Journey PlayStation Network
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Taking a new look at the online adventure experience, Journey sees you awaken in an unknown world where you must walk, glide, and fly through a vast and awe-inspiring landscape, discovering the history of an ancient, mysterious civilization along the way.
In an innovative approach to online play, you are encouraged to explore the environment with the strangers who cross your path from time to time. By travelling together, you can re-shape the experience, creating individual memories and moments you will want to discuss with others.
Journey is produced by thatgamecompany (TGC), the people that created award-winning PSN titles flOw & Flower. TGC continue their tradition of delivering simple gameplay and accessible controls in a rich interactive environment that invites players to explore and experience emotional chords that are still rare in today's video games.
- Unique Gameplay Experience – Explore without standard game conventions of "violence." Unlike most games, Journey also features the concept of "de-empowering" the player to make feel helpless and tiny in vast world, experience awe and wonder
- Fresh Online Adventure – Players explore a mysterious world, discovering its hidden history. Travel alone, or adventure with strangers that they meet along the way. Joureny offers an innovative online cooperative play implementation with random players, giving a shared experience of exploration and discovery
- Intuitive Controls And Experience – Players with differing skill levels and/or moods can experience the game at their own pace
- Lush And Expansive Environments – Grand landscapes filled with dynamic sand and cloth, with beautifully simulated sand dunes that ripple and slide as you travel. The gorgeous graphics make players feel in awe of their surrounding environment
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The BAFTA Video Game Awards took place last night, with 53 games nominated for prestigious prizes across 17 categories. The winners are an eclectic bunch as well, handily illustrating the variety and scope of games as a creative medium.
Bethesda's rich and rewarding steampunk stealth-em-up Dishonored walked away with the evening's most coveted prize, voted Best Game by the BAFTA panel, but the big winner was Sony's digital gem Journey, nominated in eight categories. Jenova Chen's chilled out game of exploration and contemplation won five of the awards, getting the nod for game design, artistic achievement, audio achievement, original music and, in one of the evening's nicest surprises, online multiplayer.
Journey allows two players to explore together, but partners are placed together at random, cannot speak directly to each other and have no idea who they're playing with. For such a bold approach to co-operative play to snatch the multiplayer prize from the likes of Call of Duty and Assassin's Creed raised more than a few eyebrows.
Telltale's gripping episodic Walking Dead adventure also dominated the event, winning two of the seven awards it was up for, winning for Best Story and Best Mobile or Handheld game. Far Cry 3 was crowned Best Action Game, while XCOM: Enemy Unknown won for Best Strategy. Lego Batman 2: DC Superheroes claimed the prize for Best Family Game.
Journey, the stunning ambient explore-em-up from designer Jenova Chen, swept the board at the annual DICE Awards. Voted for by the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences, the awards are the closest thing the games industry has to the Oscars, although the ceremony inevitably involves less dance numbers.
Already a favourite with critics and a top selling game on SONY's PlayStation Network, Journey took home eight awards, including the big three: Game of the Year, Outstanding Achievement in Game Direction and Outstanding Innovation in Gaming.
No other game came close to Journey's haul, but several games came away with multiple awards. The brutally brilliant XCOM: Enemy Unknown took home prizes for best strategy/simulation game as well as Outstanding Achievement in Gameplay Engineering. Microsoft's Halo 4 also took home two gongs, for Outstanding Achievement in Visual Engineering and Outstanding Achievement in Connectivity.
Topping off a 2012 that was stuffed with superb titles across all genres, the exuberant Borderlands 2 was crowned Action Game of the Year, while Need for Speed: Most Wanted took the prize for best racing game and Mass Effect 3 was dubbed best role-playing game. Skylanders Giants beat Lego Batman 2 and Nintendo Land for Family Game of the Year, while PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale provided an upset in the fighting game category, as SONY's character crossover mash-up beat such genre mainstays as Tekken Tag Tournament 2 and Street Fighter X Tekken.
Telltale Games' gruelling episodic adventure series The Walking Dead, based on the hit comic, also won big. It was awarded Adventure Game of the Year, and also took home honours for story and voice acting.
Best Downloads of 2012
It's been an astonishing year for downloads with a raft of low-priced, mainly indie games that have packed more punch than most triple-A titles. If for some reason you don't think that downloadables can match their boxed brethren, then check out what you've missed and start kicking yourself. Or make it easy on your foot and get downloading instead...
The Walking Dead (X360/PS3/PC/Mac/iOS)
Quick-time events, simple puzzles and a shonky games engine; they're hardly what you'd call marketing bullet points but this is the best TV/film/comic adaptation we've ever played - and a contender for 'game of the year' as well. Set in The Walking Dead universe but with its own characters and story, this five-part adventure sees you playing as Lee Everett charged with looking after an orphan in a world overcome by zombies. It features some simple but contextually-perfect puzzle-powered gameplay plus pitch-perfect characterisations and a storyline that can proudly stand decomposing shoulder-to-decomposing shoulder with the comic and TV series. Most importantly, it packs the kind of emotional wallop that big leaguers like Heavy Rain can only dream of...
Mark of the Ninja (X360/PC)
Lurking in the shadows behind its horribly generic name is this riveting stealth game. The premise is simple - take the key 3D stealth-combat ingredients of Splinter Cell and Metal Gear Solid and turn them into a 2D platformer. Sound like it shouldn't work? Think again - from the makers of the cult The Dishwasher series, MOTN sees you playing as, well, take a guess, hellbent on stopping the evil machinations of... oh never mind - we did warn you it sounded generic, right? The end result though is a masterclass in visceral stealth action as you creep down halls and corridors, crawl through air vents and leap across rooftops, planning and executing the enemy in ever more fiendish ways. Brilliant.
