- + Beautiful vistas
- + Emotionally compelling
- + Accessible to anyone, regardless of their gaming background
- - A touch short
Want to look beyond the score? Check out the full written review below…
*Journey was provided to Start Replay on PS4 by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
It’s rare to come across a game that manages to break new ground and enter a realm beyond your typical bullet-ridden romps. But Thatgamecompany successfully offer something off the beaten path, a truly heartfelt experience, if you will.
Having peaked the interest of gamers with Flow (you control an aquatic microorganism) and ambling through to develop Flower (living life as a petal), their latest game Journey presents yet another escape from the norm, letting you embark on a beautifully crafted and emotional, game-changing experience. Its initial release was back in 2012 on the PS3 and was received with critical acclaim, but this PlayStation 4 re-release brings a graphical refresh, and allows its beauty to shine brighter than ever before.
It’s hard to explain exactly what Journey is, other than a slow-burn of discovery that will be played and experienced differently by everyone. You arrive in a sun-scorched desert, with a beacon-like mountain far ahead in the distance. As a stranger to these lands you take control of a delicate character, moving gracefully through the sand with an elegant scarf wrapped around its neck.
In terms of objectives there aren’t really any to speak of, other than giving you visual hints as to where you need to go and tasking you with getting there. It’s not open-world, but its surroundings seem incredibly vast, however, you’re always gently reminded where to go.
Your experience with Journey will entirely depend on your ability to soak in its simplistic nature, opening up your mind and creating your own story. Amidst the ongoing stretches of sand lie ancient ruins and artefacts, which will only further your curiosity as to why they exist and what happened. This is a silent path and you’re the narrator.
Should you be looking for an epic adventure, full to the brim with hours of content, you won’t find it here. What Thatgamecompany present is something that can be blitzed through in a couple of hours or savoured through many weeks or months, hopefully allowing you to establish a personal connection and becoming enveloped within its world. At least, that’s what happened with me. I felt as though I was part of the journey ahead, faced with breathtaking scenery and resulting in serene, emotional moments and thinking about the happiness in my life. It’s bizarre to think a game can be capable of such stuff, but it can be.
The PlayStation 4 version looks stunning compared to its original release, complete with 1080p graphics and cleaned up, sparkling visuals. If you’ve already got Journey on PlayStation 3, I suggest you look back and think about whether you’d appreciate jumping back into an even more beautiful adventure. If you’ve read this review as a newcomer and I’ve peaked your interest, buy it. You won’t regret it.
Journey from Thatgamecompany is digital-only and can be found through the PlayStation Network.