Maybe it was all a dream. No…it was real.

Imagine being stranded in a desert, alone and with but one landmark in sight: a grandiose mountain with a small beacon of light emitting from its peak.You are an unknown figure in a red cloak whose identity is completely masked. It could be you or anybody making this journey. The path you choose to take is your own and the abilities you acquire along the way are yours for the taking. The beginning of every journey lies with one single step, are you ready…?

As for the rest of the journey, I leave that to you.

Playing through Journey was truly a unique experience. It was not comprised of high energy action, cheap scares, nor any massive multiplayer competitions.  What Journey did provide was a beautiful atmosphere, immense landscape, a haunting musical score, a story without words and companionship without names or conversation.

The scenery you travel through simply glistens and moves with your red cloaked figure. The sunset casts orange hues over the vast desert and gusty winds slow your travel and make your cloak soar at every angle. From ruins to stone pillars to vast unknown territories, the lighting and shadows all but pull you into the atmosphere where there are seemingly no boundaries.

However, the gorgeous landscapes you travel would feel much more lifeless if not for the accompanying soundtrack. Music is a powerful tool that when put in the right hands can make even the simplest of things turn into an emotional masterpiece. The musical score shadowing your travels ranges from quiet intrigue to complete silence to ominous foreboding. It moves and adjusts with you, adding to the atmosphere and never detracting from what you are doing.

As for the actual story of Journey, it is given to the you by means of stone wall drawings at various points throughout your travels.  As you move forward the stone pictures mark your progress and show the next obstacle ahead; even including a picture of you and any companions that may have joined you through that section of the trip. The story is left entirely up to interpretation; there is no concrete meaning attached to these drawings, nor should there be, as the entire game is purposely left without written or spoken word.

Speaking of companions, even though Journey appears to be a solo experience, it has a multiplayer aspect that speaks more than words can simply express. By playing online, if you enter an area with someone else the two of you can move forward together, helping each other with tasks, directions, obstacles and even gaining power by staying close to each other.  The only communication between you is a small symbol accompanied by various orchestral notes and a bright light.  You have no way of knowing this person’s name and you have no true lingual form of communication – and it is probably one of the most astounding aspects of this game. This companionship and ability to work together provides a deep and powerful message – one that will stay with you.

Maybe names, appearances, language – all of those barriers that we, as an entire population of people, rely so heavily upon are really what’s holding us back. Think of what could be accomplished if we put those differences aside for a change.

It is a gaming experience that stays with you long after the credits have played. The people you meet along the way become more than just a helpful hand and by the end of the journey you will feel an emotional attachment to these nameless  faceless people who shared side by side in your combined triumphs and trials.

It is an experience you will not soon forget ~ a dream you may never truly wake up from, or even want to.

Advertisements