It wasn’t that long ago when video games were considered toys for the immature and not much more. Yet as the medium evolved, the content and creators matured, inventing new and unique experiences that can only be found in games. Journey is one such game. As a piece of art, Journey is a renowned achievement that represents both the cinematic potential and power of storytelling that games can accomplish.
Journey is a game which offers no dialogue, no story, and no combat. As the player, you are tossed into a desert world, with little else to do besides jump, walk, and make chiming noises. Yet Journey’s beauty lies comfortably within it’s simplicity. As the player, you trek across vast stretches of desert, ruins, and mountainous regions. You’ll discover signs of life, bear witness to visions, and even encounter other players as you embark on your quest to reach the peak of the mountain.
The interactions in Journey are all simple, but feel inherently deep as you are forced to communicate through limited means. While on your adventure, you might encounter anywhere from one to ten other players. If you are lucky enough to stick by each other, you will find obstacles easier to overcome and travel at a brisker pace. On the other hand, you may find yourself lost without them, or waiting for them to return from a time of meditation. Regardless of the outcome, the co-operative system in Journey is both powerful and symbolic. Much like a castaway stranded on an uncharted island, it’s comforting just to see someone like you wandering about in Journey. So much so, that you may find yourself genuinely missing your friend should you two get separated along the way.
The scenery in Journey is no slouch either. As you travel, you’ll float through an array of captivating environments that are glamorously lit and styled. Furthermore, the flat graphics do a great job of conveying texture such as sand or snow. Whether you are surfing through the gleaming dunes, or arduously traversing through a windswept city of stone, you will have no choice but to bear witness to Journey’s spectacle. At times, the camera will pan out to give you a greater sense of scope in Journey’s world. During those grandiose moments, I always took extra time to see the sights and take in what was around me.
It’s also simply impossible to play through Journey without taking note of it’s esteemed sound design. Your character’s only form of communication is a form of music itself, and everything from the sounds of the environment to the grand finale’s symphony sets the tone for the epic yet ultimately emotional adventure.
Journey is an unforgettable experience. It is a game that transcends genre and stands on it’s own merits as a triumphant piece of art. Both rich with style and substance, and short enough to be completed in a two hour session, Journey is THE game I’d introduce to people who don’t play games. In terms of quality, Journey is the true embodiment an Adonis Immaculate on the Game Awry Review Scale. For me, Journey will go down as both a milestone in gaming history, and a compelling piece of interactive art that anyone can enjoy.