From the makers of Flower comes Journey

demonbox wrote:
carrotpanic wrote:
It was a good and pretty looking game. I had a couple of nice moments of cooperation with the other player, but I'm sad to say I didn't find the game transcendent, heartbreaking, or have a religious epiphany like Rabbit et al. One of the people I played with was BarryWhite3000. I like that. I'm glad I played it.

I echo this. I would say I really enjoyed the experience, but yeah I echo this.

I'll also throw my hat in with that sentiment. I did think it was rather touching and it's one of the few games that delivers a narrative experience that you simply couldn't deliver through any other medium. It is incredibly smart and affecting and everyone should experience it but I didn't have any transcendent epiphany.

Spoiler:

To be frank I thought the ending sequence, looping you back to the start, was rather twee and trite and wholly unnecessary. It quite diminished the whole process for me, both removing any sense of mystery and rendering irrelevant everything you've worked through or felt.

Hmm... we have to get to the bottom of this. We don't we take a test?

Spoiler:
You're in a desert, walking along in the sand, when all of a sudden you look down and see a tortoise. It's crawling toward you. You reach down and you flip the tortoise over on its back. The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun, beating its legs trying to turn itself over, but it can't. Not without your help. But you're not helping. Why is that? Why are you not helping?

Tannhauser wrote:
Hmm... we have to get to the bottom of this. We don't we take a test?

In wake of Remake Fever, I wrote my own not-quite remake of Blade Runner as an ongoing series for the hell of it ("It's CSI meets Battlestar!" went the pitch in my head), so I have an answer:

Spoiler:
"I guess…if it can’t turn itself over, it’s not supposed to." Of course, the real point is to see if there's any emotional dissonance.

Spoiler:
What do you mean I'm not helping? DOES NOT COMPUTE MUST EXTERMINATE
EX
TERM
IN
ATE

I just finished my first run of Journey moments ago. I have to say it is without a doubt the best game I've played this year. Gorgeous and it moved me much more than I expected. I'm not easily moved by much of anything, especially in games but this had me red-faced with a knot in my stomach at the end. I didn't have a co-op partner the whole way through but the last one I met was really into things and was very helpful and "communicative" if you can call it that. I'm amazed what a connection you feel to the other players when you can't speak to them or even know their name.

Spoiler:
When we both ended up getting hit by the creatures in the mountainous area, the other would run over after and chirp, almost offering support in a way. And when the Journey is nearing the end and you're both struggling not to freeze near the summit, I was actually leaning forward and pushing so hard on the analog stick that my thumb hurt. When we got to the end and were walking into the light, we both chirped at each other as the screen whitened out.

Few games affect me on the level this one did, one of the only other ones that has is The Longest Journey (aptly named as it turns out) which is my favourite game of all time. I can understand if this didn't grip some people as it did me but I was blown away. After my girlfriend and I get back from our vacation, I'll be doing another run of it. Absolutely amazing and a very creatively ballsy move for Sony to put this out. I'm thrilled it's selling so well.

So I finished this last night, in two sittings. Also really enjoyed it. I had mixed feelings about the multiplayer, though - I thought it worked wonderfully at the end, but got a bit frustrated at the beginning:

Spoiler:
Early on in the game, in the more open areas, I really wanted to explore and manipulate the world on my own and at my own pace. The coop person they put in with me, though, was clearly on a second or third playthrough and was just blitzing through the environment. I felt like he was kind of doing my journey for me, and I was just following, and not able to go at my own pace. Later on, as the levels became less open and more fraught with danger, the coop relaly shined, and we were better able to help each other. I love the mechanic where you're able to charge each other's jumps by being next to each other.

Re: The power-ups

Spoiler:
As far as I could tell, the only purpose they served was as "charge" for your jumping/flying, right? I also lost a bunch when i got hit once by the monsters, but never lost them all. Does anything happen if you get hit with no scarf-pieces left? Do you get a bonus for going through the game while collecting all scarf pieces, and not getting hit?

Now that I've played through it once, I definitely want to go back and take my time exploring and finding the powerups without being pressured by another player. The first time through I got over this OCD pretty easily, realizing that it was about the journey and not the collectibles, but I think it would be interesting to find them.

