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Thread: Journey, Flower, Flow, and Abzu

  1. #81

    Default Re: Journey

    I started that thread as a fairly tongue-in-cheek nod to the game's multiplayer mechanics, but looking through the thread, looks like people are taking the idea seriously and it's produced some pretty sweet comments. I'm still somewhat annoyed by my own lacking enthusiasm for Journey, but I love that it tends to bring the sincerity out in other gamers.

    Between that and accidentally starting the patch process for Flower, I feel like I should be getting some free swag. Or scorn. One of the two.

  2. #82

    Default Re: Journey

    My Journey experience kinda died out really quickly. It was definitely a good activity the first time, but I felt like the game didn't have enough substance to keep me interested for a long period of time. I mean, I'm definitely one of those gamers that does show a long term appreciation for single titles for years on end, rather than say... Pick up a game, beat it, and never speak of it or play it agian(that's SO not me!). But Journey? Aside from the discussions I had about the game's underlying plot, I never felt like the game was amazing enough to warrant so much of my attention for long. There are just definitely other games I felt carved a much better personal experience, imo.

  3. #83

    Default Re: Journey

    For me, Journey definitely held up through multiple playthroughs due to the multiplayer. And despite the many (false) accusations that the game is nothing more than walking through the sand, I felt the actual game mechanics were varied and worked well (flight, stealth, exploration, etc.)

    That said, it certainly does lose an lot of its luster after the first experience. When you know everything that's coming befor hand iit takes away from some of the initial moments of wonder and awe.

    And you can trip on your scarf? Wow. I need to go back and try that.
    My 3DS friend code is 4012-5016-7408.
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  4. #84

    Default Re: Journey

    Quote Originally Posted by Hiroy View Post
    My Journey experience kinda died out really quickly. It was definitely a good activity the first time, but I felt like the game didn't have enough substance to keep me interested for a long period of time. I mean, I'm definitely one of those gamers that does show a long term appreciation for single titles for years on end, rather than say... Pick up a game, beat it, and never speak of it or play it agian(that's SO not me!). But Journey? Aside from the discussions I had about the game's underlying plot, I never felt like the game was amazing enough to warrant so much of my attention for long. There are just definitely other games I felt carved a much better personal experience, imo.
    Knowing myself as a gamer, by all accounts I don't think I should like Journey. As a gameplay experience it's not the most awesome thing. And I'm not one to sit there contemplating existentialism because of what's in a game (basically, every reason people think Shadow of the Colossus is deep, does not resonate with me).

    But for some reason, as an overall experience, Journey really resonates with me. It just... feels good to play. Not that I ever go back to it (unless I'm showing it to someone), but it definitely has something special in there that I can't really explain.

  5. #85

    Default Re: Journey

    I know whatcha mean, and I do agree. For the first bit of runs, the game did feel quite special. But like I said, the appeal didn't really last very long for me. If someone were to ask me what I liked about Journey, there honestly would not be much to say. I guess this is how I tend to feel about anything with a one-shot message. Not to say it's bad.

  6. #86

    Default Re: Journey

    After I had beaten Journey, I never got to really consider a replay since my apartment was burglarized afterwards. I certainly didn't feel compelled to remotely. But I did try to replay it from scratch again more recently. But I don't know. I think the soundwork is remarkable, but the game doesn't grip me in any sense that I really, truly felt compelled to explore. Partly it was due to the multiplayer system reinforcing, in my personality, a desire to move forward and not take a slow, easy pace and navigate around.

    I also don't really remember it ever being a very open, or spacious environment anyways?

    I do enjoy exploring as play, but in the case of Journey it never felt natural in a way that evolved past how I "explore" in any average game (looking over a perimeter before returning to an objective)

  7. #87

    Default Re: Journey

    My really special experiences are already chronicled in this thread, so no reason to go over them again. The game is only really great as a one player game the once, maybe two or three times. After that its up to the companions you get, who can make for a really amazing time if they're up for playing properly. ...or just kinda be there.

    I had a lot of fun getting good at some of the broken-not-really-intended physics like fast flying and extended flight with camera adjustment, and there was a lot of joy to be had in making impossible jumps, doing things like dashing ahead and saving scarf pieces from being eaten by the dragons and such. I dunno how much play time I've actually logged in the game, but I played it about once a week most of last year, so probably about 30 full run throughs all told (and a lot of practice partials.) Those varied in quality, and the best runs were the first, second, and somewhere around the seventh.... and then it was just sort of run through it and play with the physics... but I still managed another two or three really amazing trips after that, on perhaps my 20th play 8 months later. Had a handful of really amazing experiences... and you can tell because both me and the other player sent messages immediately that said "that was an amazing game!"

