After a whole bunch of tumbleweed – another post! Hooray!
After playing Journey, I felt very compelled to write about it as for me it was a very impactful and memorable experience that I felt I needed to share. I know a lot of people have said the same about Journey and I can certainly see why – it’s utterly spellbinding.
In Journey, you begin as a humanoid with glowing eyes and a red scarf. You are in the desert, looking to a giant glowing mountain in the distance. The aim is clear – journey onwards to reach the mountain.
You begin sliding around the sand dunes, figuring out how to move. The game gives you some button prompts, and tells you that if you gather energy from the floating fabric pieces it gives you the temporary ability to fly. And flying feels wonderful!
As you venture forward, you encounter strange monoliths and etchings, that give hints about the story of the cloth-people and some context to your current Journey. Each time you reach a gate in your Journey, you meet a mysterious white-robed humanoid that will tell you a piece of the story and the path beyond will be unlocked.
Journey feels like an adventure, a dip into the unknown. It makes you feel almost childlike, the world seems vast and you seem small, and everything feels like a struggle but you know you can make it if you try. And occasionally, very occasionally, you might discover someone else on the same Journey…
When you see someone in the world for the first time, it’s incredibly exciting. You have the ability to throw out a random glyph and sing a note, and when you first meet someone else you are both so excited you throw out a bunch of notes that makes a lovely tune. It’s such a basic form of communication, but it makes sense. It feels right.
And now, you have a friend! They may come and go, but you know you’ve shared a little bit of the experience with someone else in the real world. Given the context of Journey, this element of it makes everything seem so much more profound. You rarely encounter people, but when you do, it’s meaningful. Instantly, you know you are both trying to achieve the same thing, because there is only one objective. And thereafter, you endeavor to help each other and not leave each other behind, because you feel like everyone is in it together. It’s amazing how the game can foster such a relationship with very little communication.
The way the game progresses feels very natural; there are moments of peril and moments of relaxation and admiration for the scenery. It weaves both of these situations into the experience in a way that enables you to play the entire thing from start to finish and not feel fatigued. It always feels like you are making steps to discover more, you are always motivated because you want to find out what lies beyond the next gate.
And the Journey does get more and more difficult, you can feel the weight of it on your character, they way they walk, they way they stumble through despite all the difficulties they’ve faced.
If you haven’t played it, I don’t want to spoil it, so I won’t reveal the conclusion to Journey. But the way it wraps up the finale is again, extremely well executed. I put the controller down and felt a sense of pride, but a sadness that the Journey was over. It’s the same feeling you get when you read an amazing book and turn the last page, or you follow a series knowing that the episode you are about to watch will be the last.
I have very little criticism of Journey to be honest, it did some things that I really like in games, for example; the scarf is actually the ‘health bar’ and it’s length can increase or decrease depending on the situation. If you are the type of person that likes a lot of action, objectives, strategy, you might feel Journey is a bit pretentious. But to me it just feels very real, it feels honest, like someone put their soul into the game and like you are understanding the developer on a level that you are rarely able to these days.
So yep this is pretty much an ode to Journey rather than a review, but if you are looking for a unique experience and if you like going along with things just for the ride, and not the end result, then this game is for you. Play it without any distractions, turn your phone off (difficult for me lol) and just go through the entire thing from start to finish and you’ll see what I mean.
Thanks for reading! ❤