One final thought re: the ending

Spoiler:
My take on the whole "restarting at the beginning" element was that now that you've ascended, it's your job to guide others to the end. I really got this vibe from having a really good companion at the end who was showing me power-ups, waiting for me, taking care of me, etc - it was clear he had played through it before. So it's less that you're cursed to repeat the same journey over and over, but instead you're helping others transcend. I think this is backed up by the fact that you eventually get a white robe, and your spirit guide in the cutscenes is also wearing one. It's a nice thought, I think.

Spoiler:
I kind of had that experience in the open areas too but the key thing is to just play the way you want to. If the other player doesn't, either they or you will eventually run off and when you get far enough away from each other, you're disconnected. I had this happen in the area where you re-build the bridge and I just let the guy take off when he was going too fast.

Spoiler:
As for the scarf, I lost all mine and got hit again and nothing happens. You can't die in the game and having more jump charge just makes parts of the levels easier but it never makes it impossible to progress. There is a trophy for collecting all the glowing symbols but I don't think you have to have them all simultaneously, you just have to find them once.

Spoiler:
I got a similar vibe from the ending. It felt like the Journey was you trying to go through a purgatory of sorts to transcend to some higher purpose and that like you said, after you completed it, you were trying to help others transcend as well. That it took me back to the menu didn't upset or offend me at all, it felt like I'd finally "arrived".

Glad you got a similar vibe, PA.

One last thought that's been sticking with me:

Spoiler:
During the last, brutal climb up the snowy mountain right before you fall over (only to be revived), I could swear that the mountain in the distance was getting further and further away - much further than at the beginning of the snow level. I got a very visceral sense of the futility of my efforts when seeing that far-away mountain, when I felt I should really be so close. My gut feeling was that I'd get to the top of the hill, the snow would subside and...I'd be back at the desert from the first level. Pretty happy my character got to transcend before that happened :)

Dysplastic wrote:
Glad you got a similar vibe, PA.

One last thought that's been sticking with me:

Spoiler:
During the last, brutal climb up the snowy mountain right before you fall over (only to be revived), I could swear that the mountain in the distance was getting further and further away - much further than at the beginning of the snow level. I got a very visceral sense of the futility of my efforts when seeing that far-away mountain, when I felt I should really be so close. My gut feeling was that I'd get to the top of the hill, the snow would subside and...I'd be back at the desert from the first level. Pretty happy my character got to transcend before that happened :)

Spoiler:

The interesting thing is that had the game ended when I fell over unconscious in the snow, I would have been perfectly satisfied with the ending. I enjoyed the transcending as the feeling it gave you was pretty amazing, but I didn't find it necessary. My journey was exciting, scary, joyous, hopeful, lonely at times and inspired at others. Once I succumbed to the cold, though, it was complete.

Dreaded Gazebo wrote:
Spoiler:

The interesting thing is that had the game ended when I fell over unconscious in the snow, I would have been perfectly satisfied with the ending. I enjoyed the transcending as the feeling it gave you was pretty amazing, but I didn't find it necessary. My journey was exciting, scary, joyous, hopeful, lonely at times and inspired at others. Once I succumbed to the cold, though, it was complete.

I felt the same way.

Spoiler:
However, the last piece of music and visuals was a pretty fun way to cap everything off and helps with the "going full circle" idea.

I've just played Journey. Too hyped up on caffeine now and about to crash to talk about it, but it affected me enough I felt like I had to tell somebody.

My interpretation of the story after the second playthrough:

Spoiler:
The mountain gave all life to the world through the stars, from animals to trees to the humanoid race. The humanoid race, or white cloth's, discovered that they could harness the life source power of the red cloth sentient beings. With the power of the red cloth, the humanoids prospered but then they got too greedy. The greed got so bad that the white cloth's began to enslaves and imprison the red cloth creatures who helped to give them so much. Eventually the greed lead to a destroyed world with little to no resources which lead to a war amongst themselves. The white cloth's created the stone dragons to help wage this war but the war and stone dragons lead to the end of their civilizations.