    Escorting a *new* player is still generally really fun though, if you just let them lead the way and pick the path of exploration without showing them *too* much, and hope they pick up on a couple of the tricks you try to teach like sustained flight recharge by chirping.

    But yes, its too small and straightforward to replay for forever, unfortunately. Hidden glitch areas don't really count, neat as they are.
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  8. #88

    Default Re: Journey

    Since there's not an official TGC thread, I'll just toss this here:

    FLOWER ON VITA

    *weeps with joy*

  9. #89

    Default Re: Journey

    Journey is now out on the PS4. If you bought it on the PS3, its free.

    It looks a little better, but not crazy different. Mostly the sand effects are a bit different and scarves look better. SOme more dirt on things.. Sounds the same. Still a great game.

    Would have loved for them to take the opportunity to randomize the rune locations, but oh well.

    I'd forgotten what it was like to meet an actual NEW player though. THat's neat. Theres a definite joy there thats hard to describe but is actually palpable in a new player.
    Spoiler:


    Made sure to not show them *everything*, because that would be a terrible thing to do to a first timer. Skipped a bunch of runes and secrets. Did teach them how to do dual flight though. Will go back and trophy those later.

    At the VERY end, before entering the light, they hesitated, and stepped back, not wanting to take the final steps ad backtracked a little. It was cute.

    Also, upon starting a new game, I realized that the game starts with you in the sand... so that when you move for the first time... you sit up and its a *reveal* that your robe has extra designey bits on it. I didn't even really notice till like my third time through that the robe was changing... but its a nice detail I hadn't noticed in all the bajillion times I've player.

    Probably because its been so long since I went from a base robe to a fancier one.
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  10. #90

    Default Re: Journey

    So do the PS3 trophies not carry over to PS4? That's a little annoying, especially for the ones where you have to get a single partner for basically the entire game. Gonna be fun to re-explore all the levels to get 100% again either way.

  11. #91
    Colin Baker Apologist Mr. Zoro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Journey

    I got the game a little over a month ago and was really unsure if I'd have a good experience online, since it's been… about 3 years since it came out, and I figured that by the time I got it, it would mostly have experienced players doing advanced stuff and exposing map glitches.

    But fortunately that wasn't the case on my first run, and I was with a new player, going by their robes and how they reacted to new things nearly the same way I did. It was incredibly fun when
    Spoiler:
    we first encountered the scarf dragon things. We both freaked out with the "chime" button and treaded lightly. Experiencing something like that with another person was something I hadn't felt before, and it was amazing.

    And then going through the snow level and sticking with your partner for warmth/scarfyness made me feel so close with whoever I was with. That camaraderie!


    I also really appreciate how the game doesn't really tell you if you connect with someone or not with a pop-up screen or anything (At most, you get a message if you aren't connected to the internet), which helps to make it feel immersive. The other person just appears as if they had been in the level before you got there. Although I think I caught a glimpse of the spawning once, where the avatar just simply rises from the sand.

  12. #92

    Default Re: Journey

    Quote Originally Posted by Foolio View Post
    So do the PS3 trophies not carry over to PS4? That's a little annoying, especially for the ones where you have to get a single partner for basically the entire game. Gonna be fun to re-explore all the levels to get 100% again either way.
    Your playstation account still displays and counts your old PS3 trophies, but yes, you can get them again for a game that's been re-released as its technically a new game. You can also get dupe trophies for say, a japanese release of the same game. Or a game thats cross platform wih Steam like Portal 2.


    Journey its REALLY not a big deal, I've gotten them all again except for the wait-a-week one, after one run through about about an hour of clean up. (Since I was with a new player I purposely avoided doing everything, otherwise I think I could have done it in one run.)

    You only need the single partner for the last two stages to get the ending trophies. ANd the "cover half the game" only takes a couple segments. You don't actually need one person the whole game to get things. While yes you can get screwed by other people, if you're trying to be cooperative and stay with a partner at all it shouldn't take more than 2 runsm and I got all the multiplayer stuff in one.

