My Journey (Part 1)
In the grand tradition of being late to the party, I’ve finally managed to sit down and experience Journey. Released originally for the PS3 back in 2012, Journey has at last made its way to PS4, giving me and so many other PlayStation converts the chance to sit down and experience this masterpiece for ourselves.
You don’t know what you should do, but you feel compelled to journey to this mountain, if only to try and understand this world.
For those of you who don’t know, Journey is an adventure game made by That Game Company, the makers of Flower. When you start the game you aren’t given an objective or a tutorial, instead you start off in a barren desert, with only a mountain far in the distance as a landmark, you don’t know what you should do, but you feel compelled to journey to this mountain, if only to try and understand this world.
Who you don’t matter, you’re but a single hooded figure in this vast expense, you mean nothing. All you can do is walk onwards. Well, walking isn’t all you can do, you can jump and glide for a short while, but more importantly you can sing. By pressing or holding the O button, your character can give a quick chirp or a booming shout. As walk, you’ll begin to see small clouds of what look like birds at first, but as you get close are shown to be swarms of cloth, dancing in the wind. You approach, they do nothing, you sing and they become your friends, empowering you, recharging your ability to jump.
Around your neck is a small scarf, that flutters carelessly in the wind. As you use your jump the patterns on the scarf fade, only to be recharged again as you meet other swarms of cloth. In time, you’ll find glyphs that grow your scarf, allowing you to jump further and glide for longer. As I made my way through the desert, I found many glyphs and my scarf became a thing of beauty, snaking out far from my body, telling others that I was someone who could find things others could not. In the treacherous snows of a blizzard, I lost my scarf, it froze in the cold and was stolen from me by some foul beast, as I continued on with only a stump around my neck I felt robbed, I felt used.
You’re never alone in Journey. The desert teems with life, the swarms of cloth are your friends, helping you on your path. As the world becomes more magical, more complex beasts of Cloth appear, huge flying whales and jellyfish swim through the air, all ready to give you a helping hand on your way. These are your friends. There is one other friend you’ll find, and that is you.
I had found someone, or maybe they found me. I was no longer alone on my Journey, I had found a friend
I was sliding down a sand dune with glee when I first heard it, a song, not too dissimilar to the ones I could make. It was distant at first, I stopped to work out where it was coming from, I turned from where I had once just been and found a lone figure skidding down the sand-dune as I had just done, chirping excitedly as they did so. I had found someone, or maybe they found me. I was no longer alone on my Journey, I had found a friend.
There was no name, no gamer tag by which I could identify this figure. They gave a short chirp, I assume to say “Hello” and I replied in kind. They turned to the mountain and gave another, longer whistle, I tapped the O button twice in agreement. We started to walk together. The figure was an explorer, he would fly off ahead, find somewhere to perch to await me catching up and then repeat. By holding the O button and releasing a big cry, I could reinvigorate my friends ability to fly, so each time I caught up with him I would do so, rewarding his exploration with the ability to continue.
We traveled like this for some time, a particular highlight of our time together was skiing down a large hill, our competitive sides took over and we began racing, weaving in and out of rocky outcrops and ancient ruins. My companion grew cocky and during one difficult turn crashed into a ruin. With no way to stop I shot down the hill past him. I was going fast, too fast, I wanted to stop, to wait for my friend but before long I had entered a long narrow tunnel, signifying the end of this area and the start of the next. At the end of the tunnel was a cliff, and I was flung over it and into a new place.
After I got back on my feet, I looked up at where I had been fired from and waited for my friend to join me. I waited and waited, but they never came back. I was alone again.
Feeling bereft I continued on in my journey, my scarf grew as I explored every nook and cranny, I began to enjoy myself again. The adventure took a dark turn as I entered a cave system, alone as I was I was careful as I made my way through. Being in this cave made me feel as if I was underwater, large strands of cloth waved lazily like kelp, with small fish like scraps flitting between them. I soon found myself in a vast cavern, filled with these huge statues. I had seen these statues before, they had been part of some puzzles earlier and always contained trapped cloth inside them. I steered clear, my caution was rewarded when one of these monoliths came to life and began hunting for me. Narrowly avoiding detection, I slipped by and escaped the cavern.
As I breathed a sigh of relief I saw them again, a lone figure in the distance, looking dazed and confused. I approached slowly, spying the short length of their scarf. The Monoliths had clearly found them, hunted them and stole part of them. I made my presence known with a playful hello, this stranger was slow to reply but eventually did so. As I surveyed my surroundings I detected a puzzle and began to solve it as best I could. My new companion followed close behind as I danced around the room, completing puzzles and helping the two of us rise up this tower. After a few minutes, we were free and one step closer on our journey.
It was cold outside, we were clearly high up but in the distance the mountain was even higher still. mighty gales began to blow and our progress was slow as we began to ascend the mountain. The sand dunes had been replaced with great snow flurries and each step through seemed to take its toll on these figures. High winds were blowing with such force that our progress became an ordeal, we had to time our moves between cover, hoping we had time to hide from nature before it was too late.
As we continued upwards, we could see trapped in the snow the remnants of the dead. faded pieces of cloth that had succumbed to the cold. That wasn’t going to be my fate, or that of my friends, we’d push on. Dead cloth wasn’t all we found, some way ahead was the broken remains of a monolith, even the stone couldn’t make it up the mountain. Then the light illuminated me, before turning an angry red. I didn’t have time to run, a monolith, alive and well smashed into me, tossing me aside as it swam through the air. Once I got up I saw I had been robbed. That great thoughtless beast had crushed my once elegant scarf and now I was left with just a shadow.
The Frost had been biting at us for some time, but now it had truly engulfed us. Our bodies were frozen, each step took a Herculean effort. My partner was some way ahead of me when they began to stumble. I could only look on as their body fell to the ground. As I approach their resting place, my body grew sluggish, I pushed on past their body, it was too late for them, but not for me.
To be continued.