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Journey

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Journey, Dishonored top Game Developers Choice Awards


Nominees announced
Jan 24
// Dale North
The nominees for the 2013 Game Developers Choice Awards are in, and it looks like Journey, Dishonored and The Walking Dead are leading. Hey, those were our favorite games too. Journey took six nominations as the top favorite,...
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Journey leads D.I.C.E. awards with 11 nominations


Chris Hardwick to host 16th annual awards
Jan 14
// Dale North
The 16th Annual D.I.C.E. Awards take place next month in Las Vegas and the nominations have been announced by The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. I'm not at all surprised to see Journey taking the t...
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Journey was the best-selling PSN game of December


*chirp*
Jan 10
// Jordan Devore
On the PlayStation Blog, the top-selling PlayStation Network games of December have been compiled for curious minds to look over and commit to memory. Topping the charts is none other than thatgamecompany's Journey, beating o...

2012: Year of the Wingsuit

Dec 31 // Kyle MacGregor
Call of Duty: Black Ops II  Wingsuits are a pretty scary prospect in real life. Jumping off daring heights, gliding off into the wind is enough, but to look ridiculous doing it? It's a bit too much for me. Thankfully, Michael Rooker and his squad did it for me in Black Ops II -- all I had to do was press a few buttons. Although the wingsuits aren't really featured for more than a few minutes of the game, their addition added some excitement to the beginning of the campaign, and really drove home how diverse the gear and weaponry really is in 2025. Mark of the Ninja Like the Tenchu series, Mark of the Ninja has a number of items that may not be very ninja-y (strictly speaking), but provide a ton of fun for anyone who wants to utilize them. One of those items is the wingsuit, which lets you stalk your enemies with great care in the air. While a ninja game is probably the last game I'd expect to see a flying squirrel homage in, Mark of the Ninja is one of the many wingsuit-filled games of 2012. New Super Mario Bros. U While at first I lamented the lack of Cape Mario or the Tanooki Suit, I learned to love the Flying Squirrel Suit in New Super Mario Bros. U. Once you realized the nuanced play of clinging to walls, and bouncing off enemy heads to keep your glide going, things get really technical, and incredibly fun. I didn't truly learn to appreciate the Flying Squirrel Suit until I tackled the game's challenge modes, where I quickly had to acclimate myself to not overdoing it, and utilizing all of the enemies I could to keep my flight combo going. Although it isn't the best new addition to the Mario franchise, I really enjoyed my time with it this year. Far Cry 3 I thought Far Cry 2 was near perfect, but Ubisoft Montreal really strove to take everything up to eleven with the sequel. There are several additions and improvements that make the already winning formula even more enjoyable, but few manage to be more exhilarating than soaring over Far Cry 3's war-torn jungles in a wingsuit.  When Jason Brody's journey into this insane new world calls for him to head to a new island, he acquires this equipment to help him drop unseen behind enemy lines. After that memorable covert landing, the wingsuit can be used freely for a limitless number of exhilarating flights. And whether our intrepid protagonist is using it to sneak up on enemies or just indulging in a joyride, one thing is for sure: using Far Cry 3's wingsuit always makes for a good time. Journey Okay, so this one's not exactly a wingsuit per se, but it's close enough in our book. Journey's magical scarf does just about everything you'd expect a wingsuit to do and the flapping cloak doesn't look too far off the mark, either. Gliding plays an integral role in traversing Journey's glittering desert landscapes and also makes for some of the title's more memorable and cinematic moments. SSX In SSX, there are nine deadly descents that correspond to different environmental hazards that exist around the globe. There's a variety of specialist gear to help conquer these potential threats, but of them all the wingsuit is, far and away, my favorite. On certain slopes, there are large drops and wide gaps that make having a wingsuit an absolute necessity if you're looking to survive the run. However, given the choice I still take a wingsuit with me just about every time. While it might seem unintuitive, despite the webbing reducing speed, the enhanced level of control it offers in the air can help shave off precious seconds in a race. That and, like the rest of these games, it's also just a lot of fun to use in general. 
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I want to fly like a squirrel
When just about every major publisher rolled out a game featuring bows at E3 earlier this year, the fad didn't go unnoticed. Many were quick to comment on how in vogue arrow-slinging weaponry has become and for good reason. T...

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Journey Collector’s Edition minigames to be PSN downloads


In Europe...
Dec 31
// Dale North
Siliconera spotted listings and ratings for Duke War and Grave Diggers on PEGI's ratings board. These are names some might know from the recently released Journey: Collector's Edition, a title we saw this fall, but Europe mis...
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Jimquisition Awards: Journey


Five Days, Five Games, Five Awards
Dec 19
// Jim Sterling
The very first Jimquisition Awards are here! Five days, five games, five awards! Very rarely, a game comes along that strikes a near-perfect balance between interactivity, visuals, and sound design. Journey&nb...
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VGAs: Journey wins three awards tonight


...so far
Dec 07
// Dale North
Best Independent Game, Best PS3 Game, Best Original Score. And if you ask me, they should also win Game of the Year. Three awards so far from VGA 2012. Congrats to all the folks behind Journey. You deserve these awards and more.  If you haven't played Journey yet, don't talk to me.  Hey, even Jim liked it.
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Journey gets nominated for a Grammy and seven VGAs


Journey takes on Tintin, Hugo and Batman
Dec 06
// Audun Sorlie
Journey composer Austin Wintory is a busy man these days. He recently spoke at SC9.0 in Germany to great success and media attention where he was able to share that Journey had received seven nominations for the ten...
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Journey soundtrack gets physical CD release


Better late than never!
Nov 07
// Jayson Napolitano
Looking back at 2012 thus far, Journey stands out as one of the strongest soundtracks of the year. We had the pleasure of hearing from composer Austin Wintory regarding the score as well as offering our own review of the soun...
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Soundtrack Cologne bringing the VGM party to Germany


To health and game music, prost!
Oct 28
// Audun Sorlie
You can be sure a lot of beer will be consumed as Soundtrack Cologne 9.0 is preparing to bring some esteemed videogame music legends together for a round of panels and an exclusive concert over the weekend of November 15-18 a...
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David Cage: games must innovate or 'die'


Jul 06
// Jim Sterling
Self-proclaimed videogame auteur David Cage has urged the videogame industry to innovate of face certain death. "... This industry will die if it doesn't try more to be innovative and to come up with new ideas and to talk a b...

