Journey Review

July 28, 2015

When thatgamecompany’s Journey was released in 2012 it quickly became the all-time best and fastest selling game on PSN and a media darling. With a beautiful art style and incredible score, it was easy to understand why this was the case. With the PlayStation 4 bringing in large numbers of newcomers to the PlayStation ecosystem, it makes sense that Sony would bring the title over. The big question is, how does this new version stack up against the original release and does it still inspire the magic the original release did?


Once again you take on the role of a robed figure on a pilgrimage, travelling towards the light and mountain in the distance. The story is told in the form of static images, similar to prehistoric cave paintings. Despite there being no audio or written words, Journey is able to clearly convey the story and reason for your pilgrimage through the images. The controls are simple and easy to understand, with the only drawback being the forced motion controls. While the motion controls can be overridden with the right analog stick, you will sometimes find the camera drifting unless the controller is perfectly flat.

Your main mode of traversal around levels in Journey is through the power of flight. How far you can fly is dictated by how long your scarf is. As you go through levels you will find glyphs that will grant you an extension to your scarf, allowing you to travel higher and farther. However, your ability of flight can be diminished and eventually revoked. As your environments change you will find that your movement and abilities change with it. You will find yourself sneaking through caves, doing your best to avoid weapons of the past that will permanently shorten your scarf and flight, and brace yourself as you try and push through snow and wind. While Journey may not be a long game, the variety in its environments is large.


A large part of Journey is forming a bond as you travel and as such you can be joined by another player who is in the same level as you. However, if you travel too far away from the other player you will be seamlessly  removed from their instance and will be alone again until you find a new player. With no chat functions and only a button chirp to communicate, I found that I became more attached to players than I would in other games. The game and levels are lonely when you are on your own and finding a companion brings a sense of comradery that I would not normally experience in a game.

Journey was a beautiful game when it released in 2012 and this was largely due to the timeless art style it employed. Three years later, and that art style is still just as beautiful as it was three years ago.  Now running at 1080p and 60FPS, Journey looks and runs even smoother than it did in the past. The motion blur that was evident in the original release is now gone. The motion blur is no longer needed, thanks to the frame rate doubling. The lighting effects have also been changed for the PlayStation 4 release. Neither of these changes were particularly noticeable during my play through, and they certainly didn’t detract from the beauty of the game. What was noticeable was the increase in the procedurally generated sand and the flow in which it moved. Journey is just as beautiful as I remember it being during my first play through if not more so with the well-known desert arches scene once again taking my breath away.


Austin Wintory was not a name known by many prior to the release of Journey, but he was certainly a well-known figure after its release. With a perfectly timed and fitting orchestral soundtrack, Wintory created what is arguably the best soundtrack to have graced a game. The music starts out slow and quiet as you first stand and start to walk, but gradually builds. It flows from a quiet, almost sombre melody to a tense and edgy track as you try and navigate through a dark and uncertain area. The best pieces are the ones filled with joy and wonder as you slide down a mountain or fly into the sky. During my many years playing games, I have never felt as moved as I did by Wintory’s soundtrack. There is a reason why Journey was the first and only game to be nominated for a Grammy for its soundtrack.

Journey on PlayStation 4 may not have a lot of upgrades or new content compared to the original release, but even after 3 years it evokes the same emotional response and leaves me wanting to go back again and again. Journey is one of the best games release on PlayStation 4 and is a must buy for all out there.


Magnificent Soundtrack
Beautiful art style and graphics
Variety in environments


Motion based camera controls cannot be turned off

Overall Score: