The lights are on
Journey can be finished in a day but it will stick with you long after that, which is what makes it perfect while you relax on Labor Day.
The game is best suited to play in one sitting in order to immerse yourself, and it can be completed in a few hours. That being said, the game is just the right length and is best experienced when you take your time and explore. You start out alone in a sand-blown world with only a far-off beacon inviting you forward and a few controls at your disposal. Journey's themes of life and lineage are played out via simple gameplay, and the game invites experimentation to see what the world around you responds to. That being said, Journey's pacing is immaculate; it's neither too amorphous nor too strict. There are wonderful moments of action, discovery, and decision-making that give it weight.
I was so easily sucked into Journey, from the way the story unravels to the gorgeous visuals and music. The platforming is simple, but the glide mechanic is a fun way to get around the world and is well suited to the game's general aura. The world's mysteries are presented in playful, dangerous, and melancholy turns, and I was captivated; gripping the controller with as much tension as if I was in the middle of a frenzied gunfight or buzzer-beating sports game.
Without dialog or much exposition, the game is still very effective in conveying its message. This is greatly affected by whether you choose to play solo or by allowing the game to bring in anonymous online players. In order to avoid spoilers, I can't say which way is better to play the game, but they are different experiences.
Journey is not only one of my favorite games of the last generation (and it's coming to the PS4, too!), but one of the best video game experiences I've had. I can't recommend it enough.
To read more about games you can beat in a day, check back at our hub over the course of the day.
Email the author Matthew Kato, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.