    Should be especially easy after the new release where its getting a lot of new players or returning veterans who will be eager to do full runs.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Zoro View Post
    But fortunately that wasn't the case on my first run, and I was with a new player, going by their robes and how they reacted to new things nearly the same way I did. It was incredibly fun when
    The game actually locks off advanced players from brand new players. If you've got the special robes, you can NOT play with a first time player. SO yes, you're incredibly likely to get a player on their first or second run through if you're brand new.
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  13. #93

    Default Re: Journey

    Wait that brings up another question... do I need PS+ to get partners in my game? Because I don't.

  14. #94

    Default Re: Journey

    I have no idea. I've had PS+ for years anyway.

    I thought it was required for online on the PS4 though? So probably yes.
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  15. #95
    Discovered Stowaway fedcom's Avatar
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    Default Re: Journey

    Such a great game. I must have replayed it at least a dozen times. Loved showing people where all the hidden characters were.
    Only thing I would change about it are those scarf monster things, they really should kill you. They were really scary the first time I met them, especially since they attacked my partner and I thought I lost him. But after I realized they only took your scarf the atmosphere was totally lost.

    Is the free PS4 version offer a limited time thing? I'll probably get a PS4 some day.
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  16. #96

    Default Re: Journey

    I played on stream today, and a surprising number of viewers joined. For the record, PS+ is NOT a requirement to get fellow travelers. I met several. Sadly did not get the trophy for running through enough of the game with a partner.

  17. #97

    Default Re: Journey

    Playing ABZU, which came out at midnight.

    Same art team as Journey, same music as Journey, but set underwater.

    It's super pretty, but... it's not Underwater Journey 2. This is prettier with more to look at, but I think Journey is an overall stronger package.

    More in depth thoughts after I've played through it a couple times.

    --- Update From New Post Merge ---

    So, after playing through the game twice (it's short, just like Journey is) I wanted to put into words how I felt about it, but couldn't quite. So I looked for some reviews and found something that sums it up pretty well.

    Spoiler:
    No matter how visually or symphonically rich these sequences may be, they're robbed of a bit of intensity by the fact that they ask for little input from the player. Journey was never hard, per se, but it required a bit of proficiency to keep the action moving. The threat of making a mistake provided an intensity and, by extension, emotional investment that Abzu never quite reaches.

    Even when you're exploring freely, there's little going on mechanically. You'll swim through nearly the whole game, only stopping on land for a few brief moments. You'll find small robots you can use to open doors. There are mines that can be easily avoided, and only slow you down a bit if you fail to do so. There are a couple of switches to flip, though calling them puzzles would be a profound overstatement.

    Speaking from a purely mechanical perspective, Abzu is profoundly unengaging. As I've said, the astounding presentation fills much of that gap, but not completely.

    It's not buoyed much by the narrative, which is so abstract I've played the thing twice and still have only the vaguest idea of who the diver is or what she is doing. There are hieroglyphs throughout the ocean that should fill in the blanks, but I'll have to rely on players smarter than me to fully explain their meaning.

    Your character does have a surprisingly affecting relationship with a great white shark, but it's not nearly enough to emotionally ground the game. Abzu asks so little of the player mechanically that it feels like we are more witness than participant.


    Its absolutely the child of Flower and Journey, and if you've played either of those, you probably already know exactly what to expect from it.

    I had some problems with the controls and the camera until I switched them around, (and I didn't figure out till very late in my first run that its three taps of the dash button that activates the hyper flipper for real speed.... but only in some areas?) In particular there are some artifical invisible walls that when you get to them, just sort of flip the camera around and are kind or irritating. Flower and Journey both had invisible walls too, but the strong blowing wind felt a little more organic than the... "nah, I don't feel like swimming that direction/going that deep/heading towards that source of light" method. The load screens are pretty lengthy and not disguised at all, but those are minor quibbles.

    Spoiler:
    The minimal storytelling isn't quite as strong as what Journey manages with similar moments, and the lack of a second player to explore with really hurts it a little I think. One of the great joys of Journey was finding a second player and guiding them to a secret you'd already found, or having them show you something... and the ability to do better and greater stunts with two people. It's not quite got the trick performing abiltiies of Nights into Dreams, but it does have some of that joy with water breeching and all. The colelctibles feel less rewarding though... they're just... there. In Journey getting another scarf piece allowed you to fly for longer periods and jump better, it was a true reward for exploring, something worth picking up every time you played the game.... here its just collecting for collecting sake. It lacks something like the sheer joy of the part in Journey where you just butt-slide down a hill really fast. Abzu has similar sequences, but they feel a bit more out of the player's control.