Over the precipice: An essay on Journey

Jul 03 // Rob Parker
Now, that is a philosophical joke, which means partly that it’s not funny, but also that its profundity is revealed gradually, the deeper you consider it. The point is that, while it is easy for us to see water for what it is -- as outsiders looking in -- for the fish it is always there, and thus very hard to be aware of. This is a message worth keeping in mind when thinking about Journey, the latest release from thatgamecompany, developers of the zen-like Cloud, Flow, and Flower. Journey is a remarkable videogame, a work of art that commentators across the spectrum of gaming have found much to ponder within. For me, Journey is about the only thing that art worth any goddamn can ever be about, which is what it is we’re all doing here. Journey is about truth, about base reality, about this experience of being itself we so often ignore. It is a call to look around us and remember that, as David Foster Wallace puts it: “This is water. This is water.” We humans like to think we’re pretty hot shit. We stand, like the figure in that screenshot up there, overlooking our kingdoms, lords of all we survey. We are intellectual beings, gods on Earth; we have split the atom, put man on the moon, invented squeezable jam. We have mastered chaos. And yet we trudge onwards under a shadow. There is a great shape towering over us, and it is brought closer with every step. We are on a fixed path, ushered forwards, and there can be no escape. We stand upon a precipice, waiting for the moment we will be tipped off. And then ... who knows? For all our nuclear reactors and space shuttles and tubed-jams, we have no clue what will happen when we take the final fall. Our arrogance is really a mask for fear, for the truth of our situation, which is that we are but insignificant flames, blazing once in an endless void, soon to be extinguished forever. There is, certainly, a sense of this evident within Journey. Its tale of an enigmatic robed figure traveling through a vast desert towards a distant mountain can be read as a treatise on death, a declaration of the inconsequentiality of man’s power and knowledge when measured against the vastness of the cosmos. We are tiny specks scuttling across a universe that feels nothing but cold indifference to our plight. We are alone, and we will all die. The thing is, while Journey might present us with these facts, the conclusions it arrives at are far from nihilistic. In the vigor and exuberance engendered through traversing its undulating sands, you feel not despair at your insignificance, but liberation. The treatise on death is transformed into a treatise on life. And not life as opposed to death, but life including death. Because the real truth of our situation is not that we are standing on a precipice, waiting to fall, but that we are falling already, and haven’t yet hit the ground. Rather than peering down into a dark unknown, we are actually in this dark unknown right now. The dark unknown is, at our most fundamental level, us. It hardly matters that we don’t know what will happen when we die, because we don’t even know what will happen when we live. We don’t even know what we mean when we say “know.” “The Tao that can be spoken of is not the eternal Tao.The name that can be named is not the eternal name.” These wry, wise old words come from the first lines of the Tao Te Ching, a screed regarding the Tao, or hidden flow, of the universe. It’s telling that the lines, among the most penetrating -- and most quoted -- in philosophical discourse, comprise a negative statement -- telling us what is not, rather than what is. In much of Taoist (and subsequent Zen) thought, the assumption is that awareness of base reality -- and thus liberation, enlightenment -- is not something that can be intellectually arrived at, but a fundamental truth of existence that we simply have to stop trying to attain, and remember is here, right now, for us all to experience. We don’t often think like this in the West. Our busy, fearful, left-hemisphere dominated minds have a hard time relinquishing control and placing faith in a more natural, less forced intelligence. A Zen master would remind us that a finger pointing to the moon is not the moon, while our great thinkers tie themselves in knots wanting written instructions how to look from the finger to the moon, how eyes switch targets, how light is converted into electro-chemical impulses, and how that happens, and how that happens. We believe it is possible to “know” everything, and we do so erroneously. For what we mean by “knowing” is really just grouping, ordering, filing away. To know a thing is to delineate it, to demarcate its boundaries, its opposites, to cut it away from the rest of the world so it may be observed. In doing so we build complex maps of the relationships between things, yet we say nothing of the things themselves. You cannot demarcate that which has no opposite. To try is to confuse the map with the territory. I still remember this faux intellectual punk I used to know, who once sneered, “Everyone gets so soppy about love, without realizing it’s just a chemical reaction in the brain that means nothing.” The kid thought that because he could classify love, he could explain it away! He didn’t recognize that the whole universe is a chemical reaction -- if viewed through the framework of chemistry. Love, or fear, anxiety, joy, are what chemistry feels like from the inside. We are a chemical reaction experiencing itself! To borrow again from the Tao Te Ching, “Mystery of mysteries, the door to all wonders.” This isn’t, however, to say that the Western mind is worse at perceiving truth than the Eastern mind. For where our intellectual discourse fails, our art provides answers. Art is a way of presenting truth as honestly as possible, a kind of meditation -- both in the creation and the contemplation -- that allows us to see deeply into things as they really are. Whether staring at a lapis lazuli pendant from ancient Mesopotamia, vibrant with preternatural color, or feeling a creeping dread at the hellish rabbit visions conjured onto film by David Lynch, or exploring the simulated realms of a modern videogame, art lets us step back and refocus on what is, reminds us of the incomprehensibility of this teeming mass of reality blossoming each moment around us, and within us. And when we do so we are transformed. We no longer bustle along the forest path, eyes down, heads busy with What Jason Said Yesterday, or Why Sarah is Such a Cow -- but instead look up, and remember that we are, at this very moment, in paradise, and we better appreciate it now, before it is gone for good. This is what Journey does for me. It is, I think, an antidote to the suffering we feel when we misjudge our place on Earth. Sometimes we trudge up dunes, and the going is tough. Sometimes we surf and sail downhill, and we feel borne on the wind. Such is life. There is a mountain towering over us, the engulfing light at its peak drawing closer with each step. But this mountain need not be a specter. It can instead be a warden -- a lighthouse guiding us home, waiting patiently for our return. We soar up its slopes, our hearts glad. We are tiny, we are empty, we know nothing -- and how very beautiful that ultimate truth is. For when we are empty of ourselves we can let everything else in, and it is then when we find our real selves, not apart from the universe, but a part of it, growing out of it, growing back into it. And we are far from alone. Look at all these other travelers around us, pilgrims on the same journey. When we meet others in Journey, we no longer care about measuring them, comparing them, judging them. We don’t wish to manipulate them, nor do we fear being manipulated by them. We see them for who they truly are, empty as well, and we can enjoy simply existing with them, being with them, as we once did as children in that half-forgotten world of dreams we used to inhabit. There we stand, together, on the precipice of all things -- two tiny hearts beating in unison against the drone of an endless cosmos. What is there to do but sing? So we sing. And, somewhere down there, over the precipice of all things, the endless cosmos sings back.
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[Rob Parker is a freelance writer based in the North of England, where it rains every day. Except the days when it hails. Rob stays sane (and dry) by plunging himself into the simulated worlds of videogames, and writing st...

