Did you know the Companions you met along the way in Journey were Real People?

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With the whole COVID-19 situation and the resulting quarantine, many brands are doing their best to encourage people to stay at home and practice social distancing. Sony has also decided to jump on the bandwagon and has offered its PlayStation 4 users, two free games without any need for PlayStation Plus subscription.

Even though those free games aren’t any two of your choice; the Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is the game nobody would say no to. But have you ever played Journey? If not, this is your chance to enjoy this highly soothing and simple yet interesting video game. I suggest you to first play the game then read this review if you want to be as shocked and mesmerized as i was in the end.

Journey was launched back in 2012 on the PlayStation 3 and has, since then, expanded its platforms. It is now available on Microsoft Windows (PC)PlayStation 4, and iOS. Since I didn’t know about it, I was curious and decided to try it out. Here’s what it’s all about.

Image: playstation.com

Journey is an Indie Adventure game where the player is assigned the role of a cloaked traveler who has to make a journey through sandy deserts, abandoned buildings, and snowy foothills of the mountain he has to reach. The traveler has a scarf, which gives him the ability to jump. The scarf can be elongated via some glowing symbols, which increases the duration of the jumps.

In addition to that, there are also some cloth creatures that guide you where necessary. The traveler can interact with them by pressing the speak button and upon interacting, they recharge the travelers jumping ability. There is also a set of rock creatures with spotlights on their heads. Coming in contact with the spotlight damages the traveler by shortening his scarf.

The game has an overall mystic vibe to it and you can often feel like you’re in some sort of a spiritual journey out of a Paulo Cohelo novel. This seems more likely at the end of each level where the traveler comes face to face with a divine being that’s in the form of a white-cloaked person. A couple of those beings also help the traveler recover when he passes out in a blizzard towards the end of the game.

The music has to be the best part of the game. It’s soothing, mysterious, and gives you a sense of purpose that can’t be explained and has to be heard to feel. The same is the case with graphics and imagery. The graphics aren’t the most advanced but they do result in smooth gameplay. The visuals are artistic and attention to detail spot on. I especially like the fact the mountain, which is the final destination, is visible throughout the game on the horizon and slowly grows in size when the traveler draws nearer.

Something that most people won’t realize is that this game is actually a Multiplayer. Yes, you’ve read that right. Throughout the game, the traveler will come across similar cloaked travelers who can be interacted with (via the speak button). The other travelers may seem like help bots but are actual people playing the game with you. You can either choose to go with the companion or part ways.

When a person is offline, their traveler appears to be meditating at the spot where they left the game. Once you finish the game, it then shows you all the players you’ve interacted with on the way. There’s a whole dedicated screen which says, “Companions Met Along The Way” where it displays the usernames of the people who’ve played with you.

One of the things that made this different from any other game that I have ever played before is the fact that there is no text or verbal communication. You can only use the speak button, which allows your player to make a monotone sound to interact with magical cloth creatures and other players. Even the game doesn’t give any textual hints. Everything that needs to be interacted with, gives off a special glow or shimmer and the players can navigate through that.

Overall, Journey was unlike anything I had ever played before. It was replacing, captivating, and somehow emotional. It took under two hours for me to finish from start to end but playing it gave me a higher sense of purpose and a feeling of accomplishment. All of this seems absurd, especially when talking about a game but you have to experience it to know what I’m talking about.

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