‘Journey’ PlayStation 4 Review
Platforms PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 Genre Adventure
Developer Thatgamecompany, Tricky Pixels Publisher Sony Computer Entertainment
Journey helped legitimise digital only gaming releases, showcasing how a digital game could provide an experience that not only matched the AAA powerhouses of the gaming world, but eclipse that standard by a grand margin.
Journey on PlayStation 4 is as breathtaking as I stated in my original PlayStation 3 review. The new PlayStation 4 version boasts an improved 1080p resolution and 60fps gameplay, but aside from these improvements very little else has changed from that original journey I took three years ago.
The 1080p visual improvements don’t offer a drastic jump in visual brilliance, due to the unique and colourful art style of the original release. The PlayStation 4 version is certainly the best visual representation of the experience, with impeccable lighting shining on the sparkling desert, gorgeous colours jumping from the screen, and the free flowing nature of your characters red hood. Like my recent review of God of War III Remastered, the visuals improvements are definitely noticeable, but due to the short time frame between the original release and the PlayStation 4 v version the visual jump isn’t extremely profound. Journey was gorgeous when it originally released and the artistic style coupled with a beautiful soundtrack, still provide one of the best visual and audio partnerships available in the industry. One that will make you stop and bask in its brilliance, time and time again.
Journey puts you in control of an unknown red hooded traveler, who seeks reaching the towering mountain in the distance. There are a few visions showcased in-between locations that help further explain the narrative taking place, but for the most part the experience is in the journey itself. Unlike most narrative driven releases, Journey avoids dialogue of any kind, instead allowing the player to interpret the experience themselves. It’s within this narrative freedom where I was able to truly immerse myself in this vague journey, instead of marching to the clap of the typical narrative beats, I was able to explore and engage in this unknown world as I wanted. The sense of exploration I felt three years ago was once again rekindled, with each discovery of abandoned locations and archaic ruins emphasising the true beauty and wonder Journey is able to capture.
Though Journey is certainly an emotionally provocative experience, it isn’t a lengthy one. One of my major complaints of Journey in my original experience was the short length, with the entire adventure able to be completed within a couple of hours; while earning every trophy available will only provide an extra hour or two. Journey is a relaxing game, one that doesn’t aim to provide brain bending puzzles, or difficult boss battles. Journey is short but sweet, delivering an emotional journey that will resonate with you for days and weeks after the end credits begin to roll.
Originally I never experienced the online portion of Journey. Fortunately playing the PlayStation 4 version at launch has finally allowed me to experience the online features, and I loved it. Journey allows players to randomly encounter a fellow traveler, who is simply another player making their journey to the mountain top above. There is almost no interaction between each player, aside from the ability to chirp at one another, nor is there any way to find out who the player is until after the credits have ended.
This multiplayer experience is unbelievably powerful, and the connection I felt with this unknown individual was incredible. I felt a strong bond between myself and this unknown traveler, as we solved puzzles side by side, helped each other find collectables and made the emotional journey all the way to its conclusion. Journey‘s emotional adventure is made ever more memorable due to this unique multiplayer offering, emphasising powerful teamwork and friendship with little effort.
Journey on PlayStation 4 doesn’t offer anything beyond the original PlayStation 3 experience, aside from a slight visual improvement that doesn’t necessarily make much difference due to the unique art style. But what Journey on PlayStation 4 does provide is an excuse to replay one of the most evocative, emotionally driven and memorable experiences the gaming industry has ever produced.
Though Journey can be over quick, the short adventure is wonderful and one I recommend every gamer experience at least once in their lifetime.
Gorgeous art style at its best.
Powerful multiplayer component.
…albeit a very short one.