PlayStation Rewind is a series where we remember a game from PlayStation past, revisiting an old title that still lingers in our memories.
Journey was a 2012 PS3 game published exclusively on the console’s PlayStation Network online service, swiftly becoming one of the platform’s must-own releases. The game centers around an unnamed robe-wearing protagonist, with two players working cooperatively online to reach the top of a mountain together.
Why is it worth remembering?
To this day, Journey is one of the most affecting multiplayer video game experiences you’re likely to find. Developer Thatgamecompany’s decision to conceal everything about your co-op partner’s identity, from their PSN ID being hidden to zero voice chat, meant that your relationship with them was forged entirely by your actions in-game.
The drop-in, drop-out nature of online play also meant that you could pair up with multiple players in a playthrough, and get a feel for their personalities just based on how they interacted with you and the world around them. Despite only being a brief experience at just two hours long, it wraps up with a satisfying conclusion in which you finally learn the usernames of the players you met along the way, adding a name to the mysterious figures you’ve journeyed with.
What did the PlayStation LifeStyle review say?
PlayStation LifeStyle gave Journey a 9.5 out of 10 in our review back in 2012, calling it “PlayStation Network’s must-own magnum opus.”
Reviewer Sebastian Moss said:
Some will be disappointed by how quickly the game ends, but the two hours that mark your journey is the most incredible and unique you can possibly have on your PS3. Flower is often used as an example of how games are art, but Flower is a mere sketch compared to the oil painting that is Journey. With perfect music, gorgeous visuals and powerful single and multiplayer experiences, Journey is the PlayStation Network’s must own magnum opus.
What was Journey’s legacy?
Journey had a sizeable impact on not just its players, but the wider gaming industry. 2012 was bombarded with a slew of big-budget, expansive releases such as Mass Effect 3, Halo 4, and Far Cry 3, yet here was this two-hour game that left such an impression, it won Game of the Year at the D.I.C.E. Awards 2012.
While games continue to struggle with this, Journey highlighted how a compact but perfectly paced experience could find an audience — not everything needs to be a 40-hour epic in order to tell its story, and in some cases, shorter is better.
Journey also highlighted the value of cheaper digital downloads, making for a successful PSN exclusive for Sony even though it was a budget release. In the days of Game Pass and PS Plus, a game below the $60+ mark receiving such widespread acclaim might not seem so alien, but back in 2012 only a limited number of smaller indie titles had achieved such heights. Journey will go down as one of the most celebrated indie games of all time, and is still one of the most remarkable multiplayer experiences you can have.
What did you think of Journey?
Let us know your thoughts on Journey in the comments below. Was it overrated? Underrated? Or did critics get it right?