By Diana "DumeeGamer" Dumee on October 8, 2015
Ah, wandering through desert as a spirit, flying and gliding through beautiful landscapes. This is exactly what the game Journey has to offer. It was originally released for the PS3 in March 2012, but it seems to have escaped my attention back then. However, since it has been released for the PS4 in July of this year, I couldn't contain my curiosity any longer. I am finally ready to experience this... well, experience.
First of all, I have to say, things couldnít be simpler in respect to whether you like Journey or not; you will love it or you think it's dull and will never play it again. I personally donít think there is any grey area in that respect. Either you love it or you hate it, no in-betweens here! And for the record, I love this game! It's beautiful, peaceful and it plays very well. Now, I know this game has been around for quite some time now, so Iím not going to pretend I can tell you something you didnít already know. But, seeing as Iíve only recently played this game for the very first time, I thought Iíd just put my two cents in the proverbial bag, just for fun!
In Journey, you control a little guardian that has to make his (or her, you just canít tell, can you?) way through a vast desert, littered with ruined structures and other obstacles, towards a bright light on the horizon. You are wearing a magical scarf that enables you to jump up and float for short distances. At first, your scarf is quite short, so you cannot float very long at a time. But as the game progresses, youíll collect magical artifacts that extend the length of your scarf, as well as the distance you are able to float. Youíll notice that there are strange glowing symbols on your scarf that fade as you float. This is a way for you to track how much flight-power you have left. To make these symbols glow again, youíll have to collect little pieces of cloth that hover in groups above the desert floor. While you can come across flocks of these little scraps just flying freely through the desert, sometimes youíll have to use another one of your powers to light up / restore banners, scattered across the game world in order to release a new flock of cloth pieces and replenish your flight power.
Journey is a game without a lot of characters and dialogs. At the beginning of the game, the story is almost non-existent. As you journey further through the world, youíll occasionally get flashes of a ghostly white figure, urging you on. Every time you complete a section of the game, you will see kind of an embroidered plaid that shows you the challenges that lie ahead and gives you a general idea what to do. One of the great features of this game is that you can't actually die. You can fall off things or be blown backwards by a strong gust of wind, making you repeat certain actions, but there's no dying in Journey, and that fits the gameís feel perfectly.
As you start your journey, things are peaceful and pretty. But, after a while, there's trouble brewing in this desert paradise and things become a lot darker... figuratively as well as literally. Your travels take you from a dry desert landscape to a kind of dark underwater world and, towards the end of the game, even to a land covered in snow! Whoohooh! Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the... oh sorry, I got a bit carried away there. Yes, yes, I admit; Christmas IS my favorite time of year, so every time I see a land covered in snow, I tend to get carried away a bit... or, a lot.
But, that's not what I was talking about, was it? Back to my Journey! Most of the time you will walk or float through the levels. It's like Tina Turner says at the beginning of Proud Mary; We're gonna take the beginning of this game, and do it easy. Then we're gonna do the finish, rough! Well, rough isn't quite the right term to describe it, but you will occasionally travel in a sort of snowboard mode that definitely speeds things up a bit. Not that the normal walking or floating is too slow or boring in any way, I just like the contrast these more speedy sections add to the game. And believe me when I say: they're just awesomely fun to play!
The developers at ThatGameCompany definitely know how to come up with a great experience and build an awesome game around that idea. The initial atmosphere breaths mystery and keeps urging you on to discover what the world has to offer. The fact that you cannot tell whether the protagonist is a man or a woman lets the player decide for their selves, making it easier to identify oneself with the character. The snow board thing is already awesome, but that's not all. As I've explained earlier on in this review, the jumping will get higher and higher, the distance you're able to float will extend and eventually you will even be able to really fly. And I do believe that it is mankind's secret wish to be able to fly. The gameplay is very easy, so it doesn't take a hardcore gamer to master this game. Basically, everything about this game seems to be made easy, so you can fully enjoy the beautiful world of Journey. And that's great because the environments, the music and graphics are so worth it. They deserve to be enjoyed!