- Special Features
Journey has been quite the rage these days what with being nominated for Game of the Year at the VGAs and from multiple publications and winning Best Indie Game of the year. Those who have followed thatgamecompany on their “journey” with Sony know the magic that these games can bring: from the depths of the ocean in flOw, the rolling green hills swaying in the wind in Flower, and the never-ending adventures of our favorite cloaked figure in Journey. With Journey ending the contract thatgamecompany had with Sony, it would seem only natural that there would be a compilation. This may be a few months down the road, but we’ll tell you how this collection stacks up for those with a curious eye into a few of indie gaming’s masterpieces.
It guess it’s only customary to start off the review talking about the three main games: flOw, Flower, and Journey. The state of these three games can be summed up in one sentence: all three are perfect ports. Playing through all three games, there were no problems and it was like I had been playing them right from being downloaded off of the Playstation Network.
The collection, as well as sporting the three main games, also has a few mini-games that were created in a Game Jam session. The three games, called Gravediggers, Duke Wars, and Nostril Shot, are built specifically for the purpose of multiplayer play. The only problem is that the multiplayer function can not be played online, so you’d have to get a friend or friends into the area to make better use of these games (for the record, I played them by myself). I found Gravediggers and Duke Wars to be the more fun out of the three personally, but each game’s content may not be enough to thoroughly hold your attention. It does surprise me a bit that the game Cloud, which was developed by Jenova Chen, Kellee Santiago, and a number of other people, didn’t make it onto this collection as it seems to hold more likeness to the three main games.
The rest of the collection is special features and there is quite a bit that you’ll find in this one. My personal favorite is the inclusion of all three game OSTs with the soudntracks of flOw and Journey composed by Austin Wintory and Flower’s OST composed by Vincent Diamante. While I don’t know from personal experience, I frequented some forums and chat rooms and learned that the OSTs are DRM-free. The OSTs are apparently able to be transferred onto USB drives and placed onto MP3 players and laptops which I feel is a very nice touch and a kind gesture from thatgamecompany to allow that (anyone can confirm on this if it’s true if they want). I did find out that the OST for flOw is not complete as it’s missing two tracks out of the total ten, but I didn’t feel like this was an incredibly large upset–moreso because I spend more time listening to the OSTs for Journey and Flower. However, others may feel differently.
There are also several commentaries available on the game disc. Each game has a playthrough commentary where many of the company’s developers play through the game and talk about it throughout. Journey also has an extra mini-documentary running for about thirty minutes that goes behind-the-scenes about the making of the game. Whether this is interesting to the owner of the collection is up in the air, but I found all of these commentaries to be a rather interesting look into how these developers came up with their ideas and how they worked together to accomplish the making of these games. I did encounter some minor video lag in the behind-the-scenes documentary toward the final few minutes. I’m not sure if this is something others encountered, but I didn’t find it detrimental to the viewing of the video.
There is also concept artwork for each game that you can download to your PS3 hard drive, but I found that much of the same artwork can be found on the disc in the menus which I thought was rather odd to do. This might have been built that way for people’s specific preferences though as some might feel it better to have on the disc. The disc also comes accompanied with trailers, teasers, and some dynamic themes that can be installed. Along with that came two redeemable codes for 24 downloadable avatars centered around Journey and Flower and for a one-month trial subscription to Playstation Plus services.
It should be noted that all forms of media in the collection have to be installed onto your PS3, so if you have a fully loaded PS3 system, you might need to clear a bit of room or at least keep track (they don’t take up a whole lot of space though). I did find it a bit odd that the games themselves, even after installed, have to played with the disc still in the system. However, I did realize that this was a way to curb down people just passing the disc off to other people so they can install it. While I’m sure others could install the games onto their system, they wouldn’t be able to play without the disc.
All and all, the Journey Collector’s Edition is a well put together collection that offers quite a bit in regards to the three main games. The three games themselves probably would have made a decent collection on its own, but thatgamecompany made sure to go above and beyond by including much, much more to make this an enjoyable experience for those curious enough to check out their games and to close the door on their three game contract with Sony. Here’s to thatgamecompany’s future!