“Life fails to be perfect, but never fails to be beautiful.” – Unknown
Life is a journey. In this crazy mess of unfulfilled chances, bumper to bumper traffic, important business meetings, late nights, awkward first kisses, internet overload and noise lies a beauty. A beauty that encompasses the joy of life. A joy of knowing that you do not have to go through life alone. So many of us face life head on and in a lone group of one. Life is not about problems to solve but is a reality to experience. And to experience it with someone else. To share your reality with someone can be a joy that nothing else can surpass. A tough thing to do is to convey this idea to the world. It will take more than just a few deep quotes.
Journey is a game that I think does this to near perfection. It takes the essence of our reality and presents it in a way where we can see it from the outside looking in. It takes all the noise and creates a symphony.
I was first exposed to Journey back in 2012 on the PlayStation 3. I had heard it was a different game and that I should expect something unique. I went in with the expectations that I would play something a bit out of the norm. I was completely blown away. My experience was so immersive that I played through the whole thing in one sitting. The game is relatively short, however I explored every corner I could to discover what this game had to offer. It ended up taking me about two and half hours to finish it. Throughout the game I experienced a rollercoaster of emotions that ranged from happiness to anxious and fearful. Whether I was flying high or trudging through the freezing snow, the emotions came right along with the gameplay. It was one of the most outstanding gaming experiences I have ever been a part of. When I saw that I could relive the experience on my PS4, I wasted no time.
The one error I had figured out that I had done on my first play through was that I had gone through the game by myself. So with getting the game on my PS4 I was determined to play through it with another person. And the experience was just as magical.
When you begin your journey you find yourself in a desert full of luscious, bright brown sand. After some initial control tutorials you are then left to find your way. You are a hooded figure cloaked in mystery and full of anxiety to start your long road ahead. Back deep in the distance you see a mountain peak illuminating a bright light from the center. That is end. The closing to your journey lies atop that mountain peak. So you begin.
At a certain point in your adventure you will be given the ability to fly. The duration of your flight time is measured by the length of your scarf. You can extend your scarf by coming into contact with yellow orbs that are scattered about in the world. You will need to utilize your ability to fly to maneuver your way through the world and to reach certain places to continue on. Between certain stages of the game you are revealed to a narrative that shows your progress so far and what is to come. The end goal is to reach that peak. To get to the top. To end the journey. But this is not what makes Journey great. What makes journey great is the adventure in between the start and finish.
What makes Journey the masterpiece that it is, is the experience you share with another person. Playing through the game and experiencing the ups and downs with someone else is what life is all about. You rely on each other to get through the tough times and to celebrate with each other in the good times. The game does a phenomenal job at bringing those feelings to life. Towards the end of the game you encounter some horrible blizzard like weather. Through all the gusting winds and knee deep snow you must make your way to the top and overcome the bad weather. While trying to accomplish this your scarf can drastically deplete, limiting your ability to fly or communicate with your partner. The closer you are to your companion the warmer you stay and keep your scarf lit up. This can also be true in our reality. Sometimes life can knock you down and keep you down. But just having that one person to lean on and to break your fall prevents you from giving up on life. Having that one person to help you push through the darkness and come out on the other side. It’s all about working with your companion to overcome the obstacles that are thrown at you in life.
The soundtrack that accompanies this title is a masterpiece. The music only adds to the emotions you feel while playing. Some moments display a beautiful backdrop which would captivate you by itself but when you hear the music that sits alongside the scenery it brings the whole experience together.
Playing through this game again and with someone else was such a fun and exciting experience. It paints a picture of life and how we can see life unfold and turn out. It bundles happiness, fear, anxiety, partnership and beauty and puts it through a medium for us to see and feel first hand. It creates something new. Something unique. An experience past all of the noise. A journey for all.
Jon Moore is the General Manager at The Game Bolt, and loves a good Oreo cookie. For more useless knowledge and nerdy shenanigans follow him on Twitter.