A Journey into the Unknown: My Experience of the Award Winning Title

journey blog post

When my friend and colleague “The Arab Gamer” recommended reviewing Journey for our first video commentary, I have to say that I had my doubts. Journey was by all reports a critical acclaim, it was so heavily reviewed, it made me feel that some of the reviewers where compelled to review it, despite it not being up their alley or anywhere close to what they would normally review. With a game that popular it would be a daunting task to start off your first review by slagging the game practically everyone cheered as a masterpiece. If you added to that equation the fact that the game couldn’t be more than a couple of hours long, I suspected that there would be little or no room for interpretation… But that also left a little excitement, and I did really want to review that game… just not as the first. Well, life has a funny way of telling you to quit being a bitch… One thing led to another and the game we as a group where supposed to review first gave us some technical difficulties so we decided to approach it at a later stage and look at Journey instead (Much to my unbearable disappointment at the time and “The Arab Gamer’s” overflowing excitement). Well the following will be a recounting of my first experience of the game and my opinion on it.

The first few minutes where agonizingly slow as the game started… I repeat I had my doubts and at the time no amount of fancy sand effects seemed to have a hope in hell of changing my mind. Well the game starts and the character is found sitting on a sand dune. The mountain with the shining peak seems to beckon to the player to journey in that direction, I did not even bother testing for invisible walls, it had captured my attention like a powerful light beckoning to a moth… me and the guys get started playing and manage to get the first ‘ribbon’ or tag that attaches to our cloak allowing us to fly. The first thing I realize is that my doubts had vanished as the character sand skis down the dunes to the first set of ruins allowing for the level select (Given you have completed the game once before, which “The Arab Gamer” has). The game then shows you its first set of images detailing the back-story of Journey which over the progress of the story explain how everything from the very setting of the game (the dunes, runes, and mountain) to the character itself got to this very point when we start the game. Mind you, it does not show everything from the very start and instead shows you a piece of the back-story after every completed level. As the game’s story unfolds I found that while it left a considerable amount of room for my imagination to interpret things there was undeniably a plot that was present; A simple plot, but a plot non-the-less, contrary to what I heard from quiet a few others online when I checked about it at first. There was an exposition where the character was in a sense introduced in the briefest of ways with a clear motive of travelling to the mountain… When I say clear I refer to the moth-to-light effect I mentioned earlier. There was also a rising action as the genesis of the ancient machines is revealed and the danger they pose on the characters and their ribbons. The Climax would then be presented as the point at which the back-story reveals that the character is practically a reincarnation of one of the dead during the war and that your Journey will take you through your race’s ancient history to learn from so that it does not repeat itself. The falling action is simply the snow storm level as you reach the final stages of your journey and is one of the most difficult for the character as you face both the ancient machines and the freezing cold that can sap the energy out of your ribbons. The resolution is the character’s narrow escape from the verge of freezing death and arrival to the source of the power stored within the ribbons, the mountains peak where the light shines eternal.

Despite all that there was a fair room for the interpretation of the symbolism in the game, ranging from some of our channel guests’ view on the Journey being a road to enlightenment so to speak all the way to suggestions on feminine symbolism with the mountain being referred to as looking very much like female genitalia, and if my memory serves me right to quote this “it looks like an upside down vagina” this by one of my friends by the way! Another of my friends even went as far as suggest that in that case, the character is a sperm travelling to “mount camel-toe” that being more apparent near the end when the character turns all white. Now I don’t need to point out the glaring inconsistencies I see with the theory on “mount camel-toe” but that’s the thing… there was as I repeat a fair room for interpretation of what the game was trying to present, and perhaps it was not trying to present to anything more than that and imposed the abstract feel to accentuate the mood of the game. That is not for me to decide, as I am by no means a literary critic… Instead I would just like to share my mind with others and have them share theirs with me.

So what did I think about Journey by the time the game ended? Artistic, abstract, beautiful, fun (especially the sand-skiing) but very slow paced and had very nearly put me to sleep at one point (admittedly I was ill that night). Do I think this game deserves to be bought? If you have a shred of imagination in you then GOD YES!!! The game I find is well worth its price, it breaks my heart to know that it would not be available for me to purchase on steam or Xbox live where I would have access to it (I do not have a PS3 unfortunately) and this game has made me regret it more than any other before which is strange given its simplicity. I have to note however that for players who require games that pump more and more adrenaline through them may find this game under engaging however and not for them. And with that I end my very first article, so let me know how you liked it and feel free to share your own opinion!

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