Playing Journey is a therapeutic experience in today’s sequel driven video game industry. I won’t lie to you; it’s quite arty and minimalistic but that’s what makes this game so special. Till the very end, you’re not really quite sure who you are or what just happened making the game open for interpretation so you can actually forge your own story.
There is a basic jist to all though; you are a cloaked figure at the onset who has but one goal - make it to the mountain in the distance. That’s it. There’s no tutorial, no giant marker displaying your goals, no heads up display (HUD), nothing. You start making your way to your objective and the game unfolds from there on. If I had to categorize the game, I’d say it’s an adventure sprinkled with very simple puzzles. In fact, part of the game’s allure is that you never die so there’s no real stress attached to the game. You never have to fret about losing progress or battling that gigantic boss who kills you with cheap attacks because Journey is free from such conventional shackles.
I want to get there
Throughout the way, you’ll be able to fly in short spurts aided by fountains of cloth that come to life by your touch. And then suddenly, you’ll find yourself in an SSX inspired segment where you’re careening down a mountain of sand with reckless abandon. These segments are linked so flawlessly, they never really feel disjointed or that they’re put there in the name of mixing it up. Unfortunately, it all ends real fast as the game can be completed in about two hours.
If you do happen to be online while playing the game, random players can enter your world but unlike most multiplayer games on the block, you can’t communicate with them via text or chat. Forget communicating, you don’t even know the name of the person who’s joined your game forging a very primal but effective bond between players. Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed my first play through completely solo, devoid of any human presence. It really helped in driving home the isolated feeling this game instills in you. Even in Shadow of the Colossus, you had your faithful steed for company where as in Journey, it’s just you against the beautiful yet harsh game world.
Embark upon the Journey of a lifetime
Journey’s game world is nothing short of breathtaking boasting of a sensational art style that goes a long way in creating the game’s desolate world. A large chunk of the game takes place in a desert like surrounding and giving these levels an extra level of credence are the game’s phenomenal sand physics. The way the sand ripples when touched by wind or by your own feet is nothing short of jaw-dropping even giving Uncharted 3’s desert levels a run for its money. Special mention also goes out to the game’s cloth physics that not only look terribly impressive but feel very well implemented in gameplay as well.
Journey is something that everyone should experience no matter if you’re a hardcore or a casual gamer. If like me you’ve become a bit jaded with the predictable sequels flooding the market, Journey is just what you need to rekindle your love for gaming. Its only drawback is that it’s just too short but other than that, it’s a phenomenal experience that begs to be played.