We have the burdern of words, and the ability to use them.
Never before have I felt so weighed down with the responsibility of a review. In this moment, I feel conflicted. How could I possibly impart upon you the impact Journey has had on me, not just as a critic, but as someone who has grown up with video games and seen them in so many differnet ways?
Journey, a downloadable PS3 game by thatgamecompany, developers of Flower and fl0w, manages to remain absolutely silent, and yet speaks directly to the player like no other. I suppose if I had to draw comparisons, you could say that Journey's presentation is quite a bit like Limbo's.
Except that it's not. It's not like Limbo at all. Yes, the player is dropped into the game's world and given little to no indication as to what's going on or where they should head next.
And that's the way I like it. If a developer can pull it off, letting players discover things for themselves will always be better than spelling it all out. "Press Y to do this" or "follow the compass at the top of the screen" will always be stupid, and Journey will always be fantastic.
Still, continuing this critique of thatgamecompany's work remains difficult. Journey is the best game I've played this year, but I don't want to ruin the experience for anyone. Part of that experience is discovering it for yourself.
You'll go places... you'll... uhhh, meet... Dammit! I honestly can't say anymore without taking something away from your first playthrough of Journey.
I say "first playthrough" for a reason. You'll likely finish the game again. Journey only lasts about 2 hours, which can seem dimuinitive for a $15 downloadable game. I normally base my game-buying decision on dollars per hour.
I've made thriftier decisions when it comes to gaming. Team Fortress 2 has only cost me $0.07 an hour, but I'm spending my own money gifting Journey to a friend since my download of Journey came courtesy of Sony.
So what else do I say? You'd pay more at the movie theater for an experience like Journey. You'd pay even more for a Blu-ray you can watch over and over at home on your PS3. As a development studio, thatgamecompany has transcended the typically meaningless bullshit gamers consume on a day-to-day basis. They've created a piece of moving, living, breathing artwork, that tells a story, and deeply involves players in its pages.
I haven't been more captivated by a video gaming in years. There were moments in Journey that I stopped pushing the directional stick because I was too busy taking in my character's surroundings. Should you play Journey?
Yes. You should play Journey. Right now.