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Jimquisition: The Definition of Art Games


Jul 02
// Jim Sterling
There's nothing like a debate about art games to ensure that everybody has a fun, enlightening, and not-at-all-aggravating time! Let's discuss the assertion that "art game" as a descriptor doesn't work, that it's a broken te...
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The DTOID Show: 2012 in Retrospecticus


Jul 01
// Tara Long
I know what you're thinking. "But Tara, the year's only half over!" Well yes, technically that's true, but it doesn't mean we can't stop and take a moment to gather our thoughts on this year's video game releases, does ...
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The DTOID Show: Scrolls, Journey, and Dead or Alive 5!


Jun 25
// Tara Long
While Max is off catching fresh salmon with his bare hands overseas, Anthony Carboni was kind enough (and contractually obligated) to filled in for him on today's Destructoid Show! We talked all about Far Cry 3's unsurprisin...
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Journey Collector's Edition detailed for North America


Jun 25
// Jordan Devore
Journey has done extremely well for itself on PlayStation Network, and with the upcoming disc-based collector's edition on the way, I can only see that trend continuing. As announced today by developer thatgamecompany, Journe...
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Fan-made Journey figurine is simple and elegant


Jun 20
// Tony Ponce
Journey has such a clean, simple beauty about it that's minimalist yet striking. This custom Journey figurine seems to check all the appropriate boxes, don't you think? thatgamecompany spotted this pretty little thing on Twit...
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E3: Journey is the 'best selling PSN game of all time'


Jun 04
// Chad Concelmo
During Sony's press conference, Jack Tretton announced that Journey is officially the best selling PSN game of all time. Quite a feat. Quite a great game. This is exciting news for fans of the game and great news for developer thatgamecompany. If you haven't bought the game yet, go download it! It is wonderful.

