Journey - Review

Rating: E-10+ - Everyone 10+

I feel that I am quite late to this party, because Journey has been around for quite some time, but I want to add my voice to the writings about this unusual and exceptional game. I do wonder if the appelation of game is even appropriate, but right now it is easier, if innacurate to use that term.

The game opens with a creature in a red hooded cloak, face darkly shadowed with only luminous eyes showing, standing in a sandy, hilly landscape. This is your avatar for a haunting and spellbinding voyage through elemental landscapes of sand, snow, and under water. It is up to you to explore and understand the environment enough to proceed. The sands are strewn with tombstones and elegant filigree buildings, abandoned and partially destroyed. There are towers leading to ribbon bridges that unfurl before you and carry you across the landscapes. You can fly short distances but mostly you walk across the land braving snow and sand storms. The length of your embroidered scarf indicates your strength and ability to fly. Restorative spots are marked with swaying ribbons and glowing symbols lots of ribbons in the game. The history of the lost culture that created this place is revealed as you reach checkpoints inside various buildings. Elements of danger are the flying whale-like skeletons that take away your flying ability. Throughout, you, the dogged journier, steadfastly continue towards the light emanating from the far mountains. The conclusion is as satisfying as the game so satisfying that I could not stay away and replayed it numerous times.

There are no instructions (with the exception of a couple of graphics right at the beginning showing you a few things your controller can effect). You don't really need any. It is quite possible to complete the journey under these circumstances. The environment, along with a superb musical background is haunting and addicting, so much so that you will find yourself replaying the game several times. Depending on how observant you are, you may pick up the subtle changes in the game on replay.

After several journies, I went and looked up some of the walk-throughs on YouTube, to see what, if anything, I may have missed. There were a few things, and some puzzling aspects were clarified. I also found that there were some bonuses to be gotten on replay, and I played it through until I got them. If you select the online play option (and are online), the Sony system will join your game to some randomly selected other online player, who is not identified, which does change the experience of the Journey. I am about to try this, as all reports talk positively of the online experience.

I have always loved reading Science Fiction, and this game, even more than others that I have played, lets me wander through and experience an other-world. Although there are some hazards, you do not fight anything, are not killed by anything or any action. The Journey world is so haunting that the urge to revisit it from time to time does not go completely away.

I first got this game as a download. The problem with downloaded games is that they are so tied to the machine you used to get it, that you can lose the game so easily - your PS3 could fail. I have just realized that it is available on a PS3 disk, along with two other unique games, Flower and flOw, all made by thatgamecompany, and I am ordering that disk tonight so that I can have it in "hard copy".

My personal recommendation for Journey, is to get a copy, load it and play it without any reference to detailed walkthroughs or videos. After playing it one or more times, then the extra information will enhance your pleasure, rather than curtailing it. Think of Journey as an experience, a Journey, not as a game.

Note: Sony did not provide us with any review copy or other consideration for our review.

Fun Factor: Incredibly haunting and moving play experience
Female Factor: The creature is sexless
Player Friendly: Intuitive

Reviewed by: Lou Katz - Dec/12

  • Journey
  • © Sony
  • Platform(s): Exclusively on the PS3
  • To Order: PS3 $29.99