A sort of offspring of the white cloth is created which ironically is cut from the red cloth. These new beings are sent on a journey where they learn of their ancestors past including their greed, conflict and demise. Along the journey, they hope to correct these wrongs by not only working together in harmony but also by freeing the red cloth creatures and bringing life back into the ravaged world.

That's...close to my interpretation. But I'm not sure I want to put my interpretation into words just yet.

Spoiler:
I will say that the game deliberately invokes the Hero's Journey, and not in the hackneyed way you usually encounter it. It's a ritualistic story of death and rebirth. The journey is a pilgrimage, an atonement, and an apotheosis.

So I don't have a PS3 and im not going to buy one just for this game. I really want to play it but I dont see that happening. Exclusives make me angry.

Anyway, is it worth watching a play through of this game? Will I come close to getting the same experience? It sounds to me like it mostly about the visual environment than the gameplay.

I'd say no, it's not worth it. Buy a PS3 when they're $100.

I don't think watching the game would have nearly the same impact. The gameplay is simple but important to the experience, particularly with the bonds you build in multiplayer.

TempestBlayze wrote:
So I don't have a PS3 and im not going to buy one just for this game. I really want to play it but I dont see that happening. Exclusives make me angry.

Anyway, is it worth watching a play through of this game? Will I come close to getting the same experience? It sounds to me like it mostly about the visual environment than the gameplay.

I have a solution. Buy a PS3, Journey, the Uncharted series and Yakuza 3 and 4. And the several other awesome PSN exclusives. You're welcome.

FINALLY played through Journey last night with my wife, and had fun reading through this thread.

The only other gaming experience I can relate this to are the aforementioned Ico and SotC. The vastness of the world, coupled with the feeling of loneliness, even when traveling with others, was unmistakable. It feels cliche to reference them, but no other games have had the same emotional resonance before or since.

I liked Flower, but thought it was so dumb. Chen and his team's (or maybe just Chen's) thoughts about the industrialization of the world were so heavy-handed in Flower that it hurt. I suffer from deep cynicism, so I know when to just shut that off and enjoy something, and Flower was fun to play, and I AGREE with him about the messages he conveys in Flower, just that, well, it was a bit on-the-nose.

I thought Journey improved upon Flower in every way. The story was still a little heavy-handed, but had a better sense of how to tell it. Being able to just use the controller (joypads rather than tilt) felt great. When the game took over the camera it was subtle and tasteful (or just plain spectacular:

Spoiler:
the side-scrolling sun moment!!)

In Flower they'd take over the camera, zoom in on your "objective" then zoom back to you. When you completed that "objective" the camera would zoom over to your next "objective". It seemed at odds with a play mechanic that would have been so much better to just discover the next thing to do, since flying around as petals was relaxing and fun on its own.

When I discovered something in Journey, the camera would ever so slightly shift to display a bit of movement or ruins in the distance. If you weren't looking for it, you might not notice the game was guiding you. Felt tasteful.

I loved discovering how to use the jump, and how to charge it, and didn't feel like the controller appearing on the screen was intrusive.

Spoiler:
I had a total of 8 players throughout my experience. They were all great.

I had wondered at the end whether maybe some of them were AI, because right after my solo epic final flight (WOW!), I made a graceful, slow landing understanding that this was probably the end, and suddenly a player appeared behind me. We chirped playfully at each other, then started the long walk into the light. As the corridor narrowed, we walked single file, but as the figures moved into the distance, they separated again into two fuzzy shadows.

And I thought to myself, there's no way that that person just happened to have been at that exact spot with me, because it ended up being a really powerful moment. But then I read a post above explaining that they were with a player for most of the game UNTIL the end, and made the walk alone.

My theory is that the developers chose key, emotional spots to allow other players to appear. Implementing that kind of seamless SP/MP experience with an artistic touch... amazing.

Even though it was a hugely enjoyable experience, I wonder if it would've been better solo, and not sharing the controls with someone in the same room. Because I was constantly communicating with my wife in person, the connections I could have made the online players felt more distant. My wife and I were able to make our own objectives, rather than sharing it with whomever popped up in our game. Just a thought for those who haven't made the Journey yet.