    It's a very pretty game, and there are some great moments in it (and the post-game level select actually lets you pick any area, rather than the last three all being joined together like in journey) and I'll probably play it more to try and find all the little collectibles and secrets, but its also not quite as much a game or as rewarding as its predecessors? Or maybe its just because I've played those two games a *lot* I've internalized a lot of what they do.

    I hope that like Journey there's a super power up that gives you better swimming as a reward for finding all the stuff, because I'd love to just be speed swimming and doing tricks the whole time.


    For the time being? I like it, its gorgeous to look at, and I'll play it some more to try and find everything... but Journey was instantly a classic and touched me in ways no other game had since Nights. This mostly felt like a game trying very, very hard to be Journey. Its still good, its quality and there's a lot to like, but its not quite living up to that. That may be entirely on me from playing Journey 30 or 40 times and super mastering and breaking that game to the point I was doing things wit the controls that were never intended (speed flying was a great joy) and maybe with a bit more proficiency in this game, it'll similarly open up. I think I enjoyed it more my second time since I had better controls grasp.
    Last edited by Robby; August 2nd, 2016 at 04:59 PM.
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  18. #98

    Default Re: Journey, Flower, Flow, and Abzu

    Yep, just finished Abzu, too. I agree with those [like Robby] saying it's not nearly as engaging as its predecessors; as I told my brother, it's like if a fish wrote fan-fic about Journey.

    As much as it pains me to agree with some of the overly negative reviewers, the main criticism--that it's ultimately shallow (HA WATER JOKE)--is accurate. Narrative, gameplay, experience...just doesn't match up to what it's clearly using as an inspiration. Absolutely gorgeous and I don't regret the experience at all, but it's not gonna stick.

    I will note, however, that the reviewers who criticize it for basically being another coat of paint on Journey don't recognize that Journey was another coat of paint on Flower. All three games follow almost the exact same pattern
    Spoiler:
    slow sui generis start, entry into a speedier on-rails sequence, peaceful sequence with first real indication of danger, sequence where that danger is omnipresent, closing resurrection-style sequence where the former danger is converted/destroyed
    but it only works to great effect in the first two (and, in my eyes, at least, most of all in the first).

    So, yeah, don't let the negative reviews keep you away, but go in with tempered expectations.

  19. #99

    Default Re: Journey, Flower, Flow, and Abzu

    Quote Originally Posted by tatermoog View Post
    it's like if a fish wrote fan-fic about Journey.
    Wow. That's... that's just perfect.


    Journey was such a hit that most people don't even realize Flower was a thing, but yeah. Journey absolutely borrowed from it note for note, and Flower did do the finale better (and the firefly stage is still one of my favorite things ever). So this really is the third time through the same story.

    Maybe if they'd set up the thing with the shark better that would have been a better throughline.
    Spoiler:
    I didn't even realize the first time through the shark you saved from the rubble and befriended that then died for you two minutes later was the same one that showed up all game. It had those three second cinema moments but didn't really leave any impression. I felt my first time through that sacrifice was really un-earned... having not realized you'd been "enemies" for the first half of the game.

    Maybe if you had saved it earlier and it had followed you most of the entire game it would have really hit home near the end, similar to the horse in Shadow of Collosus. I think that would have given the game the slight narrative edge it needed that it lost from not having a human second player... those little robots just weren't enough.

    Also, the final area is pretty much what I wanted the entire game to be. That level of speed swimming, trick performing, fish playing. Like Nights into Dreams. Why I'm hoping that after finding all the secrets it unlocks a full outfit like Journey's white cloak did. (but I don't know if its marked anywhere how many remain in a particular section, so it could make tracking hard. Meditation stones you can figure out based on what the menu has unlocked, but I have no idea how to figure out the hidden shells or fish spawn pools... especially since they seem to just remain unlocked after the first time and not do anything)

    At least unlike Journey you can just select straight to the last areas, no going through the hellish ice section to get to the fun zone this time.

