Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My Journey

Ok, I know I am late to this one but I recently played Journey by thatgamecompany in one sitting and lets just say, I'm speechless. This game was such a joy to play. It was relaxing but yet still engaging enough to hold my attention from beginning to end. I know this game has been praised over and over for many reasons, but I just needed to write down how my journey played out.

Beautiful doesn't even begin to describe this game. My favorite part in terms of beauty was surfing down on the sand through an ancient city. Suddenly the camera adjusts to the side and as I am gliding from right to left, the sun is setting behind the mountain in which I am journeying towards. The lighting and atmosphere was perfect. For a moment I did not have to control or steer my character in the right direction but instead admire the ruins of this city through a soft orange glow. Even the sand seemed to sparkle in the sun. I just felt, happy.

Such a nice change in pace from the ever abundant action/shooter/explosions/adventure games. This game felt like a piece of art. No. This game IS art. Every level, no matter where I turned, felt like a painting. The amount of detail that the developers spent in art and atmosphere of the game truly paid off.

I can't talk about Journey without mentioning the multiplayer aspect. This game is in the same category of innovative multiplayer as Demon's Souls. The ability to randomly join up with other players without interruption let the game flow so nicely. The lack of communication between players actually made the experience even more intriguing. As I met new players along my journey, it was interesting to see how different people acted. Some would try to communicate with me by spamming the one button that makes sound. Others would play follow the leader. And some simply continued their journey as if they were passing by merely to say hi. I greatly enjoyed the fact that the game showed you all the players you met along the way.

In one section of the game, I felt that having a partner to journey with made the experience more memorable  It was a blizzard, and just walking was difficult. Our scarves were torn, other cloth creatures were hiding, visibility was zero, and the uphill climb was steep. At one point there is no sound but the wind and you watch your character climb slower and slower. Struggling with another player felt like enduring a hardship with someone. As if we had a bond, even with no spoken words.

As I reached the top of that mountain, I couldn't help but be sad that the journey was over. The game was short (I believe I beat it in under 3 hours) but short definitely does not equal bad. Quality over quantity is my opinion. I wish that there could be a second journey for me to enjoy, but I understand the developer's reason for not considering one. Each new game is radically different and they are built on pushing the boundaries each time, and a sequel would not fit into that. I think I'll go play Journey again and help someone on their first journey. And I bet you it will feel like a new journey all on its own.

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