Review: Journey

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I put down my PlayStation controller while still looking at my television screen, a tear hangs off my eye lashes. I just made one of the best journeys of a lifetime. I didn’t know games could be like this, I didn’t know they could bring such great emotion with them. Journey isn’t like any game ever released, it’s something different. And to be honest it can only be explained once you made the journey for yourself.

You start the game all alone in the desert. You don’t have a name and there’s nothing else to see except from the sand and the mountain looming in the distance. The goal of the game is clear, you’ll have to reach that mountain.

The moment you start walking you’ll notice the true beauty and simplicity of the environment you’re in. It seems you’re all alone in an abandoned world once full of life. The world has turned into a huge desert with a couple of remaining ruins in the distance. Not long after you start walking however, you’ll discover your power. You’re dressed in red with a matching scarf but the scarf isn’t that normal. Using the scarf will give you the ability to fly over the environment. A really handy trick in a place like this. Soon after your first discovery you’ll notice the first small red pieces of fabric floating in the air.

Those pieces of fabric will help you by powering up your scarf with the mystical power to float or they will even give you a huge boost to reach areas you couldn’t reach on your own. During your journey to the mountain, those small pieces aren’t the only creatures you’ll encounter. You’ll find different species of good and evil beings living in the deserted world.

Although it doesn’t really sound  very special, it is. The power of Journey is without a doubt the simplicity. No words are spilled to explain the game or the controls to you, it’s always very clear where you’ll have to go. During your quest to the mountain you’ll sometimes have to face environmental puzzles but they really aren’t that hard to solve. Journey is not created to be challenging, in fact it’s more like an interactive painting of one of the most beautiful worlds ever created.

The feeling of loneliness is even bigger thanks to the scale of the environment. You’ll feel all alone in the desert, struggling to make your way to that mountain, wondering what salvation it will bring. Just before you’re willing to give up and can’t stand the loneliness, another character will pop up in the world, singing so you’ll notice it.

Those other ‘people’ aren’t computer generated beings, they’re human beings who’re just like you making their own journey to the mountain. No name nor ability to speak with them will be given by the game, but you’ll bond with them no matter what. The moment you’ll meet up with someone else, you’ll be willing to play through the whole game as a team.

Players who stick together as a team can sing to each other, filling their scarfs with the power to fly. The really interesting thing about this online gameplay is the fact that you’ll get to know different people and different behaviors. Some players are enjoying the game for themselves and aren’t really that eager to continue their story with another player. They will often not stick around and just do their own thing. But there’re also other players who will keep walking by your side, aiding you where possible and they will put everything at risk to reach the finish together.

You’re feelings while playing Journey will depend on the other players you’ll meet. Every session of Journey is different and every person will therefore have his/her own experiences while playing it.

If you don’t wish to meet random online players however, it’s perfectly possible to finish the game all on your own. The feeling of the deserted world will only be more intense when you decide to do it on your own. It’s something I as well did for a while and you’ll be without a doubt overwhelmed by the beautiful and hard world you’re in. Journey feels like a continuous struggle to survive and  you’ll feel so many things when you’re finally able to reach the mountain.

Journey is one of the hardest games to explain on paper. It’s nearly impossible to tell you how different this game really is. Not only does it look fantastic, the soundtrack created for this game fits it perfectly as well. Music plays a very important role in this game. Thanks to the beautiful music, you’ll start feeling real emotions like fear, happiness or amazement.

Although it will only take you up to three hours to finish this game, it is worth every second of it. It’s such a unique and beautiful game, you’ll be willing to finish the game in just one session finding yourself the other day to go on this fantastic journey once more. Not many games can achieve this but Journey really struck me at the only place that is really important for human beings….. The heart.

 

Game Rate: 9.5/10

 

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