Talking to Women about Videogames: Art has no e-penis

May 28 // Jonathan Holmes
It's especially disheartening to see these claims coming from Sony, which has a pretty poor track record when it comes to creative plagiarism. Everyone has their own opinions about what constitutes artistic integrity (more on that later), but most would probably agree that ripping off other people's ideas isn't as "artistic" as expressing your own. Whereas Nintendo consistently does whatever they want and Microsoft seems dedicated to finding new ways to speak to every aspect of the Western market, Sony spends a lot of its resources on directly copying other developers, both in terms of hardware and software. When cartoon mascots were big in the industry, Sony churned out titles like Ape Escape and Crash Bandicoot. After Metal Gear, Resident Evil, and Tomb Raider made the "Hollywood" approach to game development popular, Sony dropped its mascots in favor of titles like Uncharted, God of War, and Heavy Rain. The fact that we have three Uncharted games on the PS3 but not one title from Team Ico on the console shows exactly where Sony's priorities are in terms of plagiarism vs. originality. And don't even get me started on the current state of the PlayStation Move and its library. That said, Sony has published some very original games recently and further in the past: PaRappa the Rapper, Jumping Flash, Twisted Metal, Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, Loco Roco, Patapon, The Last Guy, Flower, and Journey, to name just a few. The company also has the tendency to improve upon whatever idea it's ripping off (Uncharted 2 and God of War 2 are arguably the best "action movie games" ever made). That's why Sony is one of my favorite publishers today. I just wouldn't say that originality is one of their strengths. Something I do think Sony is very skilled at is making its fans feel better about themselves. It does that in a variety of ways, from providing them with powerful hardware to brag about to, in this case, leading them to believe they are more "artistically minded, sophisticated, and grown up" than fans of other developers. Sony has always payed close attention to the surface-level traits of the games on its consoles, working hard to control the "image" of the PlayStation brand. In the early days, it discouraged Capcom and other developers from putting 2D games on the PS1 and PS2, as it didn't want PlayStation to be associated with "old games." Today, the company highlights "realistic"-looking PS3 games at retail, leaving more abstract titles like those developed by ThatGameCompany out of the spotlight, constrained to the smaller scale and profit space of PSN. It's all part of a plan to make the PlayStation name and PlayStation fans feel like suave badasses of the videogame world. The focus on "realism" is just one of the ways that Sony attempts to dress its games in grown-up clothes. Other than LittleBigPlanet, it hasn't put many "cute" games on the PS3 (presumably because it thinks "cute" means automatically "for kids"). It has also avoided putting too many "sexy" games on the console, maybe because it doesn't want to look like it panders to "horny teens." These are all issues of style, not so much of substance. With the software from ThatGameCompany, Sony has touted how much the games "looked" like fine art, saying little about how much artistry is involved with the actually gameplay design. With Heavy Rain, Sony seemed to make an effort to tell everyone how many "un-game" activities the title featured -- stuff like shaving, using an inhaler, and yelling a child's name repeatedly in real time. Then there was the whole "realistic acne" thing. None of these details have any relationship to how "artistic" a game is. Interpretation of art is a personal, subjective thing that can't be measured by how much a game looks like a painting, how many cutscenes it has, or how big its pimples are. For me, a game's level of artistry has a lot to do with how much integrity it has. I'm guessing that's true for a lot of people, though "integrity" is also a pretty subjective term. That's why I get more out of the Animal Crossing series than something like Journey. Both games are about relaxation through simplicity, the appreciation of minutia, and interacting with both the environments and with other players through a minimalist, conflict-free focus. It's just that Animal Crossing does all that via a combination of low-intensity, non-sexual pornography (hunter-gatherer porn and "cute little cartoon animals that look like babies" porn to be specific). In fact, the first thing I thought after playing Journey was that "it's like Animal Crossing for hipsters." I was half joking in that assessment, but I still felt that there is some validity to it. I really felt like it was valid after I heard from Jenova Chen on Twitter that Animal Crossing was a "big inspiration" for Journey. That's not something I think you'd hear Sony talk about. [Artwork by 8WholeBits] Like I said in last week's post, I think that there are basically four types of human communication: art, competition, pornography, and education. I don't think that mixing any of those forms of communication dampens their integrity in any way. Art + pornography = erotica, a worthwhile sub-genre of communication all its own. Education + competition = spelling bees, and spelling bees are totally rad. Combining forms of communication can strengthen all components involved, resulting in something that is greater than the sum of it's parts. There is no loss of integrity there. Sense of integrity is only lost when you lose a feeling of sincerity and honesty. Journey feels more pretentious to me, like its developers were just as concerned about looking like artists as they were about making art. Animal Crossing's artistic merit comes off as a byproduct of its developers' insane desire to make a game about nothing. It almost feels like art by accident. On the other hand, Journey feels like it's trying so hard to look deep that it sometimes forgets to actually say anything. Most of that boils down to design. There are so many little life metaphors in the Animal Crossing experience, from the game's cannibalistic Thanksgiving holiday to the way it rewards the player with bags of money, grand pianos, or even NES games for shaking random trees, and they seem like direct comments from the game's designers on their perception of the world. Journey is more about unobtrusive, linear design. Its emptiness permits the player to project their own thoughts and feelings into the game, taking in very few ideas directly from the developer. It feels a little like a cop out, like the player is tricked into thinking it's "deep" because of the depth they're permitted to project from themselves into the game's world. That's part of why Journey's priorities don't totally fall in line with my own as much as Animal Crossing's do. When something speaks to you, when it seems to reflect your own perspectives and values, it's always going to seem more sincere and legitimate. We're going to be biased towards the things we like and have a tougher time seeing the value in things that we aren't compatible with. It's very easy to call a game that you don't like "pretentious," "less artistic," "a sellout," "sexist/racist/stupid," or some other disrespectful modifier. It's also great for people's egos to apply that kind of disrespectful, sour grapes thinking to the tastes of others. That's why it would a misstep for me to come out and say that the games I like are more "artistic" than the games that other people enjoy. The only thing I'd really be saying in a statement like that is that I think my taste in games makes me a better person than others. I don't see the point in thinking that way (though it is sometimes tempting). It's much better for us to take a close look at why certain games speak to us and why others don't, remaining focused on speaking only for ourselves. We should stay away from labeling some games as more sincere, sophisticated, or artistic on some objective level, because that will only work to close us off from looking at those games for all that they are. When you're truly "sophisticated," "grown-up," "artistic," and "confident" with your various endowments, you won't feel the need to brag about them or belittle others for being different than you.
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[Talking to Women about Videogames is a series where Jonathan Holmes talks to different people who are women about the biggest videogame news of the week for some reason.] A little while ago, brilliant game developer Je...

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Science: PS3 users more sophisticated than 360/Wii users


May 08
// Jim Sterling
According to thatgamecompany designer Jenova Chen, the reason why games like Flower and Journey are on the PlayStation Network is that PS3 owners are more mature than Xbox 360 or Wii users. Apparently, those who bought the Bl...
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Journey and Escape Plan infiltrate LittleBigPlanet 2


Apr 24
// Chris Carter
While you're waiting for LittleBigPlanet Karting, you may as well enjoy LittleBigPlanet 2, right? Well this week thatgamecompany and Fun Bits Interactive are making it a bit easier, with the dawn of Journey and Escape Plan co...
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Rapper Random produced a short, sweet Journey remix album


Apr 19
// Tony Ponce
Whether you've already played Journey or have yet to do so, you've no doubt fallen in love with Austin Wintory's beautifully introspective soundtrack. Jayson Napolitano has already given the full album his highest recommendat...

