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Journey review

On March 2, 2012 by Aaron Meehan
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They say what makes an adventure great is not the reaching of the chosen destination but the journey to reach the destination and Thatgamecompany’s Journey takes this idea to heart.

Journey sees you start in a desert as a cloaked unnamed, mute and unknown figure with no explanation of how you got to the desert or why you are in the desert. You might not know where you are but the game seems to compel you without any voice to journey to a glowing mountain you can see in the far of distance.

What will strike some players as odd is the complete lack of a map, UI etc. the lack of these components works well for the game as it helps with the idea that you are on an unknown journey or perhaps just plain lost.

As your journey begins you come across mysterious and apparently living cloths which appear throughout the game. The cloth can give you the ability to fly/glide until the mysterious runes disappear from your scarf, when they disappear you can recharge the scarf by finding more cloth. There are also various runes hidden throughout the game that can lengthen your scarf which will let you fly/glide for longer.

The second ability you have is the ability to use a runic symbol in a form of a 360 degree wave to empower cloth to help you jump further without using up runes on your scarf etc. The size of the wave is determined by how long you hold down the ‘o’ button. What makes the ability interesting is depending on how long you hold the button down you will hear a different sound when you release the wave.

With both these abilities you have various challenges to overcome during your journey for example you have to cross a broken bridge and to get across you must free various cloth which will make a cloth bridge connecting the standing pillars of the old bridge. The challenges/puzzles in the game aren’t overly difficult and you will likely figure them out quickly as the game doesn’t seem to dwell on them too much.

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One of the major parts of the game is the almost seamless online co-op that exists in the game. It isn’t a separate mode to the story but it is integrated into the game. The best way to describe how the co-op works is the way I first experienced it. I was walking along near the start and in the distance I saw another unknown cloaked figure in the distance as I approached the figure was a cloaked figure like myself, but I didn’t know who he/she was and I couldn’t communicate with the person apart from using the runic ability to sing which in turn powered up the other players scarf and from there we travelled together until we both took a different path in our journey.

It is difficult to talk about the story of the game without spoiling the experience, but I will say the title ‘Journey’ does give a lot of the idea behind the story away.

The environments in Journey are pretty spectacular from the almost endless desert to the snow capped mountain and everything in between.

The music composed by Austin Wintory is brilliant as it is pretty much the only major sound in the game which has no voice acting and little sound effects.

While this game is pretty much a dream to play there are one or two issues I have with the game.

Personally I feel for a game called Journey and with large environments the game is a lot more linear then I expected. You can explore to a degree and find hidden items throughout the game, but when you wander too far away from the objective a wind will blow you back as if to say you are going the wrong way (This is particularly annoying when you start in the desert).

Another issue is the game is short. It took me less than 3 hours to complete and after completing it I felt like I didn’t want to play it again apart from wanting to try and find all the hidden items.

Overall I would say Journey is a good buy and for $14.99 it is reasonably priced. If you loved the past games by thatgamecompany you will enjoy this one too. If you are a player who wants to complete the game in the fastest time possible then this isn’t the game for you.

Journey will be available on the PlayStation Network from March 13 (N. America) and March 14 (Europe).

Positives:
+ Seamless online co-op
+ Great music/environments
+ Good Story

Negatives:
– Linear gameplay
– Story is too short
– Little replay value apart from finding all the hidden items

Score: 80%

Author: Aaron Meehan

Hi, I’m the creator of SG Gaming Info. When I’m not working on my writing or creating content for this site’s YouTube channel, I like to relax and enjoy character driven story games.


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