Flower is secretly one of my all-time favourite games, so when thatgamecompany announced they were releasing a new abstract game titled Journey I was naturally excited. Thus far Journey has received positive vibes around the industry but after playing the game for roughly 15 minutes I felt like my journey with the game had come to an abrupt end.
I’m not one to dismiss a game simply because I don’t understand it; I’m actually a huge advocate of titles which offer a completely new gameplay experience. However as much as I hate to say this; Journey felt like the most boring expedition that anyone has ever embarked on…. ever!
In the instructionless demo shown at EXGP, you control a genderless drifter who is slowing trekking through a beautifully stylized desert for a reason unbeknown to the player. You walk, walk, and walk some more before eventually discovering small ruins and power-ups for your scarf which allows you to fly for a short period of time. By using words such as “power-up” and “fly” I’ve probably made the demo sound much more exciting than it actually was. For the most part, I was merely holding the analog stick forward and watching my character sluggishly tread through the sand as if he/she doesn’t have a care in the world. I understand that Journey is supposed to be an ambiguous and visceral game (hence the lack of instructions or direction) but that doesn’t exactly equate to “fun”, which is something that I expect my videogames to provide.
Although I was only shown the single player portion of the game, Journey will also feature an online component which allows other players to appear in your game without prior knowledge or consent. I’m not sure how the introduction of other players will affect gameplay but hopefully it will prove to liven up the experience somehow. I’m hopeful that Journey will reveal a sense of purpose early on in the game because at the moment it seems to only appeal to those who enjoy wondering in the wilderness. thatgamecompany have proved that they are capable of creating digital masterpieces but Journey still has a long way to go before it can be ranked amongst the likes of Flower.