Note Worthy 001: Kingdom Hearts 3D, Journey, and more

Apr 18 // Jayson Napolitano
Airu Love You / I'll Love You ~Monster Hunter Arrange à la carte ~Release Date: August 24, 2011Price: 2,625 Yen ($32)Availability: LimitedArtist(s): Zunba Kobayashi, Jun -setzer- Kadoma, Shoichiro Sakamoto, Takahiro Eguchi, Yousuke Yasui, Teruo Taniguchi Okay, this one’s downright strange. Released by several members of SuperSweep, and more specifically, a bunch of the guys who worked on the 3D Dot Game Heroes soundtrack, this release offers an eclectic array of remixes from the Monster Hunter series.The strange part comes in with the grating Japanese vocal tracks, one of which is about meat. There are also lots of cats meowing and growling throughout the entire album in addition to the packaging featuring images cats geared up to go on an adventure. The karaoke versions provided at least liberate the strong arrangements from the terrible vocals, but it’s not all bad. There are a few great vocal tracks to be found, including one that delves into bossa nova territory, although the retro 8-bit remix of “Testament of a Hero” from Monster Hunter 3, a bumpin’ FM synthesis take on “Day on Pokke Farm” from Monter Hunter Portable 2nd, and the hard-hitting electronic remix of “Jungle Glutton / Congalala” from Monster Hunter Portable 2nd G are my favorites. There are even some arrangements from the Poka Poka Airu Mura spin-off titles.In all, there’s some great stuff here. The problem is getting your hands on it. It’s sold through SuperSweep’s online shop in Japan, and may be worth checking out if you’re a hardcore fan of the series. Denpa Ningen no RPG Original SoundtrackRelease Date: March 28, 2012Price: 2,200 Yen ($26.50)Availability: iTunes JapanArtist(s): Basiscape (Hitoshi Sakimoto, Yoshimi Kudo, Kimihiro Abe, Azusa Chiba, Masaharu Iwata, Mitsuhiro Kaneda)This is certainly a quirky one. Basiscape is one of the top sound studios in Japan with founder Hitoshi Sakimoto (Final Fantasy Tactics, Final Fantasy XII, Valkyria Chronicles) at its helm and a number of talented composers under him who can emulate his style as well as make bold statements of their own. This release, for a Japanese 3DS title, features nearly an hour and a half of music with Sakimoto handling the main theme which sports funky bass, strange electric shock sound effects, and a bubbly melody that sets the tone for the rest of the album. Think of a blend between Earthbound and Paper Mario and that’s what you have here. It’s kind of in line with the team’s impressive score for Opoona, but unfortunately with a lot less emotion. Two tracks that did stand out for me were the incredibly abstract “Antenna Tower” with its pitch-bending synth lines and the super funky “Cave” with its hip-hop percussion and playfully spooky soundcape.This one probably isn’t for everyone as I didn’t find a whole lot to sink my teeth into. Given the hefty asking price for a digital release (it’s probably best that they went digital, but not at this price point), I can’t see myself recommending it. Still, fans of the Basiscape team or those looking for something ‘weird’ from Japan may want to check it out, even if that means purchasing “Cave” on its own.[embed]225854:43396[/embed] Journey Original SoundtrackRelease Date: April 10, 2012Price: $4.99Availability: iTunes / CD release TBAArtist(s): Austin WintoryAfter having an amazing experience playing through the game, I had to wait in anticipation all over again for the game’s soundtrack. We hosted a lovely feature with Austin Wintory about his work on Journey where he discussed the creation of several pieces as well as offered samples, but with the complete soundtrack in hand, I’m surprised there’s actually so much music here, totaling nearly an hour of music. And all of it sounds fantastic with live session artists and even a live orchestra.All the key elements are here for you to re-experience Journey all over again, but this time aurally. There’s the blistering wind of “The Call,” the playful “Threshold,” the vibrant “Road of Trials” (one of my personal favorites), the foreboding “Temptations” with its lovely harp work and the ominous “Descent” with its rumbling percussion. There are some more atmospheric pieces in between before a powerful trio closes out the album with the desperate “Nadir” that accompanies a key moment in the game, the jubilant and dreamy “Apotheosis,” and the emotionally charged ending vocal theme, “I was Born for This.”Even when you’re out on the go, you can experience the magic of Journey any time with this soundtrack. Even those who didn’t play the game should appreciate Austin Wintory’s majestic score, and it obviously comes just as highly recommended as the game itself.[embed]225854:43397[/embed]Kingdom Hearts 3D Dream Drop Distance Original SoundtrackRelease Date: April 18, 2012Price: 3,800 Yen ($47 USD)Availability: CD Japan / Play-AsiaArtist(s): Yoko Shimomura, Tsuyoshi Sekito, Takeharu IshimotoI’ve never been a huge fan of Kingdom Hearts titles or their soundtracks. I always found them to be overly upbeat to the point of being cheesy, but that all changed with Birth by Sleep, which took a much more mature approach in the music department. Kingdom Hearts 3D Dream Drop Distance follows suit coming as light-hearted but not cheesy,and changes things up a bit by adding a lot of electronic sounds to the heavily orchestral palette of the series.Series composer Yoko Shimomura handles the majority of the score, starting with the popular series main theme, “Dearly Beloved,” which gets a sweet waltz arrangement. She provides an eclectic mix of tracks, but my favorites would be the angelic “The World of Dream Drops” with its bell tress, piano, and strings, the elegant yet desperate “La Chloche” with timpani and harpsichord, “All for One” with its classy melody, and “Distant From You...,” which comes as a beautiful and heartwrenching duet between strings and harp. “Deep Drop” also stands out with its dark electronic sound accented by organ.Square Enix’s Tsuyoshi Sekito and Takeharu Ishimoto also join the mix, with Sekito providing mostly epic orchestral cues with “Majestic Wings” and “Gigabyte Mantis” being my favorites. Ishimoto, on the other hand, provides several memorable moments with his electronic contributions that start with several remixes from The World Ends With You (the bumpin’ club version of “Calling” is my personal favorite) as well as several moody and textural electronic tracks, of which “Keyblade Cycle” stands out with its unsettling and glitchy soundscape. There are also several classical pieces by Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and others tucked away at the end of the album.There’s some great music here, and the packaging for this three-disc collection is delightful with glossy cardboard and some classy silhouettes on the discs themselves. Fans will want to definitely check out what’s new with the Kingdom Hearts series, while others may want to wait and play the game before deciding to drop close to $50 USD on this one.Manabu Namiki WORKS Vol.2 ~Thunder Dragon 2~Release Date: December 21, 2011Price: 2,625 Yen ($32)Availability: CD JapanArtist(s): Manabu NamikiFor those who don’t know, Manabu Namiki has become somewhat of a legend over the years for his soundtracks to many a shmup title from Cave, Zuntata, and more. He’s also a member of Basiscape. This album presents his soundtrack to the 1993 title, Thunder Dragon 2. While the album contains 17 tracks, several are ‘alternate versions’ of the same two themes that accompany you throughout all of the game’s seven stages.While “Fly to Live,” “Live to Fly,” and their variations are your standard energetic shmup tracks with an electronic backing and a jazzy vibe, the highlights are the two new arrangements: the super funky “Still Live to Fly” by Shinji Hosoe and the touching piano ballad, “Fly to Live -Love Theme-“ by Namiki himself. I also dig the epic final battle theme, “Marginal Attack” and the ridiculous “Voice Collection,” showing off some of the worst voice acting of all time.With so little music presented here when you remove the countless indistinguishable variations on the two stage themes, only hardcore fans of Manabu Namiki will probably find this worth the price.Piano Collections NieR Gestalt & ReplicantRelease