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Journey

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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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Journey comes to PlayStation Network March 13


Feb 16
// Jordan Devore
I saw enough of the beta for thatgamecompany's Journey to know I didn't want to have any more info divulged prior to full release, if at all possible. We'll be exploring the game's mysterious world soon enough; as covered by ...
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Journey is finally done, waiting on release date


Feb 03
// Dale North
thatgamecompany's President, Kellee Santiago, says that the beautiful "online parable" Journey is finally done, meaning that the development process is officially finished. According to an interview on videoshock, the company...

Destructoid's most wanted PlayStation 3 games of 2012

Jan 10 // Kyle MacGregor
  The Last Guardian (PlayStation 3) Developer: Team IcoPublisher: Sony Computer EntertainmentRelease: 2012 It wouldn't be a "most anticipated PS3" list without The Last Guardian, right? This game's numerous and lengthy delays -- I've put it on this list for three straight years, now -- haven't reduced my anticipation for it at all. What does have me somewhat worried is the departure from Sony of the project's visionary director, Team Ico's Fumito Ueda; at least he'll finish the game, and at this point, we're still assuming that that'll happen this year.Ueda's previous games, Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, stand as singular experiences that Sony made even better with high-definition remasters last year. Check them out, and you'll understand why fans are still waiting with bated breath to see the tale of this boy and his avian-feline friend play out. Journey (PlayStation Network) Developer: thatgamecompanyPublisher: Sony Computer Entertainment Release: Spring 2012 Jenova Chen, Kellee Santiago, and their studio thatgamecompany made a name for themselves with their 2009 PSN title, Flower. It was a fundamentally simple game that nonetheless elicited passionate emotional responses from players, and few (if any) other titles since have matched it in those respects.Journey is the studio's next game. A robed figure traverses a desolate desert and the extant markers of an ancient civilization that lie within: such is the basic premise. I played a segment of that journey in last year's beta; while the arid world evoked a sense of isolation, my interactions with the stone remnants of the land's previous inhabitants brought out a connection with the past that mitigated my loneliness. That's something thatgamecompany and few other developers can do. The Last of Us (PlayStation 3) Developer: Naughty DogPublisher: Sony Computer Entertainment Release: 2012 Thanks to its critically acclaimed Uncharted games, Naughty Dog has earned a reputation for crafting exciting thrill-ride action titles with a story and characters worth caring about. Considering that pedigree, anticipation for the studio's next project would have been high regardless of the subject matter.The Last of Us centers on a man and a teenage girl trying to survive in a world that has been overrun by zombie-like creatures. The word "zombie" might cause some people to dismiss the game out of hand, but remember that very little about Uncharted could be called "original"; instead, Naughty Dog has proven itself adept at taking familiar genre trappings (in Uncharted's case, Indiana Jones-esque pulp action) and tweaking them in service of the story the studio wants to tell. Early word is that the team seeks to explore survival elements and that old serious-story standby, the human condition, in a tale that may evoke comics like The Walking Dead and Y: The Last Man. My body is ready. Honorable mentions: Twisted Metal, Papo & Yo, MLB 12 The Show, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD     I Am Alive (PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade) Developer: Ubisoft ShanghaiPublisher: UbisoftRelease: Q1 2012 After almost four years of near-silence