Go on a little trip in thatgamecompany's Journey.
April 9, 2012 8:18 pmTerry Yates
Version tested: PlayStation 3
Not having access to a PlayStation 3, I’ve not been privy to the thatgamecompany’s previous games of Flow and Flower. From what I gather, they fall in that genre of “art game”, and as such can be one of those titles that has as many fanatics as detractors. I never really felt compelled to attempt and play Flow or Flower, but was drawn for some odd reason to the aesthetic of Journey.
As with anything “art”, it is subjective. That you may or may not like it is of no consequence to what the piece of art is trying to convey. As Super Mario Bros. is the bulk of my gamer DNA, Journey did not speak to me as much as say Braid did. Whereas I’m sure there’s more than a few people that will find Braid lacking and reductive as I find Journey.
When looking/listening to people talk about the “experience” they had with Journey, I do roll my eyes. To my mind I find Journey as a piece of art could be interpreted as a satirizing of videogame writers effects on peddling sub par “indie games” on their readers who then scoop them up to not be left in the dust and unhip. Therefore Journey is a great success. Seeing as many mainstream game reviewers don’t pay for the vast majority of the games they review, the mass relation of “this is comparable to a movie experience wherein I pay $15” rings a bit hollow.
Most of the “game” of Journey is pushing forward on the analog stick. There’s one enemy type in the game, a flying worm beast of some sort, which if it spotlights you and grabs you, eliminates half of your scarf. Admittedly, I sacrificed my little jawa to the flying beast, thinking I would game over or something. The loss of scarf was super aggravating, but turned out to be pretty useless, as at that point the cold and snow constantly deplete your scarf, and the real meat of “push analog stick forward: the game” began in earnest.
As a game Journey isn’t very good. If viewed as a game, then we’ve seen stuff like this before, not that that has stopped other games and franchises over the years, but you’d think something coming from thatgamecompany would be wholly more original than “You go on a Journey”. Perhaps, since I didn’t pick up what Journey was putting down, I’m being a tad reductive. But if the “game” of Journey fails to grab me and the “experience” of Journey is flat and uninteresting, where do you go from there?
My biggest complaint against Journey is the price point of $14.99. Regardless of the “experience” of Journey, it’s a beautiful tech-demo at best and not worth the money. Had there been more “game” attached to the “experience” of Journey, I could see the value proposition being a good one, as this is, after all, highbrow indie game territory.
If we’re going to acknowledge Journey as an art game, the proposition of “should you play it?” is answered in the affirmative. I think Journey should be played, just because I didn’t cotton to it, doesn’t mean that someone else could. Just like in the art world proper, I’m a lover of Van Gogh, Monet, Renoir and the other Impressionist painters. Pollock’s works have never spoken to me and I don’t consider them art, but I can appreciate the expression found in his work. I appreciate that Journey came out and tried to say something, I just think what it says is gibberish and it’s game play sucks. Wait for a drastic cut in price then enjoy.
Journey can be boiled down to “push analog stick forward: the game”, playing co-op is much preferred than playing solo, play time is criminally short, this game has been done before and better both narrative and gameplay-wise.
Journey is indeed a sight to behold, with the lighting effects taking center stage.
Sparse soundtrack only kicks in for the "awe inspiring" moments that pepper the experience.
Push forward on the analog stick, wait for scarf to fill up again so you can jump. Rinse. Repeat.
$14.99 for a "game" that lasts about an hour? No thanks!
|FIND YOUR GEEK RATING
out of 10