Games are a form of art, it's a known fact and it was even ruled as such by the U.S. Supreme Court. Art is meant to entertain, to inspire, but more than anything it's supposed to teach you something profound about yourself or the world. It may be subtle, or it could be the entire reason the art exists, but there's no denying that all art is profound in some way, shape, or form.
Thanks to a studio called "That Game Company" we've seen some incredible PS3 and PS4 indie games that leave that profound impression on us. Their second game, Flower, was a resoundingly beautiful message about how nature and humans co-exist and why we need to be mindful of the things we build and the land that we claim as our own.
Image via That Game Company
In the case of Journey, the incredible game first released on PS3 in 2012 to rave reviews. Now, it's on PS4 and if you already played it on PS3, it's free to download since the title is cross-buy approved. Whether you're a Journey veteran or a curious observer, now is the time to play this incredible game. Why, you ask? I'm so very glad you did.
A Profound and Emotional Adventure
Aren't you glad I did call it a journey? Kidding aside, this game was immediately praised for having a simple, yet incredibly deep and emotional story. It doesn't force you to sit through hours of cut scenes, in fact, the game itself is only an hour or two in length. Don't let that stop you though, there are plenty of reasons to come back. Not to mention, this is an experience worth partaking in, and it won't cost you as much as a trip to the movies either.
I won't dare talk too much about the story here as that would be a cardinal sin to spoil a game like this. Suffice to say, you play the game in a third-person perspective, moving your cloaked character through a gorgeous desert while atmospheric music composed by Austin Wintory sets the tone perfectly. You'll do some light platforming and solve simple puzzles, but mostly you're there to take in the sights and explore the vast areas.
You may see other players who look similar to you. Nope, those aren't NPCs, those are real people. You can't see their PSN I.D or chat with them, at least not until the game is over, but they are indeed real human beings exploring the same world as you. Without ever saying a word to each other, people will constantly team up, solving puzzles and unearthing collectibles that expand your abilities.
That sense of camaraderie is powerful and primal. You cannot communicate with them in any meaningful way, and yet that connection is so easily forged. The experience of Journey is so emotional because it taps into those very basic instincts that we all have. The world of the game is a lonely place, and the prospect of having someone with you is so very tempting as a result. No trash talk, no jokes, just sweet somber music and a quiet companion to travel with.
As you unravel the mysteries of this world and ultimately the goal of your "journey," the game further delves into this most basic of emotions, bringing them to the light in a way that no other game has ever done. It's best experienced in a single sitting and doubly so if you meet someone who is willing to walk this path with you.
It's a game that says more than most without uttering a single word. It's art at its finest, and it is a completely profound and memorable experience that I think anyone and everyone should undertake. So, that's why the game deserves your $14.99, but what makes the PS4 version so different?
Art in HD: The PS4 Edge
When Journey first released on PS3, I loved the graphics. The sharp colors, the glistening light on the sands that seemingly covered everything, it was all perfect. Going back to it now though I realize that a lot of the detail was lost in a lower resolution and the edges of objects and shadows looked a bit jagged. The game could have looked better, and now it does.
Two aspects, the 1080p and 60 frames-per-second, bring this game back to life in a big way. Everything pops in a much better fashion, and the buttery smooth gameplay is made even better by the enhanced frame rate. It feels right at home on the PS4, as these things typically do.
Yes, Journey is short, but it is something that anyone can appreciate. Heck, it's even a meaningful game for kids too! Don't expect it to take an entire month to beat, or even a day. Instead, expect it to leave a lasting impression on you that few games, movies, books, or comics manage to do. You'll come back to it again, and again. It's a must-play game for the PS4.
Article by: Bradley Ramsey
Insert date: 7/27/15