We ran into a game-restarting bug, though:

Spoiler:
At the end of one of the early chapters, when you first unlock the small flying carpets. As we rode off, my character made a weird hop, and we continued flying. Eventually the carpet dove into the sand and my character got buried in the sand and we couldn't do anything (pause, jump, chime, anything). We eventually restarted and had to do the entire level over.

That bug then ended up kind of ruining a potentially impactful moment:

Spoiler:
As our traveler was slowing down on the windy climb before passing out near the end of the game, my wife was controlling, and was getting really frustrated. She was worried that the game was breaking again. So the quietness of that moment was underscored by her frustration. Bummer!

But that's just a small criticism for such an amazing experience. So fun. Can't wait to be back in the world, helping other first-Journeyers. Sorry for the long post!

The Top Score with Austin Wintory is full of fascinating tidbits about the score. I highly recommend it if you have any interest in the score.

Finally took the time to play this, after buying it back in March. Beautiful game, particularly from the middle section onwards.

Spoiler:
Aside from the Hero's journey elements, it feels like going back and replaying would be almost like taking on a Bodhisattva role; reaching nirvana, then going back to help others do the same.

Excited that That Game Company is no longer Sony exclusive.

Tanglebones wrote:
Finally took the time to play this, after buying it back in March. Beautiful game, particularly from the middle section onwards.

Spoiler:
Aside from the Hero's journey elements, it feels like going back and replaying would be almost like taking on a Bodhisattva role; reaching nirvana, then going back to help others do the same.

Spoiler:
Given that the hero's journey is, in part, explicitly modeled after Campbell's idea of the Bodhisattva, I don't find that too surprising. My view of the hero's journey has come around to the conclusion that the journey, as such, does not tell us much about universal storytelling, being too rooted in Campbell's misconceptions in synthesizing cultures. But the hero's journey was originally intended to be a modern spiritual pilgrimage, a rite of passage to follow to replace the myths we no longer believed in.

As such, I think Journey is the only work of media in the past twenty years to use the Hero's Journey honestly and effectively.

I know very little about this game, other than it's supposed to be wonderful, and seems to have a component where you can interact with other players. This late in its release, is it still worth playing — are there still other players to interact with?

lostlobster wrote:
I know very little about this game, other than it's supposed to be wonderful, and seems to have a component where you can interact with other players. This late in its release, is it still worth playing — are there still other players to interact with?

Yes. Go play it now.

Well interaction is different then any other game out there. It's not like your playing Left 4 Dead or anything. People just seemlessly pop in and out of your game and can only speak to you in little chirps. I would imagine that if nobody showed up in your game it wouldn't be a big deal. However it did sell really well.

Dyni wrote:
lostlobster wrote:
I know very little about this game, other than it's supposed to be wonderful, and seems to have a component where you can interact with other players. This late in its release, is it still worth playing — are there still other players to interact with?

Yes. Go play it now.

Thanks. I'm making my to-do list for when my wife and kids are gone for a week, starting next week. This one's going right at the top.

Actually, the way it's designed, as long as at least one other player is playing somewhere on the planet, the multiplayer will still work.

I decided to play this again today. My second game ended up being really short because the first area change zapped me to the area right before the snow. Ended up taking me 20 minutes total to finish.

Gotta say, I don't think any game out there can beat the credits for Journey. They are really incredible. I think I may try and get all the trophies for this one. It's quite a relaxing game to meander through.

Edit: Ahhh... I figured out how the chapter selection thing works. That's why I zapped so far ahead. I gotta go beat that tunnel part and not get my scarf cut now.

Got all of the trophies and my white cloak today. I also maxed out the cloak pattern. It's such a cool looking character!

Oh my goodness. I want this book so bad. I really don't have the money to spend on it right now, though.

Joystiq Blurb

Edit: Aaaaaand ordered. I don't know if I'll be one of the 750, but I'm okay with an unsigned copy. I'm such a sucker.

Edit 2: Aaaaaand if you want to save $60, do NOT watch this video.