Monday Gaming Diary: Went on a Journey

Journey

I bought Journeyaround the same month it released, which was in March, and well, I was too busy playing lots of Mass Effect 3 at that time. And then I got distracted with several other things, which brings me to now, where I finally decided to give this game a go. I lovedFlower, so I expected to love Journey just as much.

I was right.

First of all, it’s ridiculous that I just now sat down to play this game. With some exploration–not nearly as much as I could have done–I finished the game in about 2 hours. Not sure how I couldn’t have found 2 hours back then to squeeze this game in, but I didn’t, and I’m so glad I made time for it now. I completely understand the appreciation for the game now, and I can confidently say that it deserves the Game of the Year nominations it has gotten. It’s still not my personal GOTY, but it’s in the top 3.

Like Flower, the game isn’t complex and doesn’t have this huge over-arching story to tell, not to mention that there is zero dialogue, but careening my little scarfed character down dunes of sand greatly moved me. On top of that, the wonderful string symphony that accompanies everything you do and the telling of the backstory via cave drawings only enhanced the feelings.

I was worried that I wouldn’t meet any other players in the game since I’m playing it so late, and I’ve heard how their presence really deepens the experience. I ran into a few people, but only one person stayed with me for a long time. We stayed together for about 2-3 levels, and we helped one another find glyphs, symbols, and get through some of the puzzles. We also were big on helping one another keep the powers in our scarves so we could fly, and even though we never spoke to one another, I felt this little connection with him/her. I lost him/her in the temple level, and I became incredibly sad. I waited and waited for my partner to figure out the soaring puzzle and join me, but he/she either got distracted exploring or I zoomed too far ahead for him/her to catch up. When I realized I had to go on, I did so with a heavy heart. I really, really missed my partner in that last level, and I never found anyone else during that harrowing part of the journey.

I’m not sure if I’ll play again or not, even though some of the Trophies do look tempting. It was an amazing experience, and I’m afraid that playing it again will remove some of that amazement and wonder. It’s one reason why I haven’t returned toFlowerat all, even though I really want to redo some of those levels I messed up.

Long story short, if you haven’t played Journey, do yourself a favor and take 2 hours out of your day to give it a go. Unless you’re like my dear friend MattG at Press the Buttons, it will move you as much as it has done to the countless others who have nominated it for a GOTY award.

After I wrap up my guide reviews for 2012, I do believe Unfinished Swanwill be next, followed by Batman: Arkham Aslym, as I’ve been told by countless others that one needs to leave my stack of shame as soon as humanly possible. Think I can get all 3 of these guide reviews done by the end of the year? Here’s hoping!

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