Beautiful, poignant and uniquely intimate, Journey makes a strong argument that games can, indeed, be art. You play as an anonymous robed figure venturing in the desert. You see a light coming from the top of a mountain and spend the rest of the time trying to reach that light.
The game play itself is quite simple. You can move, jump and chirp; yes, chirp. This component communicates to flying ribbons that, in turn, give you the power to fly. If you play online, other players will either drop in and out, or you will spend the 2-3 hours it takes to complete the game together.
The co-op adds to the intimacy of the game. You can only communicate with chirps, and the other players name is hidden from you until the Journey is completed, and yet it's probably the closest I've ever felt playing with another randomly matched gamer. You go through the same things together, face the same dangers, communicate the best you can with chirps and going certain ways.
The worlds tale is shown, rather than told and is completely up to the viewers interpretation. I found it as a very relevant tale, talking about the power and danger of technology and about the relevancy of enjoying the small things, such as gaming. That's just my interpretation.
The game has little violence. What violence there is, though bloodless, is brutal and intense, adding a layer of fear and adrenaline to the masterfully done lite-stealth segments.
Journey is beautiful. Your robes blow appropriately in the wind and sway as you move. The snow and sand you walk through moves as you make your way, the light vividly reflecting and bringing out the grains of sand. Snow sticks to your body later on, ensuring that you are indeed a physical being.
I did face some technical issues. Falling through the environment once or twice and oddly getting caught in a pillar, spinning uncontrollably and forcing me to restart the game, took only a slight edge off of what was otherwise a sublime experience.
Reaching the light in the mountain is a metaphor. What it means is up to you, but the beauty is in the Journey and the perseverance it takes to get there. It's a beautiful and dangerous world and I'm looking forward to face it again and again.
Pros: - Unique sense of intimacy, beauty and interpretation
Seamless, random, co-op
Feels like playing art
Cons: - A couple of environmental bugs