I just finished playing through Journey for the first time (I know i'm late to the party but I only got my PS3 today so I couldn't do much about that) and the moment it finished, all I wanted to do was talk about it. However, I finished it at about 5am here in Britain so there was no one around to ramble to. So I turned to Destructoid!
Now, I knew I wanted to play Journey as soon as I saw gameplay footage; it's a large part of why I even bought a PS3 (that, and Ni No Kuni). So as soon as I set up the PS3, the first thing I did was hunt down Journey and finally I got to play the game I'd wanted to play for so long. And I was not disappointed.
I'll come right off the bat and say that for me, this was one of the most amazing gaming experiences I've ever had. The game deserves to be branded as the dictionary definition of beauty: the art, the music, the pacing, the journey itself, everything about it is simply stunning.
When it comes to the online play, there is something to be said about the power of silent communication. Much like Jim in his review of the game, I found myself strangely attached to my mute companion, though unlike him the player I got seemed to be in the same boat as me. We were both experiencing this wonderful thing for the first time simultaneously, and it was absolutely refreshing to run through the world together, chiming at the many interesting things we saw and always waiting for the other to get there whenever there were the chime-induced cutscenes littered throughout the game. Not only did I have great fun while I was with this other player, but I also remember how dejected I felt during the later levels in the snow-capped mountains: we were trying to walk across a bridge, and I fell off, landing all the way back down on the ground. The next 5-10 minutes of retreading the same steps I'd taken to return to where I'd fallen were filled with an assured sense that he would never have stopped and waited for me, battling with a wishful hope that he would indeed be there when I returned. Suffice to say, he was not, and I can't quite explain how disappointed that made me even though there was absolutely no reason for him to wait; he didn't know me, we had not spoken, and yet still I felt like I'd been unfairly abandoned.
It speaks volumes that I can have this reaction to such a fleeting connection (even if he'd been there from the first step of the journey to the last, that in itself wouldn't have even made 2 hours, but he arrived some way in to the game).
I don't want to spoil anything for anyone who happens to read this and has not yet played the game, so I shall simply refer to "the falling down" moment of the game and those who have played it will know what I'm referring to. When that happened, the strength of which I reacted emotionally genuinely shocked myself, but that moment was so poignant that for a few seconds I didn't know what to do with myself.
Moving away from the story, let me just say that the creativity in this game is simply inspired: from the fantastic visuals (there were so many moments in the game where I would stand still, take in the view and wish I could have that image as a canvas on my wall, it was that beautiful) to the wonderfully imaginative creatures that are formed from the scarves, this is a game full of subtle touches that will make you smile, or at least appreciate the artistry. From waterfalls made of sand to the scarf-made bridges, it all seemed so right.
At between an hour and a half to 2 hours, the game is short, but as Jim brought up in his excellent review, this is a game to be played start to finish. Part of the joy is the fluidity of the experience; it'd be greatly marred if it was a game with a length that required stopping and restarting at a later time.
if you've never played this game, you're doing yourself a serious injustice. Go and grab the game and experience it. For those of you who have played through it, I'd love to hear your thoughts/experiences!