David Whitworth   Brunswick, Niedersachsen, Germany
I review games for the Devils in the Detail. Feel free to follow us! Also, any feedback on my reviews is greatly appreciated, of course!
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8.3 Hours played
»The people he met, the places he passed, were all steps in his journey, and he kept a place inside his heart for each of them.«
— Rachel Joyce

🟢 Pros
  • One of the most gorgeous art-styles
  • Beautiful soundtrack
  • Fluid animations
  • Natural guiding of the player
  • Amazingly unique multiplayer experience  
  • The journey is fairly short
    (read below why this isn't listed as a "Con")

🎮 Gameplay
The game works perfectly well on both controller and mouse + keyboard.
Journey is basically a Walking Simulator, in which you journey (no pun intended) through a vast but very linear world, that is segmented into smaller areas. Your task, in each of those areas, is to reach and activate a shrine at its end. To do so, you must use your magical scarf that enables short-term flight, allowing you to reach high and/or distant platforms, as well as the power of your voice that serves as a means to communicate with other players and to breathe new life into the friendly Cloth Creatures you meet along the way. Press to make a small noise, hold and release for a burst around you.

Your scarf has a very limited length, i.e. capacity for flight, and you have to recharge it, by coming into contact with Cloth Creatures, before you can use it again. However, exploration rewards you with glowing symbols that extend the length and capacity of your scarf.

Whenever you reach the end of an area and activate the shrine, you are presented with a new piece of the world's history, and ultimately future, and can then progress to the next section of the game. Additionally, there is some very limited climbing, allowing you to reach ledges that are about waist-high, and downhill sliding, which even becomes the main focus of a chapter down the line.

👨‍❤️‍💋‍👨 Multiplayer Magic
Another extremely important aspect of the game is the very, very unique multiplayer component. While you do start out alone, you eventually encounter other players (one at a time, only one if you stick together from start to finish), with whom you can co-operate on your journey. The beauty of it is that you can't see their username or communicate in any way with them, except for the little sounds you can make with a button press. You have no way of telling whether it is "♥♥♥♥♥ Destroyer", "SniperMaster666" or that "Manostion" person, and since there is no way of griefing, all encounters I had in all of my play-throughs have been magical in a way that no other multiplayer experience could ever provide for me, while also eliminating any language barriers.

The way it works is, that you randomly see another player running around the world and it feels like a natural thing to stick together, communicating by making small one-note noises. Of course you can decide to do your own thing and ignore the other person but that will not hinder them in any way, either. On the other hand, sticking together makes the journey much more pleasant and even easier, because other players also refill your scarf charge, when you touch them. Additionally, whenever a player is hit by another player's voice burst, their scarf charges also get slightly refilled, meaning that you're able to progress much faster by co-operating with other players, but at the same time can't hinder their progress in any way.

One interesting effect, that had on me and others, was that whenever I lost track of my co-op partner, I would hope that the next person I met was that same player from before, longing to be re-united with them.

At the end of the game's credits, after finishing your journey, you will finally see the names of the people who traveled alongside you.

📖 Story / Presentation
The story in this game is told in two different ways, namely environmental story-telling via the ruins of an ancient civilization, and as a look back on the world's history via simplistic but animated murals. Much of what happened and is happening is left to the player's interpretation as the game contains no dialogue, which actually works in Journey's favor, since that allows the journey to mean something else for everybody. And, of course, I do have my own interpretation, that makes the most sense to me but, of course, I'm not going to tell you my personal version, as that would not only potentially spoil the plot/lore but also potentially tilt your perspective, preventing you from reading your own messages into it.

»It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.«
— Ursula K. Le Guin
One thing, that does become clear, is how important the mountain is and the way this is hammered into your subconscious is amazing. thatgamecompany manages to subtly direct you in the right direction from the very start of the game and wherever you're going, that mountain is in the background, slowly but surely getting closer. Fittingly, the first piece of mandatory mural history you see, begins with a depiction of that same mountain.

There is a lot more I could say but the less you know approaching this game, the better.

💻 Graphics / Art-style
Journey's visual presentation is timeless and looks as breathtakingly gorgeous now as it did back in 2012(!), due to its great art-style. However, that's not to say that the graphics aren't similarly great. The sand and snow react to your every move and even the weight of your scarf as you drag it along, the animations are wonderfully fluent, and the glistening of the sand, achieved by using specular maps that only make small dots shiny, looks brilliant. There are also some additional effects, like the desert heat distorting the view, or sand sticking to your clothes, that make the game that much more beautiful.

🎼 Soundtrack
The score is a masterpiece that supports the mood of the moment, be it wonder and awe, or dread and desperation, perfectly. There are as many hopeful tunes as there are sinister ones and they are used at just the right moments. If publisher Annapurna Interactive were to release the game's soundtrack as a DLC, I'd get it immediately.

💯 Performance
No issues to report of.

Tested with the following setup:
AMD Ryzen 7 3700X @3.60 GHz
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060
🔀 Supports [Alt]+[Tab]: Excellently
The game does not run, without some fiddling around, on Phenom CPUs, so keep that in mind if you have one.

💰 Business Model
Buy the game, play the game.
No paid DLCs, items, loot boxes.

📋 Conclusion
Rarely was a game's title as fitting as in this case. The game is awfully short but boy, is it a journey. And I think the relatively short length of roughly one and a half hours actually works in favor of the experience and helps players stick together until the end (since you can't agree on a new time to continue together).

To loop back to the initial quote, much like the game loops back to the beginning of a new Journey each time, I want to thank toaster messiah for taking almost the entire trip with me, start to finish, as well as Ya Boi for one very brief encounter early on (first play-through).

If you take a wrong step along your own Journey and end up in Hell, make sure to visit the Devils in the Detail.

Recent Activity

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last played on Oct 11
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A fresh week has come! Open your mind for opportunities, and you will be amazed at how much you are capable of achieving!
Felien Oct 10 @ 2:52pm 
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Cracktus Jack Oct 6 @ 7:52am 
I love the way you've structured your reviews! Hope to be reading more of them in the future!
toaster messiah Sep 20 @ 1:14pm 
Thank you very much for one of the coolest and the most wholesome gaming experiences I've ever had, in Journey - and super nice of you to mention me in the review :)
✪ Flurry the Furry Sep 2 @ 10:05am 
ich habe eine frage an dich bezüglich eines spieles
Felien Aug 19 @ 8:56am 
Have a nice day! :cutefox: