Date Completed: February 16, 2013
This is going to be a difficult review to write. It would ruin some of the experience of playing Journey if you know anything about it before you begin. Half of the Journey is the discovery process of how to play the game. I’ll keep this review to discussing my impressions of the game without giving away details.
You start the game in a desert with a mountain looming in the distance (this is not a spoiler since it’s on the promotional artwork). You don’t know what’s at the top of the mountain but it’s fairly obvious the mountain is your destination. My 4-year-old was absolutely convinced there was a monster at the top of the mountain and he frequently told me not to go there. I told him that I had to because I needed to stay close to ‘my friend’.
In case you were wondering ‘my friend’ was another player who I met in the game. The first time I spotted another player my wife was watching and she asked “Is that another person?” The only indication that this person was not an AI controlled robot was that their behavior was clearly not scripted. One might even say it was somewhat insane (I’d explain more about this but it would contain a spoiler). ‘My friend’ and I journeyed together for awhile but eventually I had to save and quit for the night. The next time I played my son was concerned that I was alone. He asked, “Where is your friend?” Eventually someone else showed up in my game and he was satisfied.
I read an article that suggested you play Journey offline for your first play through and then play online for subsequent plays. I have somewhat mixed feelings on that topic. It would not have been the same experience without ‘my friend’ there but at the same time the more advanced players tend to rush through the game. My advice is play the game online and take the Journey at your own pace. Don’t let anyone rush you. If you meet someone else who is playing at the same pace you are then play with them. It’s worth it.
Everyone will experience journey differently which makes it impossible to describe the game. I’ve read several opinion pieces about what people thought of Journey and what it meant to them. The game is short ( about 2 hours ) but it manages to pack in a much more memorable and meaningful experience than other longer games. If I were a high school English teacher I’d have all my students play the game and write essays on the experience.
The only other thing I wanted to note is that the game uses rumble. It does it so subtlety and naturally in tune with the mood of the game that I didn’t even notice is until the game was almost over. The attention to detail and production values are of the highest caliber.
If numerous game of the year awards are not enough to convince you that Journey is worth your time then please consider this text message that I sent to a colleague shortly after finishing the game.
- Indescribable experience. A must play title.
- Lots of other pros that would contain spoilers!
- Very short game.