regarding their forthcoming post-apocalyptic survival title, Ubisoft finally looks like they're ready to release I Am Alive. The game follows a man on a journey to return to his hometown and find his family. Unfortunately for him, he must traverse an urban wasteland, brave the elements, and come toe-to-toe with other survivors who will do anything to stay alive. Finger on the trigger of a pistol, one bullet left in the chamber, a frightened stranger approaches. What do you do? There's nothing more dangerous than an animal backed into a corner, nothing scarier than the dark recesses of the human mind. I'm ever so eager to find myself in these types of situations and make meaningful decisions. I just really, really hope that Ubisoft can capitalize on this title's conceptual potential.  SSX (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360) Developer: EA CanadaPublisher: EA SportsRelease: February 28, 2012 Back during E3 last year, I recall strolling into a dimly lit room for a viewing of EA's forthcoming SSX title. I entered as a casual fan of the series, mildly enthused for another extreme snowboard romp, but left among the converted. Just imagine opening up Google Earth, simply zooming in on any given mountain range and dropping in on a slope for an exhilarating run to the bottom. The team at EA Canada has borrowed intricate satellite data from NASA to virtually recreate entire mountain ranges and let players drop in on some of the most iconic peaks on the planet. Outside of the traditional races and score attack modes, SSX features "boss battles" where players travel to some of the most dangerous peaks on the planet and brave the elements that make them so deadly. During the demonstration, the developers showed off a stage featuring a dynamic avalanche where the speed and direction at which the player hits the angle of repose triggers a unique deluge that the player must outrun to stay alive. Even now months later I'm enthralled by the possibilities of what else EA Canada has in store. February 28 cannot come soon enough.  Far Cry 3 (PlayStation 3, PC, Xbox 360) Developer: Ubisoft MontrealPublisher: UbisoftRelease: 2012 I could probably talk about Far Cry 2 all day. Despite all its failures and unrealized ambitions, its design supported player agency and offered nonlinear gameplay in ways that few games even dare to try, much less realize with a modicum of success. Allowing the player to approach a situation from any standpoint with any strategy and essentially design their own experience in such a vivid and immersive game world made Far Cry 2 an exciting step forward for the medium.  Far Cry 3 returns the series to the tropical setting of an island chain in the South Pacific. The story follows Jason Brody, a tourist who has been caught up in a violent civil conflict and must employ his survivalist resourcefulness to escape with his life. Should Ubisoft capitalize on the strengths of the existing formula and do away with the frustrations, Far Cry 3 could not only be be an incredibly captivating title, but one that continues to pioneer where its predecessor left off. Honorable mentions: Metro Last Light, Zone of the Enders HD Collection Additional Staff Picks for PlayStation 3:  Chad Concelmo: Final Fantasy XIII-2, Journey, The Last of UsSean Daisy: Inversion, Journey, The Last GuardianAndrew Kauz: BioShock Infinite, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, Tales of Graces fJonathan Holmes: The Last Guardian, Lollipop Chainsaw, Persona 4: Ultimate Mayonaka ArenaTara Long: Journey, The Last of UsAllistair Pinsof: Dust 514, Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White WitchJonathan Ross: The Last GuardianMaurice Tan: Journey, The Last of UsMax Scoville: Journey, Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White WitchJosh Tolentino: Dust 514, Journey, The Last of Us 
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The past year has been an interesting one for Sony. The PlayStation 3 finally began to hit its stride, a new portable finally emerged, and an "unauthorized intrusion" resulted in a month-long network outage. That major p...