    I think another problem might be, the game is pretty... TOO pretty. So all the areas end up looking the same. Sure one area is green and one is red and one is kind of dark... but its all underwater surrounded by colorful corral and lots of fish, so it all blends together some. Its gorgeous, but outside of the landmines near the end, none of the areas is really super unique in mood or tone or activity. In flower you had the windmill stage, painting, fireflies, the city... Journey you had the open clear desert, the butt slide area, the ruined city, the scary underground, the gorgeous light up tower, the long ice bit, then heaven... Abzu it feels like the pretty underwater coral part the entire game till near the end.


    It's a shame. All the talent is there, its gorgeous and fun to swim in, but it's just missing *something*.
    Last edited by Robby; August 2nd, 2016 at 08:59 PM.
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  20. #100

    Default Re: Journey, Flower, Flow, and Abzu

    Heh, I knew when I was playing the game that this would end with Robby and I agreeing on all the particulars and still discussing a game no one else cares about way too much.

    Quote Originally Posted by Robby View Post
    Journey was such a hit that most people don't even realize Flower was a thing, but yeah. Journey absolutely borrowed from it note for note, and Flower did do the finale better (and the firefly stage is still one of my favorite things ever). So this really is the third time through the same story.
    If anything, the finale of this game ripped off Flower more than Journey.
    Spoiler:
    The closing sequence of plowing through the once-deadly pyramids in greater and greater numbers before breaking through even has similar sound design to the sequence of climbing the final tower in Flower whilst destroying the electrical towers.


    Maybe if they'd set up the thing with the shark better that would have been a better throughline.
    Spoiler:
    I didn't even realize the first time through the shark you saved from the rubble and befriended that then died for you two minutes later was the same one that showed up all game. It had those three second cinema moments but didn't really leave any impression. I felt my first time through that sacrifice was really un-earned... having not realized you'd been "enemies" for the first half of the game.

    Maybe if you had saved it earlier and it had followed you most of the entire game it would have really hit home near the end, similar to the horse in Shadow of Collosus. I think that would have given the game the slight narrative edge it needed that it lost from not having a human second player... those little robots just weren't enough.
    Yep, I could actually tell pretty early on where we were headed with the shark, though not to that extent. Even knowing that in advance didn't make it feel less...bland, I suppose.
    Spoiler:
    Also, the shark is pretty prevalent in whatever storyline you're supposed to gather during the game. He's pretty omnipresent in those murals. On that note, the part I liked most about that review you posted was the guy saying he had no idea what the storyline was after two trips and would have to read up on it later. I was thinking, about halfway through the game, "guess I'll be finally figuring out what this game was about in two weeks." Journey had a similar level of mystery to it, but what little narrative it provided did a much better job of supporting the actual gameplay.


    Spoiler:
    Also, the final area is pretty much what I wanted the entire game to be. That level of speed swimming, trick performing, fish playing. Like Nights into Dreams. Why I'm hoping that after finding all the secrets it unlocks a full outfit like Journey's white cloak did. (but I don't know if its marked anywhere how many remain in a particular section, so it could make tracking hard. Meditation stones you can figure out based on what the menu has unlocked, but I have no idea how to figure out the hidden shells or fish spawn pools... especially since they seem to just remain unlocked after the first time and not do anything)
    Spoiler:
    Think each level has an area in the mural section where there are six sets of three recesses that fill with the shells as you collect them. Assume they correspond to the various sections of the game.

    And that's a good point about the speed of it all. Part of the reason I think Journey and Flower succeed where this game fails narratively is that the gameplay feels much more free and responsive until it's stolen away towards the end. I mean, Journey has a fairly slow standard movement speed, but the butt-slide sequence as well as the flying really give a strong sense of motion/freedom. In Abzu, everything is so slow until the end (save the surprisingly early "swim through the currents" sequence). This also hurt my desire to explore, since it would take so long to get to anything I wanted to see.


    It's a shame. All the talent is there, its gorgeous and fun to swim in, but it's just missing *something*.
    Yeah. Once upon a time, I would have been much more disappointed than I am, but I do still appreciate that there are folk out there who go into a game with little other guiding principle than "let's make something pretty."

    If anything, Abzu and its small team really emphasizes to me that it's a disappointment that the PS4/XBONE era (and really, going back to the PS3/360) has done so little to make truly memorable visual experiences outside the more realistic Uncharted/GoW/Tomb Raider games. Abzu is, in its own way, every bit as visually striking as Uncharted 4--why aren't we getting more full-length games like this?
    Hang in there, Kierkegaard.

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