Journey Review [Playstation Network]

Journey is a unique experience that hits you on levels most games don't ever get near.

rating:4.5

The new downloadable title from 'Thatgamecompany' is simply put, beautiful. I can't tell you in detail what Journey is about and have only played it through once at this stage. I can't tell you how expansive it actually could be but reaching my goal in the game and literally just walking away from the experience to write this review, I am in awe of quite how effective, emotional and memorable this game is. Without beating around the bush, this £9.99 game is short. Like two hours to complete short, if you just go in a straight line and don't venture from your sandy path. That said those two hours (or lets be fair and say the last hour and half at least) never lets you go when it grabs you and despite the bare minimum of an idea as to what you are out to achieve, Journey sneaks up on you and feels like the most important personal quest in gaming you may ever undertake. So what is Journey? Well as I said at the beginning, we're never 100% sure. This is very much interpretation for the most part. Journey is like interacting with art. There's a sense of culture and history and inspiration but how much you respond to this isn't important to the simplicity of the game. Your character glides, swoops and walks through sand dunes and the cloth pieces you interact with enable you to fly higher and reach further but do not mistake this for a platform game or anything. It's all very instinctual and even in the slightly more puzzle-esq moments, that never really feel like something to solve but more something to overcome, this never quite feels like a game or at least one you've played before. Or maybe it does? It's just one that cuts through the bullshit and gives you an experience all your own on its own terms and isn't about collectables and achievements and set pieces (though there is a bit of that depending on how much you want to commit to those elements). To say more may take away from your experience but I have to say that as the beautiful graphics progressively got prettier and the score more powerful and I found myself heading towards my goal alongside another traveller (another player, who I do not know the name of and talk in a language of tones to, yet somehow feel connected to as we unintentionally/intentionally travel together - honestly this added something so unique to the experience somehow) Journey felt epic on an purely emotional level. The cinematic visuals, the build on importance and imagery that created an illusion of achievement on every level absolutely worked. To put it in more on a gaming context, I finished Mass Effect 3 the other day and it was powerful, epic and rewarding stuff at the end but with almost no plot, minimalist control mechanics and no history with the game, Journey packed more of an uplifting punch than a game I've been invested in for a long while. It's a very odd sensation coming away from Journey and it shines a spotlight on how much more games could achieve with sensibilities more in tune with this game. It may not be for all and some may even be dubious about committing to it but there's something special about this game and those who venture onto the path may very well fall in love with it. Journey is available to download now on PSN.
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Marcus has recently released his first Game on the App Store. Check out Turtle E here http://www.facebook.com/TurtleEGame and @KeySecretStudio #TurtleEgame for more.