Time Played: ~2 hours
As someone who enjoys movies and video games, I appreciate how cinematic video games have become over the last decade. Additionally, since many films can be “artsy,” there’s no reason why video games can’t follow the same style. Journey definitely fits this definition, and I’d almost go so far to say that it’s interactive and collaborative art. The story is pretty simple, but the execution of it gave me shivers as I finished and watched the end credits. The visuals and music add to the ambiance that engulfed me for the short time I spent playing this game.
Perhaps my only qualm with Journey is the same qualm I have with any artistic video game: its length. I would have loved to spend more time in this world, but as it stands, I can easily complete it in a single sitting. Which I suppose is how it should be when you consider that the “partners” along the titular journey are other players connected to your game via the internet—an amazing fact I didn’t even realize until I finished the game. And while there is some freedom of movement of the player character, I wasn’t able to explore as much as I would have liked were this more of an open-world setup.
I will give my review for this game an additional half star for the Collector’s Edition I played, as it also included previous games from thatgamecompany: Flower and flOw. Both were equally as short but maintained a narrative and unique gameplay mechanic that had me entertained for an hour. I’m not sure how to balance the amount of effort that goes into making an artistic game look and feel good while also providing a more extended playtime, but for what it’s worth, Journey is an experience I won’t forget anytime soon.
A short but chilling piece of interactive art, I give Journey 3.5 stars out of 5.