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Beautiful new Journey trailer bigs up the music


Jan 06
// Jim Sterling
This new Journey trailer lays down some phat beats and slammin' rhythms as it showcases the game's music. Get read to dance like a lemur on acid when these intense jams fill your brain.  It's actually incredibly beautiful orchestral stuff that seems to compliment the eerie visual splendor. Which is rather nice. 
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Modder brings thatgamecompany's Journey to Oblivion


Sep 07
// Jordan Devore
Last month, someone got the crazy idea to put Journey's protagonist into The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Granted, this isn't that offbeat an idea when you look at the larger modding context for the game -- my Internet license...
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New Destructoid Episode: What the Fubar?!


Jun 29
// Tara Long
Good evening, Destructoiders, and welcome to another Wednesday edition of the Destructoid show! Today is a special episode for two reasons: one, Max is on a gay cruise, so special guest Jose "Fubar" Sanchez from G4's Elect...

Jimpressions: Journey beta and its unique co-op offering

Jun 29 // Jim Sterling
As you'll gather from our full preview, Journey is all about exploring a strange and mystical world. As a cloaked traveler, you wander the desert, gaining temporary jumping powers with a magic scarf, and letting strange one-note songs ring out to activate presumably ancient structures. "Gameplay" as we typically understand it has been tossed aside to focus on absorbing the player in an engaging world.  The multiplayer is what really stands out, though. Journey's world is accessible to random players who you will simply find while playing. Whether your choose to join them or not is up to you, but they will be working toward the same goals as you, and working together might help you spot hidden goodies.  I stumbled across another player in the beta's second area -- identical to me, with no visible username or real method of communication. Using our ability to let out one-note chirps, however, we were able to gain an understanding of each other. We chirped so we wouldn't lose each other. We touched in order to keep each other's jump ability powered up. We ran across the desert together while chasing flying carpets. The world of Journey is stark, dead and lonely despite its eerie beauty, and that made me want to stick with my new companion all the more. Sliding down a dune with a new friend next to me, chasing carpets. It was magical, to say the least. Co-op games often cause me to lose interest in a game. It's hard to follow a story when you've got someone chatting in your ears, and it's hard to enjoy a game while worrying about looking "bad" in front of another player. Journey, by stripping players of communication and identity, by placing them in a world where they simply explore together, has sidestepped all the usual issues of co-op gaming.  Demon's Souls come to mind when I think about this. That game also used limited communication and an unconventional, perpetual set up in order to create a sense of simultaneous loneliness and camaraderie. It's a beautiful thing, and an experience that only videogames can give us.   I have no idea who I played with. I don't know their PSN username or what they thought about the game.  I had fun though. Whoever you are!
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The beta for thatgamecompany's Journey is available to lucky PlayStation 3 owners this week, and I am pleased to say I'm one of them. Having taken the game for a spin and engaging in its unique multiplayer, I am still finding...

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Claim your Journey beta code before it's too late!


Jun 28
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
[Update: It's over! All codes have been given out!] Journey is the next exclusive PlayStation 3 title from the talented folks over at thatgamecompany. With Journey, they're trying something different with the online component...
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Journey beta announced, details arriving Monday


Jun 24
// Jim Sterling
Those itching to get their hands on thatgamecompany's latest abstract prettiness, Journey, are in for a treat. The Flower developer has announced that a beta for the game is in the works and that details will drop on Monday.&...

