Do you like floating around and acting all whimsical? I know I sure do. But how does one find an outlet for the desire to float around whimsically? These Journey features will surely do the trick.
Journey - by Sony Computer Entertainment
Float your way to a distant mountain in this beautiful game. "Why?" You ask. Mostly just because. Games like Journey are special, and here are seven reasons why.
#7 Replay Value
So, Journey is short. I mean, there are only so many ambiguous, artsy levels you can make before a player gets tired of trying to get from point A to point B. could you imagine what DLC for this game would look like? You'd probably be in outer space, floating down a rainbow, or God forbid, there might be a water level. What Journey lacks in length, it makes up for in replay value. First off, you've got this beautiful world to explore, and it's pretty tough to see everything your first time through. Even if you have seen everything, though, Journey is all about the experience, and it's worth experiencing again. Plus, every time you play, your character's robe gets cooler. It gets more and more designs printed all over it with every play-through. That's pretty fun, especially when you're playing multiplayer and you get to show off your epic robe. It gives you an added goal, almost like a mini-game: "I want MY robe to be that badass one day!"
#6 Multiplayer Vs. Single-player
When I play Journey, I like it to be an epic, lonely mission, haunting and quiet and desolate. I love the feeling of being completely alone in the world, exploring on my own and having my own experiences. To me that's a major component of the game, and it does nothing but heighten my enjoyment of the game.
But not everyone wants to be a one-man wolf pack. Actually, almost no one does. Turning on multi-player certainly doesn't ruin the Journey experience. I've played a couple runs of it with multiplayer on the whole time, even. If you play Journey in multiplayer, another player will appear and be there to help you through your quest. This is nice on your first play-through, since it's such an ambiguous game, and you'll often find yourself sitting there going, "So, now what?" It's a pretty cool thing, jumping around, trying to communicate through soft sounds. Because you can't talk. You're just a weird critter in a robe that makes soft sounds. It's honestly like you're not human at all, but some animal that can only make a couple sounds here and there to get your point across. It's bizarre, but it 's also really, really cool.
#5 Lack of Combat
Journey, like Flow and Flower before it, is a peaceful experience. It's the type of game you play to unwind. There's no combat, no screaming commands to your teammate who's probably eight, no running away from terrorists while upgrading your weapon while downloading the next map while sniping that guy who's totally camping while facing the zombie apocalypse and if you miss this next shot you pretty much insta-lose.
There are very real struggles in Journey: pushing through the last couple of levels is a feat, especially when you're slowly freezing and the wind keeps rolling you back to the start of the level. There's no combat, though. The whole game is very tactical and subtle. You don't get to fight those weird flying serpent-monsters, you have to figure out how best to avoid them. If you have a buddy, this can be carried out in very different ways than if you're all alone. And if this is your seventeenth play-through, you'll probably sail right through it to get your robe to look even fancier. There's a time and a place for everything, friends. Violence is cool, no one's denying that. I love it when I get to take someone out through a window in Sniper Elite, or when I blow a zombie to smithereens with a grenade in Left 4 Dead. It's freakin' awesome to do those things. But it's also really cool to float gracefully past a scary snake-like monster like it's no big thing, which is exactly how I deal with things in Journey.
Journey features a great vibe. Even during its climatic moments, it's peaceful and serene.
There's an overall beauty to it that just puts a smile on your face. Floating softly and sprinting slowly through the world certainly helps to keep this effect going, as well. No matter if you're in a desert or an arctic, Journey feels very relaxed and enjoyable, especially with its above-mentioned lack of combat.
What does it all mean?! Actually, though. Journey's plot is as follows: you're a semi-cute, semi-creepy floating little beastie that really wants to get … somewhere. It really only starts to make sense once you arrive, to be honest. But even by the end of the game, it only STARTS to make sense.
You could sit around theorizing all day, really. The mountain represents death, and from it you earn rebirth. The mountain represents your goal in life, and getting there means that you've reached the goals and … now what? Maybe each stage is part of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, and the mountain is a successful life. Maybe the whole game represents rounding the bases and the mountain means you've lost your V-card. You never know! And you don't get to know. It's fun to theorize. It kind of feels like it all HAS to mean something. The relics you collect have to signify something, each level has to have a meaning. Doesn't it? Maybe not… The first time you play, you might be disappointed by where you end up. You may or may not have even realised you were headed there all along. I certainly totally missed the memo that we're all heading to the mountain. I just kind of trucked through the first level without having a clue what was happening. Realising that I'm aiming towards the mountain has made more recent runs of the game much easier, I must say.
#2 The Artistry
Journey is lovely. It has a painstakingly perfected colour palette, and your character is downright adorable. It's art imitating life, then making it extra-artistic. Let's just say, it makes for a great background for your computer or poster for your room.
With a game like Journey, beauty and tranquility go a very long way, so its look is important. Go and Google some images for Journey, and you'll see lovely pictures that homage your quest across beautifully barren landscapes, through perfectly-lit caves, and to the looming mountain you're so compelled to reach.
The #1 Journey Feature: The Way It Feels to Play
This game feels great to play. That's all there is to it. It's kind of like reaching nirvana, or having a really good yoga session. Simply running through the world feels good, and when you jump and glide, it feels even better.
Devoid as it is of combat, Journey doesn't have very complicated controls, so a lot of effort has been put into making what controls they have good, and it works. All the artistic elements in Journey combine to make it something you want to feel and experience. The soundtrack, the visuals, the controls, they are all well implented features of Journey that go into making it one of the nicest experiences you can have playing a video game.