Tuesday, March 27, 2012


RATING: E for Everyone

More along the lines of an art concept about wonder and discovery than a video game. From the makers of Flower and Flow comes the enchanting downloadable game Journey. Available exclusively on the Playstation Network. The designers at ThatGameCompany have crafted an innocent, little adventure in a world filled with blockbuster style shooter games. 

Journey takes place in a beautifully rendered world, though not detail oriented but with a highly polished focus on texture. The sand of the sparkling desert seems to move with a life of its own; reacting to the wind and light and of course yourself. Compare it to stepping deep into a patch of snow for the first time or disrupting a perfectly combed beach. The landscape seems to go as far as the eye can see, an almost flawless trick of good coding.

Spoilers aside, Journey has some charming characters. These characters and the story itself are purposely vague to have a broader appeal without stereotypes. Your character is some sort of desert native with a blank face and a long robe. The story is devoid of detail and is simply a quest to the mountain in the distance. In fact, there is not one word spoken through the entire experience.

Journey introduces a unique co-op concept into the fray. Gamers are thrown together randomly and have to communicate with pure body language or a chime sound. Even the most ferocious “Timmy” will have to bite his tongue and think a little to communicate. This chime is a simple button press; pressing softly will produce a mere whimper pressing harder or hold down for a loud chirp. Wander along solo or follow another random player through the sand. If you are connected online Journey will automatically pair up players. Platforming moves include jumping and floating which are simple to master. Your scarf will grow as you store up more jumping skill. Eventually, you will combine all the different jumping maneuvers in a race for the summit.

Everyone into video games should play through Journey. It’s as refreshing as it is beautiful to look at. Pick it up for a perfect change of pace in your gaming rotation. As wonderful of an achievement that Journey is, I’m not going to be forgiving about the shortness of the game. Journey is a full priced downloadable game ($14.99) and a simple playthrough is just over two hours long. When I think of a journey, the last thing I think of is short.


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