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FEATURED VOXPOP oblivion437 Update: I was unfortunately not aware of Shamus Young's severe criticism of Fallout 3 available here to link in the original piece and I regret that.  It dovetails rather nicely with what I've written and it's much better executed than my piece.  I strongly recommend anyone...

Why Journey Is Still The Best Game Of 2012 (So Far)

Posted on Wednesday, July 25 @ 10:00:00 Eastern by

Journey is still my game of the year. It had some challengers, to be sure. Max Payne 3, Dragon's Dogma, and even Ghost Recon: Future Soldier were contenders. Mass Effect 3 has come and gone, and yet I still think more fondly of Journey, though that might not because of the game so much as the "fans".

But why? What makes thatgamecompany so special? What makes the little red-hooded figure so memorable?

Here's why Journey is fantastic, more so than other games released in 2012 so far:


Noisemaker


You can be quite the little chatterbox in Journey. What starts out as a fun, little gimmick quickly turns into an annoyance and then a tool. We'll see more of that later, but right now, think about the way Journey presents itself to the player. There's very little conveyed to you directly throughout the game.

What's more, absolutely nothing is written out for you. Even the initial control instructions use images to teach the player. Still, Journey speaks volumes through its themes and the way players interact with the world. In effect, giving the player only one means of communication and having it be a curt, musical whistle encourage the player to speak with actions rather than words, much like the narrative itself.


Environmental


I'm reminded of Batman: Arkham City when I take in Journey's environmentsnot in the style but the way they invite you in for closer inspection. My natural inclination as a player is to GOGOGOGO, but Journy makes me want to investigate every nook and cranny.

In Journey, my curiosity leads me into the building, if only to explore the space and see what the view is like. In the clip above you can see that I could certainly dive right in, but what if there's something in there? I have to find out!


Momentary

Journey's moment-to-moment gameplay is seamless. The collectibles are rewarding in the gameplay, so they have an impact on your world outside of a statistic. The story doesn't interrupt the action for long and plays out in between jumping puzzles as a reward for your mini-accomplishment.

That might sound silly to some. You don't need to be rewarded every step of the way. But it's this methodology that has made games like Call of Duty such a success and Journey certainly implements the idea less obviously than other games before it.

Next page: music, multiplayer, more.

Related Games:   Journey
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