Monday, July 23, 2012

Journey Shows off the Emotional Power of the 2 Hour Game

Quick Note: Journey is a Masterpiece, just like FLoW and Flower. Not only does it have a great majesty about it, it also incorporates online co op in a unique way that brings the player back again and again.

 thatgamecompany has always made wonderful and unique games, offering experiences that mirror art as well as gameplay, and Journey is no different. The game places the character as a wanderer of sorts, stuck in the middle of the desert with no instructions, no direction other than a light on top of the mountain in the distance. That's it for story, but the way it unfolds is astounding. With no dialog  what so ever through out the entire game, it's up to the player to understand and infer as he/she travels across the landscape and watches small, dialog-less in game movies.

The game play is simple. The player utilizes the right analog stick to move the character and jumps with the X button. Jumping is limited though, requiring the player to have light in his/her scarf. With each second the player holds the X button, light is depleted from the scarf. By finding scarf creatures and environmnet pieces, the player can recharge this power. The player can also hold down the O button to gather power from cloth creatures around the him/her.

The graphics are vibrant colors and pastels that blend so well together. For a game based entirely in a desert (minus the last level), the levels are wonderfully diverse. Each level carries it's own theme of sorts, making sure that no two levels look or feel the same.  The music also blends well into each moment in the game, becoming softer and louder in order to match the emotional intensity of each moment. 

Though all of this adds to an excellent single player experience, it's when the game is played online in co op that the game really shines. Each level being played has one other player randomly selected from the server to play with you. However, there is only one way of communicating with the other player. By pressing the O button , the player displays a unique symbol above his/her head followed by a single note. This requires the players to craft a unique way of communicating without using any real language, meaning players from multiple cultures can interact with one another while being on the same playing field. It truly creates a unique, fun and surprisingly frustration free game play opportunity that can't be found anywhere else.

This game is short (maybe 2.5 hours) and costs $15, but it's worth every penny. The game has an amazing emotional level that is hard to match, and is the perfect length. It also includes so many great trophies and much like Flower, includes some cute asides to thatgamecompany's passed games. Everyone who has PSN should take the time and money to play this game.

10 out of 10

Interesting Sites:
Official Game Site:
Wiki Page:
IGN Review:

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