Date: March 21, 2012Price: 2,800 Yen ($34)Availability: CD JapanArtist(s): Keigo Hoashi, Kumi Tanioka, Ryuichi Takada, Yuri Misumi This was easily my most anticipated release of 2012. The NieR soundtrack is one of my favorites of all time, but I wasn’t sure how this album would work without the haunting vocals of Emi Evans. I was impressed to find that the arrangements here retained their magic, but in a different way. The arrangements are pretty straightforward, with MoNACA (the game’s original composition team) handling most of the arrangements and performances and guest Kumi Tanioka (Final Fantasy XI, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles) performing three, which was a nice treat.In the end, the question as to whether or not these arrangements are ‘better’ than the original ones is kind of a pointless one. I don’t think they are better or worse, but rather, different. I’ll usually default to the original versions with Emi Evans, but I can’t discount the soothing and simply elegant arrangements here either. I definitely think it’s worth checking out on its own merits as well as to send a message to Square Enix that we want more NieR.The Music of Retro City RampageRelease Date: February 2, 2012Price: $7.99 CAD (Digital) / $43 CAD (Vinyl)Availability: BandcampArtist(s): Freaky DNA, Norrin Radd, virt[Update: You can pick up the vinyl for $39 CAD directly from Lotus Audio if you're interested]Retro City Rampage is attempting to be the ultimate expression of fanservice to those like me who consider the NES to be their first videogame love. The quirky humor and endless videogame references carry over into the soundtrack, and the team has once again done things right by releasing the soundtrack composed by three accomplished chiptune artists well before the release of the game to generate hype along with a limited editon vinyl release that is simply beautiful (and yes, the blue version I drooled over is almost sold out, and the green is completely gone).The soundtrack itself is a lot of fun, although somewhat short at just about 40 minutes in length. Fan-favorite virt gives us a gritty and irreverent opening theme as well as a few parody tracks that made me chuckle, including “Not Mega…” that sounds almost exactly like… well, that famous blue guy. He actually contributes the fewest number of tracks, followed by Freaky DNA who brings the funk with “Half Steppin’” and “Bit Happy,” two of my favorite tracks on album. Norrin Rad handles the largest number of tracks, lending a poppy sound with the catchy “Dance Off,” the spacey “Proton Decay,” and the giddy “Smut Peddler.”I can’t say that many of the melodies here stuck with me afterwards, but I imagine that will change after playing the game. I love what the team has done with the soundtrack and especially the fact that they’ve released It before the game’s release. Be sure to check it out.[embed]225854:43399[/embed]SONIC ADVENTURE Original Soundtrack 20th Anniversary EditionRelease Date: May 18, 2011Price: 2,400 Yen ($29) (physical) / $9.99 (digital)Availability: CD Japan / iTunesArtist(s): Jun Senoue, Kenichi Tokoi, Masaru Setsumaru, Fumie KumataniThis is an odd release that came out last year to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Sonic the Hedgehog. It’s odd in that it’s a single disc ‘best of’ collection, whereas the originally issued soundtrack contained two discs. Why they didn’t re-issue the full two-disc soundtrack, I don’t know, but it goes for hundreds of dollars on the used market these days, so with this release, you may as well take what you can get.And you’ll want to take it. Crush40 and Jun Senoue have been, in my opinion, destroying Sonic’s musical legacy for so long with all their cheesy vocal tracks that I’d forgotten just how good this soundtrack was. Senoue and Crush40 are here, but this is their first outing together, so they come off as more subdued. The few tracks that Crush40 is featured on are actually tasteful and catchy. As for the rest of the soundtrack, it’s some of the best that the Sonic series has to offer with incredibly melodies covering pop, rock, and electronic styles. I could list nearly every track on this collection as a favorite, so I’ll refrain and simply say “Windy Hill” from Windy City and “Egg Carrier - A Song That Keeps Us On The Move” are my jam.Fans of classic Sonic the Hedgehog music that missed out on the two-disc version will want to pick this up for sure.SONIC THE HEDGEHOG CD Original Soundtrack 20th Anniversary EditionRelease Date: November 23, 2011Price: 2,400 Yen ($29) (physical) / $9.99 (digital)Availability: CD Japan / Play-Asia / iTunesArtist(s): Masafumi Ogata, Naofumi HatayaFew soundtracks are as controversial as the Sonic CD soundtrack. The original soundtrack was composed by Sega composers in Japan and was featured intact in the Japanese and European releases of the game. Fans in North America were probably unaware, however, that Sega of America completely re-scored the game for the North America release. The original score was much more electronic in style, resembling past Sonic soundtracks, while the North American version got a more atmospheric slant. Why this was done, nobody knows, but it happened, and there wasn’t a proper release for the original Japanese/European soundtrack until now.What you have are the core stage themes with additional “good future,” “bad future,” and “boss” mixes. I have to say that while I like both versions of the soundtrack, I prefer the ones presented here with a fun, tropical “Palmtree Panic,” the sexy smooth jazz flavored “Tidal Tempest,” the upbeat fusion “Quartz Quandrant,” and the chugging electronic “Wacky Workbench” areas. The early 1990s-flavored hip-hop version of “Stardust Speedway” also made me chuckle. While this version resonates with me more, I do have to admit I like Nielsen’s “Sonic Boom” vocal theme better than the horrible hip-hop “You Can Do Anything” found here, and the inspirational rap ending theme, “Believe in Yourself” is just embarrassing. There are some bonus remixes found here as well, including renditions of “Sonic Boom” and “Stardust Speedway” featuring Jun Senoue, Crush40 and Cash Cash (an electronic group featured heavily on Sonic Generations). Fans of Naofumi Hataya (who also scored NiGHTS) should appreciate the track-by-track artist breakdown.Of all the 20th anniversary soundtrack releases, this one is most worth your attention as it’s not a simple re-issue, but a first-time release with bonuses. It’s worth checking out to get an alternate take on the game’s soundtrack for fans in North America who didn’t know any better. Valkyria Chronicles 3 Sound and Song CollectionRelease Date: May 11, 2011Price: 3,500 Yen ($42)Availability: CD Japan / Play-AsiaArtist(s): Hitoshi Sakimoto, Shiro Sagisu, Hikaru Nanase, Masato Nakayama, Katsuhiko Kurosu This is another one by Hitoshi Sakimoto. I love his Western-flavored Valkyria Chronicles soundtracks, and the soundtrack for Valkyria Chronicles 3 was particularly mature and moody after the more upbeat Valkyria Chronicles 2. I’m looking at this one so late after its release because it was initially released by Basiscape Records in February 2011. I was wondering what this re-issue was all about, and apparently it’s the same great soundtrack with the wonderful guitar arrangements featured on the Basiscape release swapped out for four licensed vocal themes used in the game and in the anime adaptation. These are rather standard Japanese pop and rock tracks, although JAM Project’s “Song of the Soldiers Chasing the Wind” from the game actually fits in with the score as a triumphant march with male choral-style singing, much to my surprise.I’d honestly recommend picking up the Basiscape Records version with its guitar arrangements over this one. They are incredibly well done, and with the exception of the aforementioned JAM Project track, the vocal themes here don’t have a whole lot of connection to the series. You can pick up the Basiscape Records version at CD Japan as well.[embed]225854:43423[/embed]
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Welcome to Note Worthy, a new feature we’re rolling out on Destructoid! If you’ve read anything I’ve contributed over the past year at Destructoid, you’ve probably noticed that it all pertains to game ...

