You can only experience Journey once for the first time. Very few games can accomplish this level of beauty and serenity, coupled with simple, but mastered gameplay. That is Journey at its heart. So should you choose to play it for the first time, it will touch yours.
Back in June 2012 I fell in love with Journey. It was immediately obvious that this game was something special and unique. There is no dialogue, but once you climb the crest of the first hill the goal is simple. Reach the beacon of light at the top of the mountain.
From that sand dune marked with the grave markers of your fallen people you embark on a pilgrimage that will woo your eyes and ears. A simple yet colourful graphic design and colour palette and a soundtrack that at times will get you swaying in the dunes as you sand surf parts of the terrain.
The initial playthrough of Journey is the most impactful and important one, but it’s not your last. Journey is both long enough and short enough that it warrants, bordering on demands repeated playthroughs. Each completion remembers what you have found or haven’t found, and rewards you with pattern markers. Eventually you will discover everything, and then be rewarded with bonus which gives the player a regenerating jump meter. Such a simple reward, yet one which changes the nature of the game. As it turns a thoughtful process of knowing when to save your jump/glide ability to scale obstacles or cross large gaps, into a faster paced game, and the more you remember the better you can get.
Journey knows you want more. So much so one of its trophies requires you to wait a week before completing another Journey. Be it the new crisp graphics upgraded from a fuzz 720p to a crisp clean 1080p, upgraded from 30fps to 60fps, which help showcase the more subtle particle effects, colour depth and brilliance of the games lighting in certain sections. If one could argue how to make a perfect game more perfect, that is it. Journey on PS4 is the best experience Journey can give you as a player, and all without saying a word.
There is no way to speak to any other player, all you have is a call button, which sounds like the combination of a bird tweeting and the strum of a stringed instrument chord. this acts two-fold. one is to activate certain murals or cloth based ruins around each puzzled section, or to give any possible randomly encountered co-op player a sound cue to your location should you choose to travel together.
This is the beauty of Journey. without so much as a word, with no way to communicate a plan of action or state any subtle nuance between the two of you, even so much as an outside force like a phone going off, you can’t know or be told. So you can choose to go on a Journey alone, or together with someone. You could meet at the beginning of the game from when you open the first gate, or meet half way up the mountain to the ultimate destination it doesn’t matter. Journey provides you with the simplest of options, which you answer not with words but actions. Which provides you with a multitude of player options, from such a simple game.
While you can only have a first time experience once. Coming back to one of the best games of 2012 in its new glorious beauty, only leads you to smile and memories of just how good it was back then, and still is today. If you have never played Journey before, this is a game which you should not miss out on. Maybe you had an Xbox 360 back then, and only just got a PS4. This should be a part of your gaming library, and once you have completed it, will likely become a standard bearer in quality.
Priced at £12 for non-Playstation Plus members (PS+) or just over £9 for PS+ members with Cross-Buy compatibility, meaning if you purchased Journey previously on Playstation 3 anywhere from 2012 to a few months ago. You get to play it on Playstation 4 for free. Which for not only how high calibur this is, winning a multitude of awards in 2012 & 2013 expanding across the board, not just Game of the Year. Journey is now a perfect must-experience only on Playstation 4 for gamers.