Game Review: Journey

Reviewed for: Playstation 3 (via Playstation Network)

From: thatgamecompany/Sony

ESRB Rating: Everyone (mild fantasy violence)

Price: $15

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If your jaw isn't on the floor following a trip through "Journey," call your doctor, because you probably don't have a jaw. As best a video game can be expected to do, "Journey" replicates the sensation of being lost and alone in a wholly unknown land.

It drops you in a vacant desert, offers a couple prompts to show you which buttons on your controller are in play, and that's it. The rest of the way, you're left to your own devices, free to venture through the desert, under the sea, and up a snowy mountain toward an oasis that waits faintly in the distance. "Journey" offers traditional resistance by way of riddles to solve and secrets to find along the way, but there's no health bar or even enemies in the traditional sense. More than a game to beat, it's a literal journey that wants you simply to explore its staggeringly pretty scenery rather than survive it. (Outside of the real thing, these might be the most stunning sand and snow physics you've ever seen.) Alone and in though, the trip is a treat without equal.

But "Journey" truly sparkles when you come upon other players making their own pilgrimages in the same world. You won't know who they are - "Journey" doesn't reveal their PSN usernames until past the closing credits - and your only means of communication is a single button that emits a musical tone of variable length. With that, you're free to blissfully ignore each other or find a way, like two birds chirping at each other, to share the road and complete the journey together. If you elect to try the latter option, prepare for an organic co-op gaming experience that's wholly unlike any you've experienced before.

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