Journey Review (PSN): An Unfathomable Masterpiece

March 16, 2012

Downloadable Reviews, PSN

Imagine being stranded in a desert, ruins surround you and the only thing you ponder upon is a strange summit with a light coursing through it. Enter Journey, a new PSN exclusive from Thatgamecompany, the same people who brought us flOw and Flower. You play as a robed figure and you’re thrown into this experience with almost no backstory. Instead, much like the storytelling in Flower, you will unravel bits and pieces of the plot as you progress. This is not some Hollywood style storytelling but rather a more artistic storytelling that comes to make sense the more you advance through the game’s campaign.

The unique concept about Journey is…well, everything. Journey is a truly unique experience that is unparalleled to anything out on the market and that’s to be expected from Thatgamecompany. There’s no action, no HUD and no decision making here. As you play through Journey, you will notice that you will come across other robed figures whom are other online players. There’s no matchmaking or partying up with a buddy on your friends list and there is no voice or text communication what-so-ever. However, what would normally seem like an ancient design choice in this current generation actually turns out to be the most original online system since Demon’s Souls. When coming across strangers, you can work together to reach the ultimate goal of getting to the summit of light. By pressing the Circle button, you can do a musical shout (doesn’t sound a bad as it may seem) to grab your partner’s attention. The crazy part is that when you try to communicate with your partner like this, you actually end up forming your own language in a way that you and your partner will understand what you’re trying to convey. For example, during my journey, I would charge the circle button to do a bigger shout to grab my partner’s attention to come by me and they would respond with simple circle button presses. If something insane would happen, I would press the Circle button a few times and they’d respond back with a single circle press. It’s hard to explain in writing and is best experienced yourself to get a better understanding of it but it’s quite remarkable.

The circle button is essentially your action button. You will use this to activate floating pieces of cloth around you and these will either help access new pathways to your destination or allow you to recharge your cloth scarf. Your scarf must be lit up to be able to jump and glide your way through the desert for a temporary time. Hidden glyphs can be found scattered throughout the desert which will extend your scarf, allowing for longer gliding time. A neat aspect about the coop is the fact that when you stick next to your partner, both of your scarves will recharge simultaneously, giving more incentive to stay together. While the game will only take you about an hour and half to reach the end, it will demand for more than a single playthrough. Without giving away any spoilers, there’s more to the environment than just the desert and you’ll come to experience that not too far in. Add in one of the most graceful final levels I’ve witnessed in a game and you’re in for a once in a lifetime experience.

Both visually and musically, the game is literally breathtaking. From the moment you start your journey, you’ll be jaw-dropping at the game’s visuals and captivated by its moving soundtrack. Your character’s animations along with the animations of the floating cloth are simply astounding and the sand effects are among the best seen in a video game to date. You’ll notice the wind moving every little grain of sand that glistens in the environment and can’t help but just stand there and take in the visual experience. As for the soundtrack, every tune is beautifully composed, giving it a mysterious and haunting vibe that perfectly captures the game’s tone and setting. The ambient noises are magnificent as you’ll hear the wind rustle through the sand, making you feel like you’re right there on sand yourself.

By this point of the review, it’s evidently clear that Journey was an unparalleled experience for me. Thatgamecompany has once again done the unthinkable and provided an unfathomable masterpiece that should not be missed by any means.

Verdict: BUY IT!

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About Glacier928

Marcello is the founder, creator and editor-in-chief of GamersXtreme. His dedication and passion shows as he keeps gamers informed with daily news articles and provides truthful, honest opinions on all gaming related news. Having experience with video game design, as well as over 20 years of gaming under his belt, Marcello has always had a massive interest in the gaming society. Originally, he created GamersXtreme in the style of a magazine back in middle school. Today, he has taken what was created as a basic premise and has evolved it into the site it is today.

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