. There are no names or symbols indicating who’s traveling with you, but that’s the beauty of thatgamecompany and their development. You’re in a lonely place with no reasoning why you’re there, so why would you need to know who your partner is?

Visuals

Let’s be clear here. The visuals are striking. Everything from the vast landscapes you travel through to the thirst-quenching scenery in the distance, the beauty seen here is something that can rival any game ever released. As you glide over the sands and ruins, the foregrounds and backgrounds that shimmer off the screen are amazingly colorful in its browns and reds that radiate off the screen. They’re not only rich in texture but in character as well. Views include valley peaks, sun-soaked desert vistas and city ruins that sit at the base of sandy hills. Every shot feels like it came direct from a Hollywood blockbuster set in ancient times.

The camera angles are a big factor in its awe-inspiring look. In some points in the game, you get a third-person view as you follow the traveler from behind, while in other shots, you are immersed into a 2D view but with all of the tasty visuals one can imagine in a majestic 2D background. It’s simply a gorgeous viewpoint no matter what angle you’re in.

Sound

Journey

Journey

The audio used in Journey is superb. Second to none, thatgamecompany’s effort in the sound department has paid off handsomely. It features a diverse and clever pallet of sounds throughout the game. Whether through wind whispers, sand spurts or artifact surprises, the sound effects will surprise you at times and more than likely, will immerse you further into its world of lonely discovery. When it comes to the soundtrack, Journey beats them all in this category. The musical score is some of the most haunting and brilliantly beautiful music you’ll ever hear in any game, or Hollywood production for that matter. It comes and goes throughout the game playing on your emotions and envoking feelings out of each place you encounter.

Layering the score is crucial in games like these and thatgamecompany’s dedication to this aspect has turned the soundtrack into an additional character that may make you want to cry at times. Seriously, you may cry. Be warned.

Final Word

With the charm and beauty of Journey, it comes as no surprise that it’s already the best-selling game of all time on the PSN. It transports you to another world full of rich game design, graceful gameplay and a moving musical score that will simply linger in your heart for years to come. With less than 3 hours of gameplay and at $14.99, some may balk at downloading this title or may think it’s too artful for them to give it a try, but let me assure you, it’s worth the price of admission.

Games come and go, but experiences last forever. This is what Journey does best. The experience in playing Journey is, well, a journey in itself. You embark on an adventure, come upon surprises and explore the unknown. It’s quite simply the most perfect game. Emotions cannot be bought, nor can they be won, but they can definitely be felt in a video game and that’s just as good as anywhere else.

Overall Ratings – Journey (PS3)

Gameplay:

10/10

Graphics:

10/10

Sound:

10/10

Presentation:

10/10

OVERALL SCORE:

100%

Editor's Choice Award

Alex Gonzales

Alex Gonzales

Alex Gonzales first started gaming at the age of 3 and was a child prodigy in the world of game theory. While his mind was apt, his strength in athletic competition was even stronger. At the age of seven he won the Under 10 Anaheim City Championship for Judo and remains active in martial arts.
Alex Gonzales

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