Thursday, 19 September 2013

Journey (game)

While visiting my boyfriend he purchased this game for PlayStation 3 and we both really enjoyed playing it. Though the game was already released last year I'd like to introduce it, so no one else would miss out on this stunningly beautiful indie game.


Journey is a PlayStation 3 indie game, developed by Thatgamecompany in 2012. The player controls a character in a deserted area, collecting scrolls with symbol writing, that allows the character to jump. The player tries to reach a mountain visible in the horizon, while collecting these symbols to progress in parts of the game that require jumping. While getting closer and closer to the mountain, the scenery changes and you may also encounter other identical looking characters on your way. I first thought these were NPCs, but as the game finished I was surprised to find out that I had played the game with six other players online, which would explain why the thought-to-be NPCs weren't following me like typical AI characters would. The game is rather short in length, but every minute was definitely worth it. 

Graphics and music

The graphical aspect of Journey is stunning. The way the sand moves, the way your character's clothing moves while jumping; it's all simply beautiful. While moving forward in the game, the different scenery never ceased to amaze me. At one point I was in a desert, but after a while I found myself in a mystical environment that seemed both like underwater but also oddly reminded me of stars and the space. While the basic idea of the game itself is rather simple, the music and amazing animation won't let anyone down. Your character doesn't seem to be able to speak, but produces notes that collect the scripts around you, giving you more jumps. Each player you may encounter on your journey to the mountain have their own individual sound, different to yours. At the end of the game, you will also see which player has been making each different sound. The soundtrack of the game has been composed by Austin Wintory. The music is really fitting for the world of the game, and certainly doesn't let down the amazing environment the game offers.

The Story

What made Journey strikingly different to other games I have played, was the lack of verbal story and communication. These made the playing experience very unique. Your journey was slowly completed after each 'check point' by a drawing made by a mysterious character wearing a white cloak. This figure seems to be able to produce the same kind of sounds as you do, but nothing more is being told of it. Much of the story is thus up to the player's imagination. The player is not really being told what to do by words, but images and clues, thus expected to figure it out by themselves. You may for example encounter flying objects resembling a paper kite, should you follow them or not, is a decision you can think about while playing. The game has various similar hints that you may notice along the way, which will help you to complete the game. Such include noticing how to avoid/ hide from seemingly offensive rock-dragons, or not getting blown away by strong winds.
After completing your Journey, the player may still be left with questions about the world they just peeked into.

Conclusion and other thoughts

Amazing game. Play it. No seriously, if you are any interested in a good indie game, I would highly recommend this one. While the game may not be very fast paced or action packed, it certainly offered an experience I hadn't had before in any of the games I have played. Journey really is your journey through the universe it presents. The game is overall really well-made and simply smart.

I really can't wait for the next release from Thatgamecompany, which is currently under development. I hope they will be able to amaze me again. 

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