Journey is as magical today as it was when it first released on the PlayStation 3 back in 2012. thatgamecompany's masterpiece is a thought provoking, emotional experience that everyone should try at least once, and now that it's on the PlayStation 4, complete with cross-buy support and enhanced visuals, there's never been a better time to go on such a glorious quest of self discovery.
It's difficult to explain what Journey's all about, and that's mostly because it proves to mean something different to each individual that plays it. Some may see it as a spiritual title, with themes of reincarnation resonating with them, while others could well see it as a voyage of discovery – an adventure in a strange world. Whatever you make of it, though, the game remains both a visual and audio treat, while its social aspects will make you think twice about the fundamentals of human interaction.
Playing as a robed wanderer, it's your destiny to reach the shining top of a mountain that sits on the horizon. As its name suggests, however, Journey isn't about the destination. The adventure is filled with strange happenings, gorgeous landscapes, and a real sense of peace. It's a relaxing, almost meditative release, and with incredibly simple controls and no player death, it's a game that anyone, regardless of skill level, can enjoy.
Ultimately, gameplay consists of walking and gliding through several environments, although you can do so at your own pace. There are secrets to discover throughout, and you may even stumble across other players as you go. Speaking of which, there are no mics or headsets here, and you can't join up with friends. Instead, you're forced to communicate by chirping with anonymous strangers by tapping the circle button, which in itself is an interesting social experiment. If you're both up for it, you can even trot through the entire adventure with your new friend, and the whole thing arguably seems as innovative now as it did three years ago.
Traversing golden deserts or echoing underground caverns, Journey has always been a sight to behold – but now it's even better. Bumped up to 1080p resolution on Sony's newest machine, its world is crisp, and the colours absolutely pop on a decent display. The art direction remains the star of the show, though, still sporting a brilliant simplicity, with everything from your wanderer to the clouds in the sky looking like something that you'd be proud to hang on your wall.
However, it's the 60 frames-per-second enhancement that really seals the deal. Doubling the title's framerate has transformed an already smooth, polished game into something that's effortlessly elegant and even more of a joy to play. Sailing down sand dunes and spiralling through the air feels fantastic, and that's saying a lot, seeing as the original release felt spot on to begin with.
Of course, it goes without saying that this is the same game that launched on Sony's last-gen system three years ago. If you've played it before, but for whatever reason aren't eligible for the PS4 version via cross-buy, then it's really a case of weighing up how eager you are to do it all again. The visual improvements undoubtedly make this the definitive edition of the release, but even so, they may not be enough to tempt you back to Journey's glittering sands if you can't take advantage of a free copy.
Journey remains one of the most cohesive titles to grace PlayStation. A sumptuous art style and a stunning soundtrack fuse to create an experience that's flawless from start to finish. Its story never utters a word, yet it has more to say than most scripts, and its handling of social interaction eschews tradition in favour of eye-opening anonymous bonding. Enhanced visuals and a silky smooth framerate made possible courtesy of the PS4's power make this the definitive edition of the release, and put simply, Journey is still one of the greatest games ever made.