This won't be a long one i promise.
Over the past couple of months i've been swimming in great gaming experiences. Recently i bought Rayman Legends and even won Pikmin 3 in a competition! Those are damn fun games with quirky and beautiful presentations! In a forum debate, i even dared calling Rayman Legends "the best 2D platformer besides Super Mario Bro. 3", and i think part of that is owed to nostalgia weighing a bit more, but even at that, it's one game that truly impresses me with it's rich content, diverse level design, multiple unlockables, online features that surpasses anything alike within the genre, and to be honest, poops all over New Super Mario Bro. Wii U - this is one **** fine game experience, and as one who skipped Origins, i am very grateful that they included all those Origins levels in there. So much content, it's beyond me.
Look at all those COLOURS!
I finally caught up with some old games i never played either... albeit they were in HD, and it's Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. You know it's not all fair, 'cause i haven't played Ico yet, and i have only heard great things, so consider it irrelevant for this blog. Shadow of the Colossus though. My god! It quickly entered my top 10 favourite games of all time. What an amazing experience, and to think that was on Playstation 2?! I'm aware of course that it didn't look so good, but i did play it many years ago, just never finished it, and this time it just blew me away! It wasn't the graphics per say, but the the world, the cinematography - let's be honest that camera is crazy! The fights, so intuitive and thought through! Absolutely stunned me, and it had me completely in awe at almost every turn. The transition from area to area was abolutely amazing, and i can't praise that game enough for it's style and exterior. I love that certain features, like slashing with your sword, is something you can do from the very beginning, but won't matter much the entire game, but at one certain boss fight. Just gorgeous, and as i said, one of my favourites now!
my absolute favourite fight
Then there's one more game to mention, before i really go about the subject of this blog. It's Naughty Dog's The Last of Us. Don't really need an introduction i suppose. Thing about this game is, i had a rough time making out exactly what i felt about it. At first i was amazed. I mean i felt like this game surpassed all others. Then i thought about it for a while. The start was abit boring to me. I didn't really care for the linear level design, and i thought the weapon system was sort of shallow, combat was unfulfilling, and i even went as far as to say the story was sort of bad, i mean it was just Children of Men with "Spongebob Squarepants"-monsters... Then after all that hipster-hatred and wanting to be outside the mainstream thinking, i actually sad down... next to my mother, who was going through it a second time. She actually bought the game, being a great admirer of Naughty Dog's Uncharted series. We're talking about a 51 year old woman, who has played all Tomb Raider games (that's where it started for her), Prince of Persia, God of War, Uncharted (she's in love with Drake, talking about him on Facebook, her friends must think her crazy or something), and of course The Last of Us - anyway she went through it a second time, and we had been discussing the plot and characters, and it started making a bit more sense to me. I had basically fallen in love with Ellie, i mean not like that, but i thought she was an amazing character. I found Joel selfish, but empathized with him a great deal. Tess was the bomb, and Bill was awesome, but abit nuts. I almost cried when i met Harry and... yeah... and i **** despised David.
It soon hit me how important these characters was. Most reviews call them "without personality" and while i can't be more inclined to disagree, they also have a heavy impact on our main characters. In any case, i feel most of the things in the game made sense, having thought it through. Yeah the weapon system is still sort of shallow, but combat was great. No man can shoot perfect when he's overrun by zombie-like creatures. That limited camera that just won't show me all 10 enemies during a shootout - hey it's how it is, you're up against 10 people, you're not suppose to have a great idea of what's going on, you're suppose to be stressed out, you're suppose to feel angry that you're so low on ammo, 'cause now you're forced to play carefully EXACTLY LIKE THE CHARACTER OF JOEL WOULD. It all makes sense. This isn't Gears of War, you're not military trained, you're not a hero. You're a survivor, you're taking care of a kid. You're outgunned, and the atmosphere makes you certain of this. All the time, and it's why a couple of minutes of peace is such a relief in that game. The ending, and i won't spoil it but i just have to say, is probably one of the most interesting endings to a game i have ever played. There's a moment when you almost want to cry, and at the same time you can make sense in contrast to the world around you. It's just so full of love, but unfortunately it's not entirely positive.
sort of absurd how much one can care about a virtual person
I love the game, and it's by far the most beautiful game i have seen on the PS3, and on any console - in fact it does look better than a lot of PC games too.. yeah sorry elitists, but if you can afford to invest in new graphics card, do yourself a favour and invest in a PS3, 'cause there's one more game i want to talk about, and it's a game i have been holding out on for a while, being sceptical, but i had some money i could blow on whatever, and i found it for a price i was willing to pay... Had i known what i was going into, i would've payed whatever. This is my favourite game of all time so far, and i don't usually use the term "art" about games, to me it's still just entertainment, but this... this is actually art to me. It's Journey.
Oh the atmosphere..
Journey. What can i possibly say that hasn't been said a thousand times. What a game. I applaud Thatgamecompany and everything they have done with this. It's the grandest two hours of gameplay i have ever experienced. It's so finely tuned to be an experience you just hunger to feast on. All senses are being treated with what i would call probably the most atmospheric game in the world. The visuals are just amazing. I mean from desert area, to snowy mountains, this game does everything right. You feel the sun when it glares, you can sense the freezing weather when you walk in the mountains, and the loneliness underground. This game is about life, it introduces to a grand and strange area, and as you discover more, learn what you're capable of, you start traversing through each tier of existence. From the warm embrace of what's new and exciting, to the cold end where hope is infront of you, but the challenge of survival is just surrounding you with brute force. And then it happens. You burst into the light. You become everything you were suppose to, and with perfect visuals, perfect sounds, perfect mechanics, and what i would call one of the most enjoyable and impactful soundtracks, Journey becomes my favourite game of all time. Most reviewers agree that this is an experience more than a game, and i agree, this is not high scores or kill-to-death ratios, this is just about movement. The whole game essentially is about moving forward, and whatever you might have to do to progress, it's all so finely fletched into the games way of enticing you to be curious. Besides that, i think "anonymous multiplayer" is one of the greatest things ever. I don't necessarily want to hear someone scream in a mic, and having them only be able to converse with me by using sounds and movement - what an experience! There's always a feeling of cooperation and will to cooperate - this is what's so great! I adore Journey for all it is, and in my books it's art, it's revolutionairy, it's an original piece and it's one hour that sticks to my mind in a way no other game has, and yet despite it's short length, it's still worth more than any other thing i have ever played. I leave you with a few pictures that really has me in awe of this game. And mind you, these are all in-game.
one of those moments you simply just take in
this is it - you and me
probably what i consider my favourite area of the game
Naturally there's a hell of a lot more to show, but do yourself a favour and buy the game.
It's an experience beyond imagination, and i has me more excited for the future.
Thatgamecompany surpassed any expectations i might have had.
Hands down the best experience with games i have had.
This is Journey and it's art.
By Oliver Adam