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Old 06-12-2012, 08:21 PM   #9
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Re: Please Rate This Review: Journey Second Opinion

Hi Li-Ion,

Thanks for the response to the questions. I'll address your answers individually.

Originally Posted by Li-Ion View Post
The same way visiting an art gallery can emotionally affect you. But you can choose to just walk straight to the exit.
I think both Flower and Journey succeeded more as a piece of traditional art (where events are interpreted) than a game (where events can also be configured). I believe the latter is a superior art form that has more potential to touch people in personal, meaningful ways.
Originally Posted by Li-Ion View Post
You just described 90% of first person shooters that came out within the last year. Not only restricted to FPS, of course. When I walk through World of Warcraft none of my actions matter. Every enemy respawns after a while. I have no decision in what happens, every quest is strictly linear.
I don’t really play FPS that much, but I respect them as games because they require skill and because of the multiplayer. I can see why they capture the attention of so many people.

I am not saying WoW is the be-all-end-all by any means, but I think you are looking at WoW in too limited a scope. Yes, each quest line is linear, but from a macro perspective it isn’t. I can choose to do one quest over another. I can choose to go into one zone over another. On the way to one destination I can pass many interesting locations, and I can stop off at a new town or see what’s in that cave over there. I can abandon my original quest if I want to. I once swam around an entire continent just to see what there was to see. And there is always the threat that a player in the other faction could attack me. The world is at my fingertips. That is real exploring.

In later versions of WoW, they introduced the concept of phasing which changes the world around you as you complete quests. This permanent changing gives a better sense of player agency.
Originally Posted by Li-Ion View Post
Not Vermeer, for sure, but I like it and didn't find it demanding to paint. Was there any purpose to it? No, the whole point of playing games or painting images is to be devoid of purpose. It's my leisure time when I unwind my brain from demanding tasks during the day.
I don’t agree that the whole point of playing video games is to be devoid of purpose. There is a place for passivity and relaxation, but there needs to be a purpose to achieve the highest levels of happiness. “Leisure time” doesn’t necessarily mean passive or not demanding. It is time where you are not forced or compelled to do something – i.e. free time. I believe the most rewarding things in life demand something from us. They require our full attention and skills to complete a goal. One will never be fully happy or satisfied otherwise.
Originally Posted by Li-Ion View Post
You never played World of Warcraft I assume? In WoW I never "needed" anyone. I was never interested in all those shiny epic items (I was part of a raid for a while but that period of playing WoW was also the reason for me to stop, because I stopped enjoying WoW). WoW (like Journey) is (was) for me about discovery and seeing something I haven't seen (in this form) before. Journey had some genuinely beautiful moments I don't want to miss. And every Journey is more fun with company. I don't need friends to visit Madrid for example, but it's more fun with them.
As to WoW, yes, I have played it. Getting help will make a huge difference in the difficulty and gameplay of normal questing and leveling, but you are right that you don’t “need” anyone necessarily for that stuff. For raids and dungeons you do need other people. The shared goals and dependency on other players in WoW, combined with the complex party interaction and communication system -- you can talk to people! imaging that! -- make its potential for bonding light years ahead of where Journey is. (Side note: I played FFXI for many many years and that required grouping up for almost everything, even standard leveling up. I found WoW’s leveling up boring in comparison, though WoW does a lot of things better, of course. Especially with regard to UI and streamlining).

Judging Journey on being a game is entirely appropriate because that is how it is advertised on its web site. Not to mention it was create by ThatGAMEcompany (as opposed to ThatMOVIEcompany or some other name). In a game there is a point or a purpose to the player participating. In a game the player should be more than a movie projector operator. A game should offer more than simply “seeing pretty sights”. Journey is also advertised as difficult, which it is absolutely not. And it is advertised as offering “exploration”, which it technically does but in a very linear way. I can’t choose where to go.

I think the Madrid comparison is apples to oranges for multiple reasons. First, when visiting Madrid there are countless things for you to do and see, in any way or order you want (time and money permitting, of course). Not so with Journey. Second, in Journey you aren’t spending time with “friends”, you are spending time with total strangers. Not many people would go tour a city with a total stranger. It would be more fun with a friend. Third, in real life Madrid your opportunities for interaction are infinitely more complex than anything found in Journey. You can actually talk to people about what you are looking at. Discuss art, world events, food, whatever. You can get drunk, make love, or even kill. Not to belabor WoW, but at least in WoW you can get drunk and kill. And real people have actually met through WoW and gotten married. I doubt anyone will ever do that through Journey.
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