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The DTOID Show: Journey, FEZ, and Wasteland 2!


Mar 31
// Tara Long
Happy Friday, folks! In case you missed it, The Destructoid Show went live earlier today, and in addition to giving out four codes for Waveform on Steam, we also covered a metric shit-ton of news that happened recently - som...
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Journey is officially the fastest-selling PSN game ever


Mar 29
// Jim Sterling
Love it or hate it, thatgamecompany's enthralling Journey is an undeniable success. That's a claim backed by facts, with news that the title has become the fastest selling PlayStation Network title of all time. Yes, it's doin...
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The DTOID Show: Borderlands 2, Baldur's Gate, and BOOBS!


Mar 16
// Tara Long
Happy Friday, everyone! Not only is today the sixth anniversary of this wacky and wonderful website we've all come to know and love, it's also the birthday of our great overlord Niero, to whom we paid tribute on today's live...
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EU PS Plus subscribers start their journey on Wednesday


Mar 06
// Fraser Brown
In just over a week, I'll be sauntering around a gorgeous desert with a big grin on my face. To make matters better, I'll be doing it from the comfort of my sofa in a temperature controlled room. I am, of course, referring to...
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The DTOID Show: Assassin's Creed III? GO AMURICA!


Mar 03
// Tara Long
Happy Friday, gamurzzzzzz. That's what you guys like to be called, right? Either way, we've got a very special show for you today. Or rather, we had one. It's over now, but you can still enjoy it in all its HD glory, thanks ...
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Dear reviewers, we need another word for 'experience'


Mar 02
// Jim Sterling
There's a grave problem facing videogame reviewers today. No, it's not the rampant backlash over numerical scores. No, it's not corruption and publisher pressure. It's something far more deadly to our entire industry ... we'v...

