Republished on Tuesday, 21st July 2015: We're bringing this soapbox back from the archives to celebrate Journey's release on the PS4 this week. The original text follows.
Originally published on Thursday, 14th August 2014: I understand where Polygon scribe Colin Campbell is coming from when he says that he won't be playing the recently announced PlayStation 4 conversion of thatgamecompany's seminal spiritual adventure, Journey. Like the author in question, I too haven't booted the game since a gloomy morning in March, where I ploughed through the entire experience in a single sitting – and then rushed to write the review should any of the emotions that I was feeling in the moment evaporate. That was over two years ago now, though, and I'm ready to return.
First times are always the best, and I'm not going to deny that point; from the rush of fresh feelings to the irreplicable sense of something new, repetition rarely lives up to that initial joy. However, one memorable moment doesn't preclude future ones from forming – even if they don't always live up to that initial high bar. This game is unique due to the fact that no two journeys can ever be the same – and that's not down to randomly generated levels or worlds, but the fact that you never know who your accomplice is going to be.
The dusty dunes and snowy steeples of my original outing may always be imprinted in my memory, but this time I'm eager to properly share them
The first time that I traipsed the title's shimmering sands, my assigned partner chirped to me and then forged his own path; I didn't meet anyone else, and I wouldn't have it any other way. For a first pilgrimage, it was a solitary affair – a quite fitting foray considering my generally introverted personality traits. Alas, I've always been aware that there are other ways to experience this game, and while I've always promised that I'll return, I've never quite found that window of space to see it through. This next-gen remaster will give me an excuse to take the time, and that's why, re-release or not, I'm already itching to return.
Of course, it doesn't hurt that this is taking advantage of its host's extended hardware capabilities. Running at 1080p with a 'targeted' framerate of 60 frames-per-second – the current hot phrase in a world where multi-million dollar lawsuits are filed over visual flaws – this will no doubt rival most native next-gen releases. The original's outrageously clean art style made it a shining star on a system well known for stunning exclusive games, and even though a different developer's handling the conversion, you can expect it to hold its own among the machine's most masterful technical achievements thus far.
But it's not the presentation – or, indeed, the generous cross-buy offer – that's most made me eager to return: it's the desire to glean more from a game that I loved upon first sight. The dusty dunes and snowy steeples of my original outing may always be imprinted in my memory, but this time I'm eager to share them with someone who wants to stand by my side. There's no guarantee that I'll find that companion on the PS4, but that such an outcome is even possible speaks to the power of this groundbreaking game. And even if the inevitable happens and my second journey fails to live up to the first, at least I'll always remember that inaugural, isolated escapade.
Will you be returning to Journey on the PS4, or will you be clinging onto your initial playthrough for now? Chirp your thoughts in the comments section below.