If you have yet to play Journey, the smash-hit PSN title by thatgamecompany (yes, that is their name), then you are bad and you should feel bad. Don’t have $15 to spend on the game? Fuck you, steal some from your grandma. Don’t have a PS3? You probably know someone who does, and you can easily beat the game in one sitting, so just… go to their house/break in and borrow their system for 2 hours. I don’t even care if your friend is busy necking with their significant other while watching Talladega Nights on Blu-Ray. Eject the disc and smash it. Smash it in the name of art. In the name of emotional gameplay experiences.
thatgamecompany is very much an artsy developer. The first game they have listed on their website is Cloud, which is like if one of their later games, flower, met Katamari Damacy. You play as a hospitalized child who dreams of flying around in the clouds, in which you can absorb clouds into you and then release them in patterns. They followed that up with flOw, which I can only describe as a “microscopic life simulator”. flower was the next game, which has you controlling the wind and going around collecting petals from flowers all over the map. That game had some very emotional moments, believe it or not, which set the precursor for Journey.
Journey is not a long game. It can clock in anywhere from 2 to 4 hours depending on how much you want to explore/how stupid you are. And for $15, that’s asking a lot. However, I can personally say that no game has quite rocked me as hard as Journey has. The fact that you can beat it in a single sitting actually helps the game out, as it allows you to fully take in the entire scope of the game. In many ways, it’s like a film, whereas most games are hours long and can warrant pausing and saving and coming-back-to-later, which breaks up the experience. Journey allows you to get the whole experience in one session.
Journey is a beauty to look at, and the intimacy of its multiplayer might just restore your faith in online gamers, as the first time I played, (and many times after, it’s that kind of game), my companion would often help me out with puzzles (which aren’t that hard, but still), or wait up for me if I was lagging behind… and I was sure to do the same for those companions I traveled with that seemed new to the game.
No doubt you might have already heard about the Journey Collector’s Edition, which puts this extremely powerful experience on disc, for the price of $30. Before you scoff at the doubled asking price, know that the disc also includes flOw and flower, which are both excellent experiences, as well as a ton of trailers, dev diaries, a documentary, all of the soundtracks for all of the games, and 3 exclusive mini-games made by thatgamecompany during 24-hour game-developing jams, which were previously unplayable unless you… y’know, actually went to thatgamecompany’s offices. Oh, and it comes with 1 free month of PlayStation Plus, so there’s that.
If you own a PS3, you absolutely must play Journey. It’s an emotional, powerful experience unlike anything else and it’s still my personal front-runner for Game of the Year 2012. Even if you don’t own Sony’s system, you should still try to play the game. But thankfully, if you missed out on it back in February, this new Collector’s Edish is the perfect reason to play it, especially if you have yet to play flOw or flower. Because seriously, if you haven’t played the breathtaking masterpiece that is Journey, I repeat: you are bad and you should feel bad.
The Journey Collector’s Edition drops in North America on August 28th, for $30. For some reason, it’s not coming to Europe. Sorry, guys.