Monday, January 07, 2013

Journey: completed!

Journey is the other half of the artistic game bundle I bought on PSN at the end of last year.  With The Unfinished Swan completed, I've spent a bit of time on this during the past week.

It's amazing.  You enter the game controlling an armless figure who can sing, and soon you learn to jump.  The game guides you across the sand dunes, with no instructions other than a clear visual symbol of the mountain in the distance.  You reach stones, you find a door, you learn how to jump further.

You stop reading now if you want to play it yourself.

The wonder of the game is how it makes you feel alone, and then someone else joins.  You don't know who, you only see them and they can 'sing' to you - a single noise which isn't direct communication but which can express so much.  Singing also recharges your jump energy, so progressing through the game with someone else can be a lot easier - but there's no way of telling them where you want to go.  You have to follow each other and hope that they can help you reach the glyphs and stones.

On my first run through, I had a number of companions jumping in and out of my game; I think I was going rather slowly so they were growing tired of waiting for me inspecting every nook and cranny.  By the time I got to the last couple of levels though, there was a clear sense of urgency about the game, and I stuck by the same companion through the temple and the snow.

The snow was incredible.  Battling to the summit, the characters getting covered in ice, losing energy constantly.  I was staying as close as I could get to my companion so we could recharge each other as we crawled towards the top, passing the markers.  It was only once we were half way, with energy no longer recharging, and movement slowing, that I realised that these weren't just random markers; these were where previous adventurers had reached and perished.  My companion and I managed to get past most of them, but eventually they fell and I wasn't long afterwards.  I've never felt so much of a bond with a random person whose name I don't know.

And then a rebirth, with power to fly around the summit, and walking into the white light.  I started a new game straight after the credits, and found a companion who was exploring much as I had done - so I showed him where I'd founds stones, and he reciprocated.  We journeyed through three levels before I left.

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