Journey is a game that’s hard to explain. It’s all about the experience and talking about it would spoil the game. You play a nameless character, garbed in red, exploring the desert. There’ll be other environments to explore as well, but again, that’d be a spoiler. There is indeed a story here, but one told silently through wordless interactions and symbols in the environment. It’s an adventurous, thought provoking game. The experience will differ from person to person, so in that sense, the truly unique story is the one you and your friends share with each other.
Journey’s gameplay is pretty simple. You can walk, sing which activates things in the environment, and glide for short distances. The goal is to finish your quest, which purpose remains a mystery until the end. There’s also a multiplayer aspect to the game that’s actually quite innovative. If you have an Internet connection, at any time, another character may join you in on your Journey. You cannot directly interact with the person, or see their name, but you can sing to them, which I found to be an adorable attempt at communication. While the game isn’t any harder or easier with a partner, traveling together makes the experiences of Journey that much sweeter.
The presentation of the game is phenomenal. When I played Uncharted 3 a few months ago, I thought no one could make sand look prettier, but I was wrong. The desert, ruins, and other environments in the game are beautiful and vibrant and along with the stellar score, help tell Journey’s tale. This is a game where every aspect of the game all intertwines from the art to the gameplay. While it’s a little disappointing that the game only lasts 2 hours, it’s still a trip worth taking.
Journey, needless to say, is fantastic. Everything in this game is polished to a fine hue. Its short, adventurous narrative can be experienced by anyone, and I mean anyone thanks to the simplified controls. The multiplayer is just another layer to an already amazing game. While some may argue there’s not much here for a $15, 2-hour game on PSN, trust me there is. Journey is a must play experience.
Score: 5/5 Stars
Special Notes: This article was originally published March 3, 2012 via my Examiner account before the website shut down.