Bioshock Infinite arrived. Giddy all over I threw, “literally threw it”, into my console, JAMMED the power button and sat back awaiting the experience of a lifetime. What I got was a beautiful disaster.
Lara Croft is back and dare I say better than ever! Without a doubt she must have been hanging out with Nathan Drake a bit to learn the ropes, but man it paid off. Tomb Raider is the best kind of reimagining. Offering a human story full of gut wrenching death sequences and a story filled with mature themes about what it takes to survive. Lara Croft, you just kicked Nathan Drake right in the crotch.
Growing up outside of Austin in a small town I often found an oasis in Film and Video Games. Watching Arnold annihilate bad guys as Conan the Barbarian is unforgettable. Playing Tetris and Castlevania on the original nintendo, just as… unforgettable. Never in my years would I imagine playing countless video games on a number of systems, going to the University of Texas, being introduced to Austin, graduating, moving to NY, moving back to Austin, getting married, and finally after all that going to my first SXSW show just a few days ago. Why did I wait this long?!?!
ThatGameCompany, makers of FlOw and FlOwer have done it again, and this time they pulled out all the stops and have created what can really not be described any way other than masterful.
Journey is a game about, well, a journey. You are a wanderer, working your way towards a mountain in the distance for reasons that you as the player figure out for yourself. You see, there is undoubtedly a story being told in Journey, but that story really takes shape based on how you, the player, perceive it. Journey’s story can mean many things to many people–like any other form of art with which you can interact.
Just as a movie, a song, or a painting can speak to the audience, Journey speaks to the player on a variety of levels. With no words, ambient music, and a vast, beautiful, yet simple landscape, Journey’s setting opens itself up to a multitude of interpretations. Gameplay consists mainly of you moving your wanderer through the level and towards the mountainous goal, it is very simple and elegant and will keep you moving forward.
The gameplay is also shared with another player. You meet players in Journey, yet you are not aware of who you are meeting. Instead you are seamlessly matched up with another player and the two of you work through the “chapters” of the story together. You help each other find the way, and there are a few nuances to be discovered of how your wanderer can interact with your companion. It is only after the credits that Journey lets you in on who it was that accompanied you through your journey.
I definitely understand how my personal experiences and knowledge shaped what I took away from this game, and that is what makes it such a masterpiece. It has the power to truly move the player and really bring out an emotional reaction. At the same time, playing the game is fun, simple, and the short length (around 2 hours) means that you could play it over and over if you so choose, or simply play a single chapter, perhaps to help a stranger through a difficult part of the journey.
I would love to hear from everyone who has played this game. What was your experience? What was the goal toward which you believe you were working? What does this game say to you?
I think me wanting to know the answers to these questions speaks volumes about the game and the conversation it creates. ThatGameCompany truly has something special here, and if you haven’t played this game already, you simply must.
I understand our scale sort of breaks down with games that can only be purchased, but long story short, I cannot recommend this game any more highly, and with a pricetag of only $15 (plus the discounts often run on it and the PS Plus discount for it) you are really missing out if you choose to let this one pass you by without tagging along.
Journey is worth a BUY