Monday, November 4, 2013

Archview #66: Journey Collector's Edition

 One of the finest games I've played this year.
 Who hasn't heard of Journey already? It won several Game of the Year awards in 2012 and recieved even more in accolades and other honors. While initially released as a downloadable game, Sony saw it fit to release a retail package, alongside other thatgamecompany's downloadable games. Presented in this package are Flow, Flower and Journey, alongside 3 minigames.
 The three minigames are just that, minigames. They are visually simple, and their mechanics are even simpler. First we have "Duke War!!!", a multiplayer game in which each player takes control a Duke, as they produce peasants, build towers and gather gold for the king. Everything is done with a single button, and it's actually really fun. "Gravediggers" has you play as a green pixel(Player one) and a blue pixel(Player 2), you have to kill zombies with your weapon(Gun, shotgun, explosives) and trade their skulls for points, if you die, you turn into a zombie and can instakill anything, but you can't carry skulls and must recover your own if you want to revive. Lastly, there's "Nostril Shot", the worst of the bunch, but easily the most visually appealing. Here you play as a very animeish girl, that can turn into a chubbier version of herself as she kills enemies in order to rack up points.
 Of the bigger games, first I'll deal with Flow. Honestly? I didn't like it, at all. It's very boring, although some may call it relaxing. You are a simple micro-organism that must eat other organisms in order to grow. Most of the fodder is harmless, but there are bigger organisms that actually try to eat you back. Eventually you can change into a different organism with a different attribute(The initial one, for example, can boost while pressing any button). The game also has different plains, you traverse "deeper" by eating red organisms, or go one plane "above" by eating a blue one. Still, my biggest beef with this game are the controls, the game uses the motion sensors of the Dual Shock 3, which means tilting and turning. Even after I learned the controls, it still felt annoying.
 Then comes Flower, which is pretty alright. Once again, this is played with motion controls, but this time they nailed it, as it feels pretty alright. In this game you guide the wind and must pass through flowers to collect their petals into your gust. As you go through flowers, you slowly bring back color to the world, plus, there are some surprises as you get to the end of the game. This one is very fun and relaxing, plus, it's nice to look at.
 Then comes the centerpiece of this package, Journey. Going to in-depth about it would spoil the otherwise fantastic... journey the game takes you through. You only have two different actions: Jumping and emiting sounds. Jumping is limited by the size of your scarf, which must be charged by coming into contact with special pieces of cloth. You can increase the size of your scarf by collecting hidden glyphs throughout the game. Sounds are used to interact with many different things throughout the game. There's also multiplayer, in which you are teamed up with a nameless random player(You appear nameless to them too) and the only way to interact is by making sounds. This game is beautiful and the soundtrack is phenomenal, both come together with the gameplay to make for a truly unique experience. This is everyone must play. And hey, it's only 2 hours long!
 Sadly, the package leaves a bit to bit desired. While there are a ton of extras, from trailers, the soundtrack to developer comentary, it has one major flaw... every game must be installed. And even after being installed, you still need the disc to play them. But at least you get Journey on a disc.
 Flow: 2 out of 10
 Flower: 6 out of 10
 Journey: 10 out of 10
 Journey's Collector Edition: 9 out of 10

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