Following my previous review of Dear Esther, I continue to recklessly invest money into artsy, abstract games in hopes of having my socks knocked off in amazement. I'm starting to realize I should stop doing this and accept that these games aren't for me.
Journey: A rad 2 the maxx sandboarding adventure!
Ever since I played Shadow of the Colossus, I've yearned for another game like it. A game with a unique art style, unconventional gameplay, and a gripping narrative. Journey intended to feature all of these elements but after finishing the game in about 2 hours, I can't say I'm left with the same sense of amazement.
Journey is the tale of a little red caped crusader on some sort of rite of passage, trekking through ancient ruins across sand and snow, with a purpose of player interpretation. Interpretation, my least favorite story telling device. The focal point of this journey is supposed to be the visuals and my review is supposed to be presented in a similar fashion: poetically. After being stunned by the purdy culurs and moving cellos, I was supposed to write a review where I basked in my own artistic and journalistic glory, dropping descriptions like "sun kissed dunes" and "mountains blanketed in snow like a polar bear cub awaking from a twilight slumber." You know, one of those IGN-esque reviews.
The truth is, I was not all that impressed by any of the games set pieces. I found the developer's previous game, Flower, to be much more visually striking. And after playing through Uncharted 3, it's going to take a lot to impress me with a desert landscape. The music was about the only element that stuck out.
But it wasn't all dismissive meh's. A few sequences are enjoyable, in particular a scene where you slide down dunes and through ruins, making sweet jumps surrounded by these little flying scarf things.
The biggest surprise came from a little ghostly apparition in the distance of the first area, running away from me and leading me to the next objective. It occasionally sang a note to grab my attention and I figured it was the specter of one of my character's ancestors, unlocking puzzles to the past. It wasn't until towards the end of the game when it started singing the old shave and a haircut to me like some incarcerated inmate looking for a butt buddy that I realized it was another player being a dick and leaving me behind. I had no idea the game had multiplayer since it gives you no message when another player joins and you have no idea who they are until the end credits roll, when it lists all the other adventurers you met. It's a pretty cool and unique take on coop.
The bottom line is this game costs $15 right now and provides around 2-4 hours of entertainment. That's the same cash-enjoyment ratio as a movie which is unacceptable. I personally have no desire to go back and play it again and the only reason any one would is for trophies. Like Dear Esther, I admire thatgamecompany's abstract approach to game making and I'm glad there's room for these games on the market but $5 would've been a less regrettable price.