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Journey: the 10/10 verdict

By Stuart Andrews

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

10

But we’re still leaving our something quite important: Journey is an experience you share. In each section of the game you may be joined by another pilgrim. You won’t know who they are, their age, their nationality or their gender. There is no talking, just a signal that’s half ball of light, half musical motif, and all you can see is how they behave. Some of your fellow pilgrims will ignore you, some will help you, and some might do all the hard work before you get a chance to. You in your turn can interact with them, leading them to things they might not have discovered, while at specific points in the game there are key benefits to working together.

Journey

The thing is that each of these other pilgrims is a real player, sat somewhere playing Journey elsewhere in the world. Somehow, you’re sharing something with someone you know nothing at all about, and the experience can be fun, sometimes irritating but often quite wonderful. It gives a game that’s already infused with personality an element of real human warmth.

Normally when we score a game ten out of ten we have to include some caveat, saying that no game is absolutely perfect and that there are some irritating minor niggles if you look. In this case, we’re not going to do that. Journey might not be entirely faultless, but it’s near-perfect at being what it is.

Journey

There are two possible causes for complaint. One is that it’s not the kind of game that celebrates skill. Journey doesn’t want to kill you or stop you from making progress, and the only real question is how long it’s going to take. There are bits you might want to explore and some bonuses you might want to pick up, but it’s not the kind of game where you can say one player will be massively better than another. Somehow, to try and speed-rush through it would be to miss the point.

Is this really a problem? No. If you want to prove your gaming chops, try Dark Souls, try Modern Warfare 3 Spec Ops. Journey is all about the journey, not achieving goals.

The second possible issue is length, which we gamers sometimes get caught up on because we like to feel we’re getting value for money, and because we’d like a great game to never end. But should we really weigh greatness by the hour? Or by the ratio of hours to price? Journey is a reasonable £9.99 and you will want to play through it more than once. You’ll also want to get other people on your PS3 and make them play it too. Otherwise, how can you make them understand?

Journey

The important thing is that Journey feels like it’s the length it needs to be. It works best like a movie, played in one sitting and allowed to build. In a world where too many games are like long-haul TV series that dip and meander in a mid-season slump before they run up to the end, this is something we really ought to treasure.

Verdict

Journey is a masterpiece. It’s a short-lived experience, but totally captivating, and one you’ll be happy to repeat time and time again like a great piece of music or a much-loved movie. It’s beautiful to look at, has a majestic and often haunting score, and feels like no other game before it. If we could, we’d force you to play it, but as it is we’ll simply urge you not to miss out.

Overall Score

10

Ed Churchward

March 15, 2012, 9:06 pm

Any sign of this coming to the PS Vita?

ClivePounds

March 16, 2012, 2:17 am

Recently, independent title "Dear Esther" fully renewed my faith that video games can be intelligent and beautiful; and have story lines good enough to make most Hollywood blockbusters look like the tripe they (usually) are. It was with great anticipation, then, that I read this review. Well, just the start and end - I skipped the middle when you got all worried about giving too much away! After just finishing my first play through, I must say I was not disappointed. Superb achievement. I'd like to say more, but I wouldn't want to spoil it for anyone else..!

Bugblatter

March 16, 2012, 4:23 am

I'd like to try it but I'll have to find a way to do so without giving Sony my credit card details again.

ChaosDefinesOrder

March 16, 2012, 2:29 pm

pre-paid credit card?

DevGuy

March 18, 2012, 1:26 am

Wow, just wow. This game is worth every penny. Just buy it, seriously you won't regret it!

Greg Shewan

March 19, 2012, 8:27 am

This game is just enchanting... so beautiful in so many ways. I cant wait to finish it today!!!! Get it!

Doug Ellison

March 23, 2012, 12:36 am

I'm an emotional, let's go exploring kind of guy....but it seems like I'm in a minority of one when it comes to Journey. I hated it. This is what I tweeted after finishing it "I pushed my PS3 D1 joystick fwd for 2 hours. In related news, I just completed Journey. Honestly, I don't get it." and "Level 1-Walk in sand. 2-in snow. 3-in snow up a hill. 4-in snow up a windy hill. 5-Whiteout. 6-Repeat 4&5. Roll credits"

It's beautiful - for sure, but it wasn't worth the money or the time it cost me. I simply do not get the appeal.

Ed

March 23, 2012, 1:15 am

Interesting. I've been waiting to hear a view like this because it did strike me from reading about it that this was maybe a bit too non-game like for my liking, which is why I haven't stumped up the cash yet. Will probably take the plunge at some point, though.

vivster

April 6, 2012, 5:20 am

An interesting game. Certain moments gave me flashbacks of Flashback (on the Amiga). I'm not certain I'd say it was as great as others have been claiming however its definitely a worthwhile experience and one I'd recommend all to give a go especially given the price. I hope ThatGameCompany look to expand on the whole non-verbal co-op play that was conceived in this game for future releases...that in itself is a particularly significant potential 'game-changer' in terms of online multiplayer gaming.

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