The game itself is quiet and meditative, especially when played as a solitary experience. It only teaches a few simple controls -- two buttons and the analog stick, nothing more. This simplicity lends itself to iterative experimentation, rather than complex commands, which should feel inviting to less experienced players. It expresses the few gameplay elements with graceful, wordless contextual instruction, while subtly pointing in the right direction. The goal is clear from the beginning: reach the mountaintop. The obstacles standing in my way were never terribly difficult, but the challenge wasn't as important as the process. I wanted to learn more about this world, and see everything I could, while unraveling the plot.
That story kept me constantly invested in the world. Journey tells a vivid fable without a single line of dialogue, and the intermittent story moments were delivered in the subdued style of a silent movie. The titular journey of the lead character is a personal one that speaks to much broader concepts about civilization. Our hero isn't a human, but the story is a deeply human one. It's melancholy, joyful, somber, triumphant, and poetic, all compressed into an experience that lasts about the length of a film. It needs to be experienced personally, so I hesitate to say too much. When the game reaches its intense climax, I'm sure each player will have his own reaction and interpretation.
Journey's colorful, sprawling vistas are a visual treat