Journey Beta Impressions

Journey is the new game from Flower developer, Thatgamecompany and will be released later this year exclusively for the PSN. Much like Flower, the game has no story and it’s just you traversing over a long distance in order to get to your destination.

The game starts pretty much immediately showing you the vastness of the lonely desert you will have to cross. The main protagonist you will be in Journey is a Star Wars-style Jawa only taller and lankier. Much like Jawas this character you will be has long robes to protect itself from the heat of the burning desert sun.

There’s no dialogue or speech in this game as the visuals aids are enough to tell you what to do next. At the very start you will walk a few meters and then you will know the purpose is to walk a very long way to get to a specific volcano. Journey is pretty much like Lord of the Rings minus all the battles with orcs and the like.

As this was a beta, I did not encounter any other players on my “journey”. However the game does support a very unique co-op style of gameplay. This is because players will not know who they are interacting with as players cannot communicate with one another and all the gamertags are hidden. Journey’s Game Designer, Jenova Chen did this on purpose as travellers in the real world will not have help from friends but from strangers as well. It’s an interesting concept that helps Journey separate itself from many other games out there.

The only way players could interact with another is by pressing the circle button which pretty much signals to other players like a beacon. Other players can choose to respond or not respond to your request…

Visually, Journey’s 2D style graphics are breathtaking. Its artistic design remind me a lot of Shadow of the Colossus and ICO only that it is set in a desert. I’m hoping the full game will introduce other environments but it’s not looking very likely at this stage.

In terms of controls they are very simple to master. At this stage there’s only circle to communicate with players and objects, and the x button to jump. You can only jump if you collect certain pieces of glowing carpet-like objects. Although this was only a 30 minute long beta, I’m predicting more controls will have to be mastered as I’m sure more complex puzzles will challenge the player to their journey to the great mountain.

Journey is a unique title that has breathtaking visuals and a style of gameplay that hasn’t been implemented on any other game I’ve played recently. It may be a slow-paced kind of game for some players, but I’m sure it will intrigue others. The full game is expected to be released later this year and I for one cannot wait for the end result.