Journey (PS4) review
Journey for PlayStation 4 is an enhanced version of the critically acclaimed PlayStation 3 game, Journey. The PS4 version sees the game’s visuals receiving an upgrade with the game now running at 1080p, and at a framerate of 60 frames per second. Also, for those who bought the PS3 version back in 2012, there is good news because owners of the PS3 version will be able to download the PS4 version for free.
Now that’s enough about the changes between the PS3 and the PS4 versions, let’s talk about the game.
Journey is a game that doesn’t feel like a game, I know that seems weird so let me explain. Journey is exactly like its name suggests, a Journey. The goal of Journey is for you (an unnamed cloaked figure) to reach a mysterious mountain in the middle a desert filled with ruins and mysterious cloth. Now what makes reaching the goal interesting is that the game doesn’t outright tell you to go to the mountain, but instead it makes you want to visit it by showing you this distant glowing mountain and hoping that your interest will lead you on a Journey to the mountain.
Journey also has no heads-up display (HUD) this means that you have a clear view of the world without maps, mini-maps, health bars etc. ruining your experience. The lack of HUD also helps to create the mysterious and unknown feel to the game. Personally I am glad there is no HUD as I feel it would be too distracting and would change the overall tone of the game.
The game’s story is very much open to the player’s interpretation as the game only offers visual clues and there is no narrator or any voices to tell you what it is going on. My personal feeling on the story is that it is a spiritual journey, with you attempting to reach the mountain to try and reach a higher plane, I say this because the game seems to show that you are among the last of your race with picture graphs showing many of your kind dying and/or trying to reach the top of the mountain in hope of ascending to a higher state of existence. As I said this is my interpretation of the story, if you play Journey you might have a completely different interpretation.
The lack of communication/talking also plays a major part in the games seamless co-op functionality. While Journey can be played by yourself, you can accidently stumble upon another cloaked figure, but this figure isn’t an NPC, but a real-life player exploring and trying to reach the mountain. Now, when you run into another player you have two choices 1) Ignore them and complete the journey by yourself or 2) Journey with them. The second option is the toughest because you cannot talk to each other and you have no idea who this other person is (PS IDs are not shown). When I played Journey I did a mixture of these two choices, but I found the second choice to the best most exciting. There was something mysterious about two random people silently coming together to compete a goal.
Let’s take a look at Journey’s gameplay, and just like its HUD it is simplistic. Journey’s gameplay consists of navigating fairly linear levels (although the game likes to make you think otherwise with its open spaces) and completing the odd puzzle or two along the way. To get from beginning to end you have two abilities, the ability to jump/glide and the ability to create a 360-degree runic wave that allows you to bring cloth to life. To add some complexity your jumping ability is tied to the length of your character’s scarf, so once the power in the scarf runs out you can no longer jump and you are required to find some cloth and use your shockwave to regain your scarf’s power.
The game also contains two major sets of collectables, the first are runic symbols that increase the length of your scarf, which in turn means you can use your jump/glide ability for longer, and the second are cave drawings that you have to use your shockwave ability to reveal. Finding these drawings doesn’t give you any special abilities, but it does offer some story information such as what the markers in the ground are, and what the runic symbols are.
When it comes to replay value, Journey does suffer. The game can be completed in less than two hours, and with no new game plus the only thing you can do after completing the game is try to find all the collectables and unlock all the game’s trophies (one of which requires you not to play the game for a week). However for the fact you can cross-buy the game on PS3 and PS4 for only $14.99, it is well worth the price despite its short length.
If you ever played the PlayStation 3 version of the game will no doubt remember that games amazing visuals, sound, and music. Composer Austin Wintory does an amazing job sucking you into the world, as each track fits perfectly with each level. Visually the increased resolution makes the levels stand out more, with one of my personal favourites being when the sun passes through the pillars of a long abandoned city.
While my overall impression of Journey is extremely positive, the game has one major issue, the options menu. The game’s option menu consists of only two options 1) chapter selection and 2) changing the game’s camera controls. I would have loved to have seen the options menu allow me to change the volume levels of various aspects of the game, and disable the insanely annoying motion controls.
Journey proves that games don’t need to be complicated to be great as its minimalist design allows players to engross themselves in a story that will make their imagination run wild.
+ The story is up to the player’s imagination
+ No heads-up display
+ Seamless co-op
– Options menu is almost nonexistent
– Little replay value
|Tricky Pixels||Sony Computer Emtertainment||Adventure||7+||PS4||July 21, 2015|
*A review code was provided by the game’s publisher.*
For more information on Journey, visit https://www.playstation.com/en-us/games/journey-ps4/.
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.