The Ninjabot

Categorized | Game Reviews

Experiencing “Journey” Review

Posted on July 4, 2012 at 11:44 am by Amanda Andonian

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I never played flOw or Flower from thatgamecompany, but I’d heard enough about both games in the past that when I came across Journey, I decided to preorder it.

There was enough buzz ahead of time that I felt pretty confident that I’d enjoy this game, but man I still did not expect how wonderful this game is.

I’m still sort of processing how I feel about the game and what it is trying to accomplish, but overall I really loved it. It’s a great game if you want to just explore a world, but you definitely need to be in a contemplative mood to get the most out of Journey. If you want something with more action, this is not the game for you.

Spoilers ahead. You’ve been warned.

I won’t bore you with the background of what Journey is or how it works, but suffice to say that you’re a creature or person of some kind wandering through the desert, headed towards a mysterious mountain in the distance. Along the way, you meet up with another person who looks like you, and together you make the journey to the mountain. As you make your way through the ruins of what looks to be an ancient city, perhaps where your people originated from, you gather these glowing symbols that give you the power to fly/float through the air, as well as mosaics/glyphs that seem to tell the history of your people.

First off, the visuals are incredible. I was perfectly content to just sit staring at my TV for long periods, drinking in the scenery. I actually wanted to be in this world, seeing these things for real. Not only that, but the movements of your character, as well as the creatures you encounter, are so life-like and interesting that I was also content to just watch the way that things moved through the world.

One of the most interesting aspects of the game for me was the story. There’s no dialog or text in the game, so it’s all a completely visual form of storytelling. As you move through each level, you reach these alter-like clearings where a white being that looks similar to you shows you some part of the history of this world. It seems to tell the story of a people who discover this energy or power and use it to sustain their world, but then something went wrong and everything was destroyed.

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Even after playing several times, I’m still a little fuzzy on the details, which I imagine is a calculation on the developer’s part to add an additional level of discovery to the game each time you play it through. In fact, I’d say that you need to play this game several times because I guarantee that in each play-through, you’ll uncover another detail or clue as to what this world is and why you’re going on this journey.

Another aspect of the game that I really liked was the multi-player element. It’s not immediately apparent that you’re playing with a real person at first since you have no idea who they are or where they came from, and I kind of wish that I hadn’t known that you would come across another player in the game because that would have been really exciting in the moment. Most people that I’ve played with have been pretty helpful and nice, guiding me to glowing symbols so that I can gain more power for flying, but of course there are others who don’t want to travel with you and will just disappear.

In the end, you sort of return to the beginning, which makes “Journey” a very cyclical experience that I enjoyed. Like I said, I’m still trying to figure out exactly what this game is trying to say, but that’s also what makes it so interesting to me–that I can play it over and over and there are still layers to uncover.

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