If I were to pick one title that proves that video game making is an Art form, worthy of that capital A, I’m pretty sure I would pick Journey. If you haven’t played this game yet, do it. Get it. Don’t have a PlayStation 3 or 4? Find a friend that has one and buy them the game if you have to. This is a Journey every gamer should take.
A robed figure sitting atop a dune, overlooking the desert. In the distance, a field of monuments… are they tombstones? Is this a cemetery? A platform… A piece of cloth… A scarf… Energy… The power of flight… A stranger… He or she looks just like me! One of my own… An NPC? No, someone else… We must travel together… We must reach the mountain. We must climb. We must learn what happened, we must take a journey to discover who we are, where we came from, where this is. Through the desert, into ruins, under water, up the mountain, through the blinding snow, we must stick together… work together… This snow… It’s hard to walk… Will you make it… Will I… I can’t… Take… Another… Step… The white light…
Journey, unlike most games, is not about solving an great puzzle or overcoming a great evil. It’s not even a sandbox as you do have a set itinerary. Even then, it’s not about the destination. Like in true old school Samurai stories, it’s about the voyage itself. This game is just that, a journey: physical, spiritual and metaphorical. This title’s offering may seem modest and simple but it is in reality rich and complex and unlike anything else I’ve seen in gaming. The multiplayer mechanics themselves are a testament to human behaviour and cooperation. You are paired with a random player through the PSN with which you can only communicate with your character’s chime as text and speech are disabled. Only when you’ve completed your journey and scrolled through the entire credits, will you see your co-travellers’ PSN tags. It is in complete anonymity and with little to no way of communicating that you work together to complete the levels and reach the mountain top.
You’d think a game like Journey wouldn’t have a great replay value and you’d be wrong to think so. My voyage left me craving for more: I wanted to experience it again, dig deeper into the game’s cryptic story, fly higher, sand ski longer, meet new travelers… After a very taxing week at work, I found myself longing for Journey’s soothing and entrancing gameplay. I wanted to float from sand dune to sand dune, looking to reach that mountain once more. The very fact that you travel with different anonymous gamers will make every journey slightly different.
This game is breathtaking, especially on PS4. The artwork is polished, the animation is smooth and the environments are gorgeous. The soundtrack is enthralling and dynamically responds to your actions, building a single epic theme to represent the game’s emotional arc throughout the story. Journey truly is an audio-visual interactive masterpiece. You don’t have to take my word for it, you can see the game’s long list of awards and nominations right here.
And this my friend, is how a seemingly short game wins several Game of the Year titles and the heart of millions of gamers. Will you take this journey with us?