Review: Journey

Mar 01 // Jim Sterling
Journey (PlayStation Network)Developer: thatgamecompanyPublisher: Sony Computer EntertainmentReleased: March 13, 2012MSRP: $14.99 There is a story to Journey, a message to take away. What elements of this story will resonate and what message is ultimately gleaned depend on the individual, and may be quite unique. As in all titles developed by thatgamecompany, there is nothing truly explicit, nothing that cannot be interpreted in any number of ways.  At the most basic level, you are a shrouded figure traversing the desert with the ultimate goal of reaching a mountain across the vast sandy wastes. Your interactions are minimal, as your main job is simply to move. Traditional stick movement gives you direct control over your entity, while Sixaxis motions manipulate the camera. Pressing the circle button causes the player character to emit a chime, and the button can be held down to make a more significant noise, generating a spherical field that emanates from the player. This aura can bring life to surrounding objects, causing them to perform special actions that will guide the player along the correct path.  The creature (for want of a better word) wears a scarf that contains a unique power, allowing the player to fly into the air with a press of the X button. This flight only lasts as long as the glyphs printed on the scarf remain lit, and the glyphs' illumination naturally drains as the player remains airborne. The scarf can be recharged by touching fluttering strands of fabric, and it can be lengthened by collecting glowing symbols hidden throughout the desert.  [embed]223030:42883[/embed] Simply describing these mechanics doesn't quite do their implementation justice. Nor would any summary of the unique cooperative elements accurately detail just how affecting one's interactions with another player can be.  I found my partner in the middle of the desert, as he or she found me. Journey's online co-op simply introduces two players at random shortly after the game begins. No names are exchanged for the duration of the partnership. The characters look identical. There is no way to truly communicate with the other person, but that person -- whoever it is -- shall become your best friend for the next two hours.  My new friend had clearly been on this journey before. He or she was an expert guide, pointing out hidden symbols and leading me to secret spaces where mysterious murals could be uncovered. Rather quickly, I learned to follow when my partner chimed three times. I also learned how to keep close, as players recharge each other's scarves while touching.  Cooperation has not been forced into Journey. Rather, the player takes it upon one's self to help out others. This was clearly somebody who had played Journey before, but had returned to the desert in order to guide others. Even with this potential, the two players don't truly work together in any meaningful sense of the word. They are not pulling levers to open doors for each other. They're not giving each other a leg up to climb walls. While the recharging of scarves can save a little time, it's not necessary to complete the journey, since fluttering fabric is plentiful.  Despite the lack of interaction and the dearth of true cooperative opportunities, I felt more connected to my traveling companion than I did to anybody else I've ever played a game with, as the thoroughly impersonal touch causes players to latch onto each other. The desert is expansive and can threaten to grow quite lonely. For all intents and purposes, Journey is a forsaking, solo adventure, but it's one you get to share with another person, and you feel worlds apart when you go your separate ways. This is what Journey's co-op truly means. Two people walking the same path, and simply appreciating each other's company.  At times, however, you'll wish you could say something. When running through dunes and chasing magic carpets; when sliding through a sunken city; when looking through a crack in a mountain as the sunlight pours in -- there are so many achingly beautiful moments packed into such a short experience that you'll want to call out to your partner and say, "It's wonderful, isn't it?" You'll want to say it, but ultimately, nobody needs to. Chances are almost certain that you're both thinking the same thing.  Through subtle animations and a gorgeous blend of colors, Journey's world is a joy to be a part of, a world that can genuinely etch a smile onto the player's face. As for the music that weaves itself throughout everything, I have only the highest praise. Journey's score is sublime, complementing the often breathtaking visual splendor with perfection. I would love to further describe this alluring marriage of interaction, sight, and sound, but to relate any one example would be to take away the joy of discovering it yourself, and Journey is a game best walked into without knowing quite what to expect. Journey will take two or three hours to complete, and for $14.99 there are doubtless those who will feel cheated. Those who fall in love with what this odyssey has to offer, however, will find that the memories are more than worth the entry fee, and will likely be tempted to play through at least once more. Besides which, this is a game designed to be played in one sitting, from beginning to end, in order to appreciate the full scope of one's pilgrimage and the wonderful way in which it escalates from humble beginning to rousing end. This is not a game for those who view length as the primary measure of a product's entertainment value.  Perhaps a little more could have been added to Journey, and I certainly would have loved more interaction with such an absorbing and intriguing world. Simply walking and gliding certainly can make a player focus solely on the atmosphere, but it still feels a little indirect and sometimes alienating. Nevertheless, these minor gripes serve to make it all the more impressive when one finally concludes the adventure and realizes how emotionally rewarding it was. For a game that does so little, Journey sure manages to accomplish a lot.  Its greatest achievement, however, is showing the world exactly how to make a piece of interactive art that is both compelling and fun, without compromising any one element. So many self-styled "art games" feel that in order to evoke a feeling, one must confuse, irritate, or even totally disregard the player. Journey is a defiant bridge between art and game, managing to emotionally connect without being cloying, and succeeding in being mysterious without becoming pretentiously vague and obfuscating. Journey's interactive, visual, and aural elements work together, rather than fight with each other, in order to provide a flowing, seamless, influential, and utterly exhilarating experience.    This is interactive art. This is how it's done.
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How does one describe Journey, exactly? It's a videogame unlike any other, to the point where calling it a videogame doesn't quite feel right. One could call it an art game, but that would draw comparisons with infinitely les...


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