Journey on the PlayStation 4 is a game based around the human experience. We become the kind of adventurer in the game that we are in our heart. The knowledge is illuminating and the exploration to the end point fundamentally fulfilling.
- DualShock 4
Required Disc Space:
- 1.8GB Minimum
Supported Video Output:
- Digital Download
Average Playing Time:
- 3 Hours
Journey was developed a few years back by the team at ThatGameCompany. The title aimed to create a collaborative multiplayer experience unlike any other. The title focused more on narrative in the unspoken sense, telling a story through movement and looks and glances. Playing online was a mysterious experience that was both fulfilling and yet tantalizing. The concept won it critical awards and the popularity of the title pushed Tricky Pixels into porting their title over to the PS4 this past July, 21st 2015. We loved the initial Journey and were actually sort of baffled as to how the team would improve upon the concept without losing any of its important flavor or economic motions. We picked up a copy for the PS4 and got to work.
So as we elaborated above, Journey was one of the pre eminent indie titles of the last generation of video games. The game was carried throughout the gaming world through word of mouth thanks to fans who were both dedicated to the concept and enamored with the execution. A minimalist title at its heart, Journey pushed players to interact in a small way with other players across the world. Pushing players to communicate and push forward together while never letting them directly interact was a bold design choice but one that worked out all the better because of it. Journey was a special title and many might think it due to the time and place of its release, when indie games like this weren’t getting much love. Well, an HD remaster seems like the perfect way to put that thought to the test.
We never would have pegged Journey for a title that needed an HD re-release. The title never pushed itself graphically and the concept itself isn’t exactly beholden of the sort of audience that the PS4 is likely targeted. Still, had we never played the initial title on the PS3 then we suppose we would be glad for its existence on the PS4. Bringing the game back for another go around means that its audience will grow and perhaps the culture surrounding these types of titles will grow as well. In any event, we went into the experience ready for another sweeping and imaginative tale told through mummers, whispers, and shadows across the ground.
If you were to strip Journey down to its barest essentials what you would find is a story that is all about communication. The game is designed to push players forward with the desire to communicate but disallows them in the same breath from doing so in a real way. The game loads up and you are in a gigantic open world that you can explore. This appears to be some sort of civilization, some planet of life, where things quit going on. The only thing that you see for certain, and know to go to, is a beacon rising up from a mountain far off in the distance. As you traverse toward the beacon you are completely alone, save for odd carpet looking creatures that fly away with the wind or are killed by the planets more natural enemies.
Loneliness is only abated when other players join you in the journey, albeit in a disconnected way. As you wander through this desolate land you may see a red cloaked figure off in the distant. Like an eye is attracted to movement, so will you be attracted to this new player. You will hustle over to them, traversing a barren land, only to reach them and see that they look quite like you. Your first urge will be to communicate in some way but you do not share a language with this person. You don’t have a keyboard. You don’t have voice chat. Nothing substantial. All you have are two vocalizations: a yelp and a long, loud yell.
So upon meeting your new friend, ally, journeyman, you will be able to communicate only in a rough and rudimentary way. From there you can agree to journey with one another, if you manage to work out a communicative system, or you can head your own separate way. We heavily suggest that gamers stick together as it is through this shared journey that the game really hits its stride and shows off the world in new ways. It all becomes so much more than the sum of its parts when the journey is shared with another player.
In Journey you do have to watch out for enemies but you are never really in danger of being killed. Flowing out behind you is a long ribbon. The longer the ribbon the higher you can jump and the more of the land is available to you. If you get hit by an enemy a little piece of that ribbon will disappear and so too will a bit of your ability. You’ll never die, but your journey will be made harder and harder the more damage you take.
We had a pair of evocative experiences while playing Journey that we felt worth mentioning, and both involved another player. The first experience involved us meeting a player with a much longer ribbon. We managed to work out a sort of alliance through a series of chirps and bellows and finally pushed forward together. Eventually we came to a gap that I could not jump over and so we went around, the long way, as two straggling explorers sharing a fate together because being alone was far too dreary.
The other experience involved a user with a longer ribbon, too. Only he was confrontational, loudly yelping in my characters face. When I was attacked and lost some ribbon, he would belt out chirps of laughter. Yelp. Yelp. Yelp. When he could leave me behind, he did so and so I was alone.
At the center of all things, Journey is a game based around the human experience. We become the kind of adventurer in the game that we are in our heart. The knowledge is illuminating and the exploration to the end point is fundamentally fulfilling.