I just finished Journey the second time, and after watching the credits I start to think about what make this game unique. There are two things left in my mind, these are beautiful images and really fluent control experience. I have to say, this game is more like a movie.
(Unfortunately, I am not lucky enough to find another player who happens to play Journey at the same time. So I don’t have multi-play experience about Journey)
Game is a kind of experience, and should provide some emotions, which, I believe, is what Jenova pursues. Though the story is quite direct, (some may say it has a very profound plot, whatever.) Journey is an unbelievable experience. Its vision is too beautiful so that you don’t pay much attention on caring about other complicated things. A simple and direct story is good enough, or it will affect the immersion in gorgeous images. During the play, most of the time I forgot that I was playing a game, since I don’t need think about the strategy and even don’t need to press hard button combinations. I was totally lost in the experience Jenovo presented in the game. Moreover, I believe Journey borrows many techniques from film industry, e.g. the cut-scenes are well edited and the camera position is calculatedly located, e.g. the Journey title appears at the very beginning when you enter a new game and the camera will zoom out, which just like the beginning of a movie. In whole, this game provides a movie-like experience to players.
Moreover, the control experience is terrifically polished. User experience is insanely emphasized in this game. When you jump down from a sand slope, you ski down to the bottom fluently. Whenever you climb a slope, definitely you will notice you are advancing slowly. I believe Jenovo himself must play this game hundred times to polish these details and adjust the parameter to achieve this control feeling and the difficulty level. Oh, and the jump feeling, you fall down like a feather, not a solid body. All these create an elegant fairyland experience, and player explores and customizes this fairyland by their game controllers.
In conclusion, this game is more like a customized movie than a traditional game. However, it is an excellent and fresh game. It is not a simple combination between movies and games. It’s an innovative exploration on creative art.