Graphics

This is the type of game you show your new TV off to your friends with. It looks that good.

Soundtrack

This game has an outstanding soundtrack. You'll probably want the vinyl.

Art Direction

Amazing art direction that makes you want to plaster your walls in fancy prints of your screenshots.

Sound Design

Impressive sound design that makes it an even more immersive experience.

Unique

While technically being unique is a tall order for any game, this one gets pretty darn close and does something special.

Journey Review

Today the game industry is largely directed by shareholders and as such large publishers and developers are less and less inclined to take risks - less likely to do something a bit different. This has opened up a door for the creative minds at small studios around the world to fill the void left by every AAA sequel with fantastical and imaginative games that (for me at least) keep me interested in gaming. Some of those creative minds belong to Thatgamecompany. No, not that game company, Thatgamecompany. They've been good to us in the past with Flow and Flower, but Journey is by far their greatest accomplishment. It's going to be a bit challenging to review this without giving too much away so forgive my song and dance as I try to accurately describe everything without ruining it for those who have yet to play.

Journey is a game that is very much centered around a specific theme and the set of emotions that go with that theme. Everything that you touch, move through, hear, and generally experience feeds in to this thematic drive in such a way that will likely cause you to be taken aback. You are a wanderer that moves throughout the world with a varying pace that does well to be mutually expressive with the environments you pass through. Yeah, that sounds really artsy, and it's a difficult thing to describe but that movement is largely the story of Journey. There's so much more to it but it would be a waste to describe it in depth.

One thing that I can talk about since it is readily apparent already is just how beautiful Journey is. Everything about the visual styling is spectacular and is done in such a way that it will age gracefully in ways few games will. The cloth of your robe flows with the passing of the wind as the sand dunes shift and roll along with it and the sun weaves in and out of morning shadow to the brilliant golds of sunset. As you progress your scarf will grow in length and add another layer to the sense of movement that is so present throughout the game. Everything is very much gorgeous but the sand specifically is the star of the show here. The movement is so natural and so wonderfully done that it becomes mesmerizing as you coast along with it. The musical score is equally as impressive and could not have been written or utilized more perfectly. The visuals and story are impactful in many ways but the music takes it over the top and is truly a phenomenal counterpart to all the eye candy you'll be happily taking in.

There's something to be said about simplicity in games especially when it's done properly. As much as I enjoy having to navigate a complicated myriad of game mechanics that many games have today, often times this just kills the fun for me as I'm too caught up in micro management to be able to enjoy the big picture. Journey gives  you just enough to keep track of that you're never really second guessing what you're doing. There are collectibles in the form of scarf fragments, and tapestries to discover hidden around the various locations you'll pass through. None of these are particularly difficult to find save a select few but there are a couple of cool Easter eggs that might take some more careful scouring to uncover. Thankfully getting from point A to point B is a breeze if not a joy. Movement in Journey is everything you'd want it to be and performs exactly as you'd expect it to just from observing the environment. That's actually quite rare in games and is sorely missed in many titles.

For all its grand accomplishments, Journey is more of a walk through the park than a climb up Everest. You are very likely to finish your first playthrough in under 3 hours and yet you are unlikely to mind. Despite its brevity, Journey feels complete. In fact there is more closure and fulfillment in Journey than in most 8 hour strolls or even 60 hour long romps through many AAA titles laying around. I haven't  felt so satisfied with the ending of a game in a long time. In fact for me it was almost as satisfying as the end of Persona 4 which is significant to say the least. I would certainly encourage you to play through the game another time or two which isn't much considering your subsequent playthroughs will be all of an hour and a half at best. It's worthy of that extra time. Perhaps if you're lucky, you won't be alone in your Journey. The game seamlessly pairs you up with other players currently making their way through the sands, and lets you decide how you'd like to proceed. Do you work together? Do you help a new player out or let them stumble along and make their own mistakes? Perhaps you are the new player and you attempt to keep up and mimic the experienced traveler. It's a wonderful and unobtrusive element that provided me with some of my most memorable moments while playing.

To say that I'm impressed is an understatement. I can remember when I first saw Journey before its original release and immediately thought it was going to be special. I'm so very pleased that I was right about this one. Journey is a stellar accomplishment both as a game, and if you want to take it further, as a piece of interactive art. You're going to want to talk to others about this game, and with others who have also completed it. Even if you aren't the type to view games in such a light, Journey is still going to impress you. I played through it 3 times back to back in one night and could play it again right now without question. I thought I'd eventually spot some sort of flaw, something that would take away from the experience. The fact is for what it represents, Journey is a flawless game. If you haven't played it already and you can get your hands on it, you'd be doing yourself a disservice if you didn't play Journey.

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Adam Morehouse

Adam Morehouse

I play games and write stuff about them! Blessed with an amazing online community for many years now. One half of the LAGTV duo.
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