Journey, available on the PlayStation Network, is a work of art. Developed by ThatGameCompany, the makers of Flower and Flow, Journey takes the Player on a quest that is beautiful, sublime, frightening, intriguing, and altogether human. Brilliantly, Journey does not rely on any spoken or written language, rather the story unfolds through Player experiences. No exposition necessary. In much the same manner as music : the universal language, the game uses common human experience to draw the Player through a world that is fantastic but very familiar.
The game begins in a desert. The image is astounding. The cinematography : perfect. The concept of depth-of-field in this game is handled with a well balanced hand evoking poetry. Technically, the piece that immediately grabbed my attention was the particle effects. The sand actually flows like an ocean. Wind conjures particles with a movement like ink in water. Even the “pause” screen could be framed for a digital screen in a gallery.
Gameplay is simple and the controls are reveled organically during the first steps in the journey. Thereafter, gameplay is more of an experience with a world where the Player is a small spec on a global stage.
Music, in the words of Jerry Goldsmith, “heightens the emotional experience”. This is deftly handled in Journey.
Multiplayer mode is unique. If the Player opts to go online, he/she will be automatically paired with another player that may come and go. These two players can journey together, or separately. What makes this experience unique is the players do not communicate except through their actions/inactions. The Player is not even made aware of the other person’s identity until the end of the game.
While other blogs will delve into the various locations of Journey, let me simply say, they are for you to experience. ThatGameCompany’s mission is “Create timeless entertainment that make positive change to the human psyche worldwide.” They certainly accomplished this in Journey. Do check it out.