This is going to be an awkward review for me. I played the download version of Journey on the PS4 and had the game crash repeatedly. It seems this a fairly common, but inconsistent issue. Some people, like me, have occasional crashes but are able to get through the game. Some people have the game constantly crash at the same point and they can’t get beyond it. Still others are able to play through without any problem at all.
It is extremely frustrating, as it would be for any game, but with a game like Journey, the enjoyment comes from the trance-like meditative state that playing induces. The blue screen of death doesn’t much contribute to one’s tranquility. Towards the end (snow area), I tried signing out of PSN and was able to play the rest of the way without a crash. Whether or not that was a coincidence, I don’t know, but it’s something to try if you’re having similar problems.
Let’s assume from this point on, that the game functioned as intended.
Journey is a meditative game. You begin as a lone soul in the desert, trying to make your way to a distant mountain. You do this through a combination of walking, sliding, and gliding. Movement is smooth and graceful, as are the movements of the many ‘cloth’ objects in the worlds.
Progressing from one area to the next requires some simple puzzle solving. Enough to keep you mentally engaged but never frustrated. Predominantly though, the point is simply to experience the sights, sounds, music, and graceful movement. The game is very peaceful, with moods ranging from somber to jovial depending on the particular environment.
During your journey, you may happen across other players also making their way to the mountain. You can’t communicate except via an emote that displays your symbol. It’s a nice touch that makes the world seem not so lonely, but without the annoyances that often come with multiplayer.
I enjoyed Journey, but it surely isn’t for everyone. If you don’t get easily immersed, it’s probably not for you. It very much depends on the player ceasing to be self-aware. It doesn’t have a story in the regular sense, or lots of action, or high scores to go after. If you’re looking for a challenge or competition, then look somewhere else.
Journey is very niche game, but what it tries to do, it does very well. I prefer it to its siblings Flower and flOw; I think because it’s more human. Oddly enough, I also like that the game is very short. It can easily be completed in one or two sittings. But if you enjoy the feeling you get from playing, then it basically has endless replay value, and each time it will be an enjoyable, relaxing, compact experience—just like meditation.