“Video games can never be art.”, once said Roger Ebert and to a certain degree he is not in the wrong. The video game market is often crowded with over the top violence and in your face action. If only Roger had the privilege to experience Journey. Spawning from developer Thatgamecompany, Journey is more an interactive art piece than a conventional game. In simple terms, Journey is a third person adventure in which you travel through the desert towards a mountain. It’s also breathtaking, unique, mysterious and simply beautiful. Journey leaves players with a lovely experience that wont be forgotten, even when the the controller is put away.
Journey begins without context, a unnamed traveler trucking through the desert towards a distant mountain. There is a sense of loneliness not seen in other games. You feel as if you’re the last survivor of something tragic. Through exploring the landscape on your way towards the peak, you can discover ancient murals that give clues to a back story. The more you find and collect, the more you uncover as to why you must journey towards the mountain. Thatgamecompany does a fantastic job of leaving just enough behind to help you build your own conclusions without them spelling it out for you. The sense of mystery leaves players with a breathtaking experience once the game concludes.
As you hike throughout the landscape you will have to perform simple platforming puzzles to advance forward. Journey introduces a simple mechanic of flight in short bursts during these segments. You can discover cloth fragments throughout the game that extend the traveler’s scarf, giving him the ability to fly for a short period of time. The more fragments you find, the longer you’re able to sour forward. This mechanic is simple but works wonderfully. Journey also has a simple multiplayer system. Other players are seamlessly brought into your world as you play. You can choose to advance without them, or work together as a team. With no way of communication, the other player becomes the perfect stranger. Huddling together gives your scarf energy, and scaling enormous ruins with a fellow traveler is great fun.
Journey never ceases to astound the player. It’s utterly lovely, and leaves you with a compelling experience that won’t be forgotten. The title is unbelievably refreshing to play through and clocking in at three hours, it can be beaten in one, joyous sitting. The title is experimental and concludes beautifully. After completion, speculations may lead to deeper meanings but this best discovered for yourself. Journey has a simplistic beauty to it and is a title that you must experience.
Overall Score – 10
-Matthew Bruce 2012