Game of the Week #1 – Journey

You may be wondering what this whole game if the week thing is all about. Well, every Friday, I have decided to highlight a game that I feel is either really really good, or is interesting enough where it should be at least looked at. Journey falls into the former category, and this is why you should play it.

journey title screenjpg

If there ever was an argument for whether games are art, this is the reason why they are. Journey is a spectacular and emotional walk through of what I feel is the perfect rendition of the Hero’s Journey (Do you see the title? Exactly).

The game starts as you, a creature garbed in red and gold, walks across the desert. You eventually look upon a giant  mountain with a crack in the top, emanating light. You instinctively know this is where you need to go. The tutorial is largely driven by experimentation, and is integrated so well into the game it’s hardly noticeable. Somewhere in the second area you come in contact with another player, and this is where the game shines.

The only way to communicate with another player is to press O with different lengths, making your character bleep and bloop, but that’s it. There is no voice chat, no chat box, just sounds. And even with such a limited means of communication, it works so well at establishing a connection with your partner. Eventually you’ll figure out what works best to communicate different things, usually, “Hey, come over here! I found a symbol (a collectible item)!” and, “Dude, this is the way to finish the level.” For the first, I pressed O a bunch of times rapidly until my partner came. For the second it was much longer, but consistent. I acted like a beacon for the other player when he/she didn’t know where to go. Miraculously, through nothing but blips of different pitches, I really became connected with my partner. Ideally, the person you meet in the second level will accompany you throughout the entire rest of the game. It’s pretty short, only 2 hours, so the likelihood of that happening is pretty high. And when that happens…

Man. It’s amazing. In conjunction with the way the rest of the game flows and tells it’s story (a merit on it’s own), I came THIS close to crying. I had to hold the tears back. The game is so masterfully crafted it made me almost cry. Only one other game has managed to make me cry, and that’s To The Moon, and I’ll save that for another Friday. So, it’s great.

Also to mention, the game has simple but effective controls. The story is meant to be interpreted differently by everyone. The way other players fade in and out of your game is unnoticeable. etc, etc.

what I’m trying to say is that Journey is an exploration into storytelling and player interaction, and it does a better job than most at fulfilling it’s goals. It may seem pricey at $15, but it’s worth it. Trust me.

Score:

150 pineapples/ 22 grapes

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  1. #1 by darrinnilsson on January 12, 2013 - 9:53 am

    Having played this game as well I can agree that it is a beautiful game. I’m not much of a gamer anymore. This is one of the few which I felt was not only enjoyable but mentally stimulating in a way not found in most games. Also, the smooth fluid flow of this game brought a welcome relief to the adrenaline charged format of most popular games today.

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