Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Great Gaming Moments: Journey


Today I was cruising around the shops and saw some games on sale.  One of them was Journey Collector’s edition, which comes with a bunch of stuff as well as ‘Flower’ and ‘flow.’  I had already bought  Flower a while ago and found it a fascinating experience and knew that reviews of Journey were pretty good.
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Crappy phone pictures inc.

Since I chase a different game experience, I decided to buy it for Journey.  Flow is a bonus.  When I got home, I booted up the PS3, played something on the hard drive to warm it up.  It seems to not read Blurays until it’s been on for a while.  Shame on you Sony.  My PS3 is only 4 years old and the bluray laser is a bit buggered.  My Sega Saturn on the other hand is 18 years old and works like the day I bought it…

Back on topic.

While playing, I think I got to the second level and there was another little fellow running around the place.  At first I thought that it was an NPC there just to help guide me along, I knew that the game was designed to have a bit of multiplayer and wasn’t too sure whether it was a real person or not.  It would make sense to have an NPC there though, just to guide you to things and let you know, exploration is one of the aspects of the game.

Turns out it was a real person.  With your limited communication abilities, which is essentially a ‘ping’ you go along helping each other through the level.  I came to the conclusion that my helper was another person, as they kept leading me to power-ups that would help my flying ability.  Curious.

Then the feelings that came with that realisation, I kept playing, I originally had no intention of playing for so long, but the thought of abandoning my companion was a tad distasteful.  Hell, I felt bad when I paused it to go boil the kettle and make a cup of tea…

Anyway, long story short, this other guy and I went along and he led me through the levels, it was strangely fun.  Occasionally his character would trip over in the sand, I’d hang around, ping him some help.  It was strangely fun.  No proper communication.  And yet we worked well. And Strangely fun.

We ended up finishing the game in that sitting.  The end, looked a bit bleak, but at a moment, you come good again.  My first thought was, “Where’s the other guy?  I hope he’s ok!”  Yup, he was fine.  We knocked off the final level and got to the obviously final point, and drew some thanks in the snow.  Then walked to the final gate together.

Game finished.  Now, it may sound a little bit drab as I describe it now, but I have to tell you, it was a rather moving moment.  Watching the credits, I sat through all of them thinking about the whole game.  It was truly something special! 

Amazing.

I haven’t had a game have such a profound effect since I finished Shadow of the Colossus. 
It’s interesting, as I think back on it, I suspect I wouldn’t have stuck with it so long in one go (because it might have been a bit samey) without meeting the other player.

At the end, it informs you of the the other players that you met on your journey through Journey.  I had such an enjoyable time, I felt compelled to send a little thankyou message to the other player.   Turns  out so did he.  I ended up playing through the game with a guy from Japan!

So the Great Gaming Moment of Journey is the Multiplayer.  Well implemented and it made the game!

I highly recommend this game, it is an amazing experience and despite it’s simple premise is pretty cool and very well done.  The graphics are pretty good and I was impressed that they managed to make various types of desert look so good.  Give it a crack!  Trailer embedded below for good measure.

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