Journey (the video game)

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Journey (the video game)

Postby pjbogart » Tue Sep 08, 2015 11:39 pm

So I'm kind of inbetween games at the moment. Waiting for Fallout 4, a Bloodborne expansion and Dark Souls 3 which is likely out next spring or summer. The humidity was obnoxious this weekend so I shut my windows, turned on the AC and downloaded a game that I've heard a lot of chatter about.

Journey was a GOTY candidate (and winner in a few cases) in 2012 and was recently ported to the PS4 with updated graphics and framerates. I had never played it before, so I can't speak to the improvements. It's a very short third-person adventure game, almost arcade-ish in its brevity but packs a strange emotional wallop that's difficult to shake. There are no weapons, nothing to kill and nothing that can kill you. It's a journey. To the proverbial mysterious mountain where you need to go into the light. Your route is linear, you pass through several unique areas from a desert to underwater to a snowy mountain. Journey has minimalist and rather blocky graphics yet pulls off a wonderful atmosphere in the process by using lighting, texture and ambient noises and music. There is no dialogue, audio or written, yet there's something very poetic and symbolic about your journey. Even stopping to explore all of the areas, you probably won't spend more than two hours passing through Journey's world. And, of course, because you can't die, your skill at video games will have little impact on your ability to finish.

Here's IGN's review so you can see the graphics and gameplay:

It's tough for me to put my finger on what made Journey so exceptional. Compared to the games I usually play, it was obviously very pacific and relaxing and the random encounters with other players really added to the experience. You can choose to follow them, thus adding friendship to your journey, or go separate ways and explore the world on your own. Only one player can be added to your world at a time and you may or may not notice them, but if you pair up and finish the level together you will start the next level together as well and continue on as long as you like, all the way to the end of the game. There is no dialogue and no text (your character can only make various musical notes by holding down your circle button for varying lengths). This also recharges your partner's sash so there's benefit to having a buddy, but it's not in any way necessary. You can't even send the other player a message over PSN because you won't find out their name until your journey is completed. And even then you'll see a list of several, perhaps as many as eight people who shared your levels at some point.

Controls are perhaps as minimalist as I've ever seen, with thumbsticks controlling movement and field of vision and only two buttons, O and X. O causes you to make a noise, a short note or a long one that can free or summon creatures made of cloth to your aid. You can also oddly communicate with the O button, as players you meet use it to indicate their presence, recharge your sash and just generally make companion-ish noises as you travel together. The X button causes you to float and the number of times it works, or the length that you can hold it, is dictated by the length of your sash which can be elongated by picking up glowing glyphs scattered about the world. The game becomes more fun as you get a longer sash because you can move faster, fly beautifully across the world and even reach things that you couldn't reach with a shorter sash. There are a few large enemies in the game which use spotlights to find you and will tear off and shorten your sash, but they don't do you any physical harm. Seeing how long you can make your sash becomes a fairly meaningless but fun aspect of the game.

And that's about it. You'll likely finish the game in between 1-2 hours, but there's a bit of replayability if you want to go back and find stuff you missed, like managing to collect all of the glyphs and murals, plus a few random trophies for accomplishing certain tasks. It's unlikely that you'd spend more than a week tinkering with this amazing game, but the experience is so exceptional that I considered it well worth the rather reasonable pricetag of $14.99.

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Re: Journey (the video game)

Postby Igor » Wed Sep 09, 2015 12:05 am

It would have been a lot better if it had Aynsley Dunbar and Gregg Rolie


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Re: Journey (the video game)

Postby ilikebeans » Wed Sep 09, 2015 12:03 pm

Igor wrote:It would have been a lot better if it had Aynsley Dunbar and Gregg Rolie


Man, I was SO pumped when that one showed up at our local arcade. Then after maybe five plays I realized how hard it was and never played it again.

Sad face.
Last edited by ilikebeans on Wed Sep 09, 2015 5:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Journey (the video game)

Postby uwstudent » Wed Sep 09, 2015 4:36 pm

Waiting for new Tomb Raider myself.

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