GAME NAME: Journey
PUBLISHER(S): Sony Computer Entertainment
PLATFORM(S): PlayStation 3
RELEASE DATE(S): March 14th 2012
A mere 2 and a half hours prior to writing this review, I was unenthusiastically waiting for PSN exclusive ‘Journey’ to download.
A game created from brains behind the critically acclaimed Fl0w and Fl0wer, I personally knew almost nothing about the game prior to playing and really only found myself playing it due to all the media hype.
I now find myself anxiously writing this said review, desperate to tell people about my own, spectacular Journey.
For the masses, this game isn’t a shoot-em-up or mainstream sandbox adventure; instead it pushes the boundaries of what can only be described as an undefinable genre. It lacks dialogue, it lacks a clear direction but that’s what thatgamecompany does and they do it very well. Their work with Fl0w and Fl0wer was breathtakingly beautiful, immersive and very intelligent, creating vivid and unique atmospheres not seen before in other games. Their games have given the PlayStation Network some strong exclusive centrepieces to stand up among what is now, a crowded marketplace.
Journey bases a lot of the core mechanics and story on perception. You are left on your own to put a personality behind the mysterious protagonist and forced to perceive what kind of feelings the blank, speechless character will be feeling. Essentially the character represents yourself as you tackle the world, and the lack of any dialogue means that your feelings at the time translate directly into the game, taking you on a true emotional rollercoaster of happiness and fear.
Visually speaking, the game has some of the best sand effects in any game, stopping all the walking from becoming a chore. The first time you slide down a large sand dune or surf the sand waves your jaw really starts to drop, the attention to detail is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.
Sand isn’t the only attractive looking part of the game though. Character models are fluid and flow free, running on a high frame rate with no drops. The lighting is right up there with some of the best looking games around, truly beautiful, standing out in a superbly immersive underwater section.
Music is also a big part of Journey; the soundtrack is wonderful and makes all those magical discovery moments that bit more epic with melodies used to manipulate the player’s feelings, creating tense, sad and happy moments.
The biggest part of Journey, one that makes it stand up at the side of every other game out there is the online element. There is no multiplayer but there is a very unique cooperative element. With no specific coop option in the main menu, Journey relies on a “drop in/drop out” system. Players can join your journey without alert and tag along in your quest. This may sound very simple but it couldn’t be any more perfect. It adds character to your story, giving you a friend to accompany you on one of the most spectacular journeys your PlayStation 3 can provide.
Journey is one of the best games this year and without a doubt my favourite PSN game. It’s one of the most beautiful games I have ever seen, and it will take you on a brilliantly short emotional journey of player specific perception. For £9.99 this game shouldn’t be missed.