Journey PS4: A (not so) Newcomer's Review

Journey originally came out in 2012 and I was that guy who hadn't played the game everyone was talking about. A lot of very bold statements were said. Things like: "This is the best game I've ever played!" or, "You HAVE to play this game." Journey had become the game to play. 

Well, a week ago, I finally had the chance to play it.

I started off my playthrough like everyone else does, clueless, not knowing where I was supposed to go, or what I was supposed to do. ThatGameCompany does a good job of giving players only what they need to know and counting on them to discover for themselves. This is where the magic of Journey lies. 

The entire focus of the game is traveling to a mountain that can be seen throughout the entire game as a seemingly unreachable destination. Like all of the studio's previous games, there is a clear underlying emotional connection that they are wanting the gamer to react to. Maybe I did something wrong, but I don't know if the emotion I had during the game was what they were going for. Loneliness. 

You meet other 'Journey'ers' throughout the game that can help you on your quest, and I would definitely say that I enjoyed the game a lot more when I was playing with somebody. Even if the game itself is easy to beat on your own, there was something special about sharing this experience with another player. I should also preface the fact that I knew the other characters who joined me in the game were actual players, not just AI. 

Unfortunately, I think from the third level and on, I was pretty much alone the rest of the game. That's not necessarily a bad thing, because I was able to explore the vast expanse of the desert and not feel bad for holding someone up. However, I will say that my game experience was severely impacted by the fact that I was yearning to find somebody else to join me on my quest. 

ThatGameCompany should be commended for creating an experience as memorable as the one that I had. I can't say that I was happy with my outcome of the game, but it's amazing that your experience can change with each new play through, which brings me to another topic.

Replayability. While you certainly can replay Journey to try and get the white robes and platinum the game, the magic of the first playthrough is definitely lost. The fun of exploration is slowly lost with each re-play and I started to realize that this immense Journey I was on, wasn't so immense at all. Once I obtained all of the symbols and the white robe, I didn't have much purpose to replay the game unless I was playing solely for the purpose of meeting another friend online. 

Everything I've said so far may make it seem like I didn't enjoy Journey and that couldn't be further from the truth. What this game accomplishes, far outweighs the shortfalls. Did I mention that this game is beautiful? Journey was already beautiful when it originally released on the PS3 and can clearly be seen by all of the awards that it won. The soundtrack for this game alone is something that I continue to go back to time and time again. Now that it's on PS4 and a few extra details have been added here and there, the game is more beautiful than ever. The scene that immediately comes to mind is when you're gliding through the city as the sun sets and there are small shimmers of light reflecting off the individual particles of sand in the distance.

One of the many beautiful scenes in Journey

One of the many beautiful scenes in Journey

All-in-all, Journey is a game that everyone should pick up. At just $14.99 in the Playstation Store, I can't think of a better value for a single game that you can easily get lost in. While it may not change your life like I was expecting, I still really enjoyed it and I'd be remiss if I didn't recommend it to anyone looking for a better understanding of what video games can be.  

Should you buy? Absolutely