Journey: Collector’s Edition (PS3) Review

…Guys… usually I write for you: the people who want to see what I think of the game. But this time, I need to talk to the publishers, so if you could excuse me for a moment, I’ll have my say and then get back to the review… but this really needs to be said.

Sony, I appreciate a collection disc as much as the next guy. In one swoop, you can catch a new gamer up to everything, and it’s great to do that. Doom 3 BFG is a prime example of doing that well. But would it be so hard to ask that if you make a disc like this, you make it a quality one? In the case of this disc, which while it’s called Journey, is actually a ThatGameCompany collection disc, you messed up, and you messed up big.

Before I even begin to talk about the games, I have to talk about this abysmal excuse of a disc they come on. Seriously, it’s like Sony went out of their way to release a disc so bad that everyone would avoid buying it in favor of the download copies of the games, wasting money on the printing process as much as possible.

Right off the bat, there isn’t a single game on this disc that runs from the disc. All 6 titles will require you to install them to the hard drive to play. That in itself is not too big a deal, but when the menu the disc automatically launches does NOT INSTALL THE GAMES, BUT ASKS YOU TO LEAVE THE MENU AND RUN AN OUTSIDE INSTALLER ON IT’S OWN, all I can ask is why the fuck do you have this menu? And on top of that the copies from this disc are setup to REQUIRE YOU TO PUT THE DISC IN TO PLAY, meaning any time you want to play your game, you now must enter the menu so ineffective that it couldn’t handle installing it’s own fucking games on your console! But hey, at least the games run from that menu right? Right? Guess again.. time to quit your disc to play it.

Fuck having never seen, I have never HEARD of a worse made collection disc. Yeah, Nintendo made a Mario collection that was literally sticking a ROM of Super Mario All-Stars and an SNES emulator on a disc, but at least the game didn’t require you to quit the disc to play anything on it anytime you wanted to play. Holy shit, what was SONY THINKING?!?!?

As for the games themselves, they are a lot better… well, half of them are. The three featured on the cover are all titles that really everyone should play, be it for fun or because it’s just that unique that everyone should play them.

Flow: The name of the game is evolution. You will control a creature swimming along on the screen, using the motion controls in your PS3 controller to direct and the button of your choice to activate the power of the creature, which will vary depending on which creature you are on. Your goal is to eat and beat the shit out the other critters swimming with you as you swim deeper and deeper into the depths.

As simple as this is, this game is the surprisingly fun one. There is just something about treating the controller basically like a flight stick to move your critter around hunting everything else on the screen which just feels right. And looking right while doing it. Relatively simple, the game holds a microscopic world together really well, giving an overall very pleasing aesthetic to the whole thing. And while short, this works to it’s advantage as you have fun and leave on a high note before the simple gameplay would simply become overly repetitive. It just does not outwear it’s welcome.

Flower: Not so much a fun game as just a feast for the eyes to sit back and enjoy, Flower is a rather odd title that I think a lot more people should play simply because it is unique in gaming. There isn’t really any depth so much as raw beauty for your screen going with a story about wind.

Your roll in this game is this wind. You will control it pretty much the same way as you did Flow… the direction and angle you tilt your controller guides the wind as you collect flower petals to liven the world around you. This time in a 1st person perspective, and you will appreciate this most as you whip full-speed through the landscape and watch the fields react to your presence…. revealing a tale about this little force of nature, it’s encounter with human creation, and ultimately it’s force of life infusing into even the most urban of lands. Enjoy, this game is simply a feast for the eyes.

Journey: And now we reach the big star of the collection. Journey is yet more proof ThatGameCompany knows how to make unique titles. You play an adventurer who you have no details about. Rather, you were just meditating, only to get up and start walking through the desert. The ruins about you offer glimpses of the past, your society, and what is to come, but it isn’t long before you will find yourself greeted by some kind of deity who without words, tells you to keep going, and the mountain with the odd split in it out in the distance is your destination.

Your actions are fairly limited in this game. You can move, jump, and talk. That’s it… and talking is really only projecting your icon… which you will use to wake up the life in the desert around you and help you reach your goal, as well as call out to other players. You are not the only one on this trip. However, you travel together with a catch. You will not have names to identify your companions, nor will you have control over who enters your game. Rather, you will randomly find yourself in the presence of another traveler who’s icon they blurt is different then yours and unique to them. It is up to you to work together or compete with the stranger, or even try to understand them. You will only get a PSN name of your companions you met along the way when you finish the game…. and you may be surprised how many you see.

Bonus games: Sadly the 3 bonus games on this disc do not warrant even trying. Seriously, they are terrible. Two of them are not even playable without a second player, reminiscent of the old games back before the 1980s videogame crash (in one case graphically as well as gameplay) and the last is a very bare-bones schmup/beat-em-up hybrid in which you use clunky controls to blow up hoards of enemies, usually with a laser gun. Outside of curiosity for what they didn’t make into full games, there is no reason at all to check these out.

Overall: Avoid this disc. Seriously, I was duped with the idea of seeing some interesting behind the scenes stuff, but it’s simply not worth your time or cash. It would have been cool to have these games and and all the behind the scenes/soundtracks/ect. on disc, but the way the games themselves are handled in this collection just ruins it completely. I recommend instead getting them on PSN and avoiding the completely redundant steps of having to put the disc in your console and quit when it automatically starts up before you play, every time you want to play. The ONLY reason to have this disc is if you can’t bring your PS3 online… but if you are reading this, I suspect you can, and will have a much more convenient time playing by getting the online versions of these titles.

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