Preview: Journey

Jun 03 // Hamza CTZ Aziz
[embed]202052:38983[/embed] Journey (PlayStation Network) Developer: thatgamecompanyPublisher: Sony Computer EntertainmentTo be released: Fall 2011 The journey begins with your main character in the middle of a vast desert. You have no idea why you're placed there and there's no direction given at all of what you're supposed to do. So I did the only reasonable thing and just walked around admiring the environment. The sand is displaced with every step you take with such extreme detail that you can see individual grains of sand move. The environment is huge, and all you can do at first is simply walk around and sing. Pressing the circle button will make your character sing; she will sing differently based on how hard and fast you press down. Holding the circle button will cause your character to build up a big scream-like noise and unleash a small wave of energy around her. Her singing is akin to that of a bird chirping and I found myself just casually making her sing while I moved about; it was quite entertaining. Soon I was able to outfit my character with a scarf. The scarf allows the player to jump into the air and glide around, but each use of the scarf drains its energy. Players will find groups of scarves flying around in the desert; calling to these flying scarves with a song when near them will cause the scarves to lift you into the air and refill your scarf energy. You'll only be able to jump-glide once, but you'll find white glowing energy balls that will extend your scarf's length as well as the amount of jump-glides you can perform. I played through the first three levels, and the scarf was rather long by the end of my session. I can only imagine how long it might get by the end of the game. After getting used to the jumping and gliding for a bit, I found a marking that caught my eye and went to investigate it. Games tend to make your goals or path painfully obvious, but Journey goes about it differently: it relies on how the curiosity of the player. You're in a massive space, but there will be points of interest scattered throughout the world that will seemingly draw you to them. Still, if you find yourself getting lost, the world has a natural barrier to set you back toward the right path. You'll find that the there are strong gusts of winds surrounding the levels; they push you back and cause you to tumble to the ground. It took me about three tries of walking into the wind to realize that this is basically Journey's version of the classic invisible wall. Watching my character fall each time was a little funny, until I realized you actually have no arms. Then I felt a bit bad, actually. The next level continues by giving you your first real challenge. There is a bridge you need to cross, but it's been destroyed at multiple points. I made my way to the gigantic carpets attached to rocks around the level. Going up to the carpets and singing to them released a swarm of small scarves that made their way to the bridge, creating a path for me to cross. Once completed, I crossed the bridge and came face-to-face with a figure that looked like my character, but was much bigger and had a white aura surrounding her. My impression was that she was some sort of goddess. I encountered this goddess a few times, and each interaction with her caused my cowl to fill with hieroglyphic art. Eventually your entire cowl will become decorated, and this process increases the size of your cowl, too. You're also presented with a little story, but it won't make any sense. The next area saw me in more desert lands with plenty of huge hills lying around. Your character slows down when climbing up steep hills, and actually slides down them. You can slide around even on flat surfaces if you have enough momentum. Soon I came across a new type of scarf creature, this one in the shape of a kite. It reminded me of Carpet from Aladdin -- it actually interacts with you and is full of life as it flies in the air. There was no obvious path to go but I soon realized that I was supposed to follow my new friend (let's just call him Carpet). Carpet kept a nice pace ahead of me but would slow down every now and again when I was falling too far behind. Eventually Carpet led me to a place where I helped release several mini-Carpets. It almost felt like a family reunion. The Carpet gang continued moving forward, and I even caught a ride with them from time to time. The Carpets led me to a large building shrouded in darkness. Something about this building instilled a feeling of instant dread, but that didn't last long -- the demo ended right before I could explore the place. The desert isn't the only place we'll be exploring; there are multiple environments planned. Based on the trailer from last year, we at least know to expect a snow-based section. If I have one complaint with Journey, it was that the camera controls are tied to the Sixaxis movements. It was rough getting the camera to spin in the way I wanted it to. This issue only arose when I just wanted to take in the environment. Otherwise, the camera is very good at staying with you if you don't mess around with it. I'd prefer the camera controls to be mapped to the joystick, and thatgamecompany is still evaluating between Sixaxis and joystick controls. Journey is also going to have co-op, but not in the traditional way. thatgamecommpany is re-imaging how gamers will play with each other. You will be able to play through the game entirely by yourself, but along the way, you may come across other people on the same journey as you. You can completely ignore others or help them; the choice is yours. There is no voice or text communication and you won't even see a person's PSN ID tag. The only means of communication will be with the singing button. This even means you can't play with PSN friends, either. You won't ever know who you're playing with. thatgamecompany is challenging the idea of what it means to play with others online and wants to give a new take on the experience. The studio's creative director and co-founder, Jenova Chen, stated that they're approaching the online experience like this because they "find that the majority of console online game today is about competition. While it does connect a lot of people together, a majority of time they're focusing on executing the power in their hand rather than focusing on trying to understand or trying to really read the other player. "So we wanted to create an environment where you actually want to pay attention to the other player." Sadly, there were some technical issues with my hands-on session, so I couldn't see exactly how this online experience actually works. Journey will be at E3 next week, so we'll give it another try to see what the co-op is all about. Regardless, I was blown away by what Journey is. The game is just stunningly gorgeous and what I played was mesmerizing.
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About fifteen minutes into my hands-on with thatgamecompany's Journey, I realized that the odd sense of déjà vu I was getting was a feeling I hadn't experienced since I was about seven years old. The Super Ninte...







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