(Spoilers for Journey) I first played Journey by thatgamecompany around a year ago after much recommendation and a discount had presented itself, but wasn’t as moved by it as a lot of others seemed to be. However, I decided to play again and first off all I have to say is “wow.” And then I have to say a lot more. It was almost better the second time. If I had to guess, I would say most of the issues my first time around revolved around a confusion as to whether or not other characters were being controlled by other players or by bots. My greater understanding of the issue got rid of this issue on the second play-through. Here are my thoughts on the meaning of Journey:
Journey is a game that is allegorical of the life that humans’ lead; the journey of life, if you will. At the start you are placed all alone in the middle of the desert with nothing but a vague destination as to where you’re going. You have to initially go through it by yourself, but wish that other people were there with you. Quickly you’ll meet someone and together you cross bridges and discover new things. After a brief period, you are separated from this person and this is symbolic of how you don’t stay with one partner for long. You continue anyways, always experiencing life’s ups and downs via the sand dunes but always finding something special in it, like the stone structures or the carpet birds and getting over it. You’ll continue to meet new people who come and go, some longer than others. Some will be more chatty, often pressing O for the fun chirping noise or holding it for a deeper longer tone, and other will be more quiet and let you do the “talking.”
There’ll be some truly beautiful sights to see along the way, such as the gorgeous sunset and/on the sand, especially in the scene directly before you go underground. The truly amazing graphics show how beautiful life can be, and illustrate how better graphics can actually enhance a game’s message and story. The previously mentioned underground is like the hard times everyone comes to in their lives. You just have to get past your personal demons (the dragon-like creatures) and march through it, whether you’re with someone or alone. Eventually you’ll come back on top and things will be bright again. By the time some areas have passed back above ground, you’ll eventually find a partner you have pretty good rhythm with and stick with through the obstacles. Together you’ll climb the mountain and eventually die when you reach the top, i.e. the end of your “journey.” A short but very uplifting final act reminds you that when you end your journey you’ll be very happy.
Overall, Journey was a really amazing game that I’ll definitely be playing again. The whole “journey” lasts about 2 hours, which admittedly is pretty short for a video-game but feels just right in this case. Make sure to play online, as you can’t really get the whole experience without others alongside you. You can make it through life all alone, but it’s just not as fun as having others there to experience it with you. Journey is developed by thatgamecompany and available exclusively on Playstation 3 for $14.99.