Format: Downloadable Playstation Network Game
Release Date: March 13, 2012 (March 7 for Playstation Plus Subscribers)
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
ESRB Rating: E
If you ever wondered if video games really are art, then look no further than Journey. Although your "journey" in Journey is ironically short, your travels are nonetheless spectacular.
Journey begins simply, with no instructions, tutorials, or help of any sort. Your character is a mysterious cloaked figure with one task: reach the shining beacon at the far away mountain. You aren't given any background information on the character or destination; but to be honest, you don't need it. There is no dialogue, and the only interactions you have are with other players. You do not know who you are playing with and you are able to talk online with them. Your silent partner simply aids you in your quest. You can exchange chirps (more on that below) to help find each other, but beyond that your time in journey is spent silently walking with each other. Even though you don't find out who they are until you finish the game, the silence between you and your partner creates a unique bond I never thought a game could convey.
You begin the game in a beautifully textured desert where you eventually find several red scarves that are similar to the one around your cloak. These scarves serve as a "boost" that allow you to glide for a period of time, depending on the length of your scarf. The length of your scarf can be improved by finding white "cloth creatures" and activating them with your chirping ability. Chirping also serves as a means of communication with other players or as a way to reveal hidden items. The game is very short, however; I finished it in a little under 2 hours. But those 2 hours were appropriate and very fulfilling, and the game is meant to be played several times through.
I felt the music in Journey was the most important part of the game, so much so that I decided to make it a separate section of my review. The music is incredible, emotional, and impactful. With no dialogue, music serves as the hub of all connections you have with the game. I was amazed at how much tension some music created, or at how sad I felt during some particular scenes, purely because of the amazing orchestral soundtrack. One moment in particular that highlights the perfect combination of graphics and music involves a sliding scene through a building of sand where you're treated to a setting sun as you quickly change from day to night. I was blown away at how beautiful this game really is. Combined with the stunning visuals, Journey really was one of the most enjoyable games I've ever played.
Some players might be turned off by the $14.99 price tag for a 2 hour game. But Journey is so much more than a game that is measured by its length versus time played. By the time you begin playing, you won't even remember it is a game. Journey is meant to be appreciated for what it is, and enjoyed for it's simplicity.
Final Score: 9.5/10