Tokyo Jungle (PS3)
As mad as bag of spanners, well, spaniels in this case, Tokyo Jungle is a highly original take on the jaded apocalypse theme that sees you taking to the mean streets of Tokyo that humankind has mysteriously vanished from. So what role do you play? A veritable zoo-full of critters, that's what! Starting off as a wee dog, it's your job to fight off all manner of species, forage for food and procreate to ensure your species survival - and the best bit? That you can try out being all manner of different animals, proving in the process that it's a dog-eats-dog-eats-crocodile-eats-cat-eats-hyena-eats-hippo-eats-velociraptor world out there. Funny, scary and vicious.
Fez for X360
A labour of love for its creator Rich Vreeland, this 8-bit-style marvel is astonishing to look at and play thanks to its clever use of dimensions, mind-mashing puzzles and oh-so-sweet old-skool 2D platforming action.
Journey for PS3
Sublime graphics marred to a haunting soundtrack sees you trekking across a desert landscape on a quest to reach the top of a distant mountain. With its innovative co-op and arresting sights that stay with you long after finishing, this is without doubt one of the PS3's finest hours.
Trials Evolution for X360/PC
Twitch gaming at its very best, negotiate ever more tortuous tracks on a motorbike. Simple but so dangerously addictive that perhaps the Mayans should have warned us about this instead...
Although it may have wobbled in the early running, the PlayStation 3 approaches the end of the current hardware generation as one of the strongest and most eclectic gaming systems in history. Whether reviving and refreshing its big franchises for new fans, or supporting the more artistically inclined indie end of the development spectrum, a large debt of thanks for 2012's sterling games line-up is owed to SONY. Uniquely among the big platform holders, you could easily fill a list of the PS3's top titles with SONY's own first party exclusives.
Also uniquely among its peers, SONY has done a superb job of dipping into its past without exploiting fans. High definition compilations of classic PlayStation 2 series such as Ratchet & Clank worked both as loving tributes to classic gameplay of yesteryear, and as highly polished introductions for generations of new fans. At the same time, new games featuring the same characters ensured they'll endure into the next generation, with Ratchet & Clank: QForce combining the crisp and humorous platform jumping of old with a frantic tower defence strategy twist.
Also making a comeback was the mighty Twisted Metal. SONY's ferocious vehicle combat game is a representative of a genre that has faded from popularity, but the combination of fantastic multiplayer mayhem, addictive arcade driving physics and the sheer visual punch that the PS3 delivers makes this bratty, splattery action game one of 2012's unsung gems.
Twisted Metal succeeded because it brought back classic gameplay that had been forgotten, but other SONY hits this year worked because they took popular characters and concepts off into new directions. LittleBigPlanet Karting, for example, found Sackboy reinvented as a cuddly textile version of Jenson Button. The introduction of kart racing into the LittleBigPlanet world was exciting enough, but when you factor in the boundless creativity that the game offers - allowing players to use the developer's own design tools to create their own tracks and mini-games - then you've got a game that is a more than worthy addition to the LBP lineage. Even if you never create anything of your own, the fact that the community is constantly producing new, free content is enough to keep you playing for months.
SONY's roster of characters got an even more unlikely make over in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. This multiplayer fighting game pitted such unlikely stablemates as Parappa the Rapper, Sackboy and Sly Cooper against the likes of Nathan Drake, God of War's Kratos and Bioshock's Big Daddy. It's an insane mash-up of the whimsical and the fearsome, yet it works beautifully. The larger arena-based battles are frantic and hilarious - perfect party game fodder - yet the systems underneath are much closer to the classic fighting game standards you'd expect to find in hardcore genre titles. With former Street Fighter spokesman Seth Killian as the lead designer, it's perhaps no surprise that All-Stars is actually a seriously good fighting game that just happens to have some silly modes for everyone to enjoy. If you haven't picked it up yet because you thought it was just for kids, correct that mistake as soon as possible!
SONY continued to innovate in other areas as well. The PlayStation Move controller found its perfect realisation in Book of Spells, the first in a planned series of Wonderbook augmented reality experiences. Produced in conjunction with JK Rowling, it sees players using an actual book which is transformed on-screen into a dusty old tome from the Hogwarts library. Casting spells and interacting with this magical world is genuinely spellbinding.
Just as magical, in a more abstract way, was the critically acclaimed Journey. Created by esoteric designer Jenova Chen, this thought-provoking experience sets you down in a strange desert with only a distant mountain peak to guide you. As you wander, solving puzzles and navigating the ruins of a lost civilisation, you'll gain the power to float and fly, as well as meeting other players who can collaborate with you to find more secrets. Absolutely gorgeous to look at, and inviting all kinds of gentle emotional responses, it's a true work of art.
Even far away from the arty indie scene, the PS3 had a cracking year. Fans of Assassin's Creed III, for example, were treated to exclusive bonus missions on SONY's console that wove legendary traitor Benedict Arnold into the game's Revolutionary War narrative.
And, remarkably, 2013 looks like it will be even better. Intelligent blockbusters such as The Last of Us and Beyond: Two Souls will be available exclusively on the PS3, along with a new God of War and a new Sly Cooper adventure, and that's all before the summer arrives. The news may be full of rumours and guesswork about the next hardware generation, but there's plenty to be excited about on the consoles we do have!
Go on, admit it; you're just a wee bit tired of shooting stuff in the face, right? Of trawling through another enemy horde of insurgents/robots/goblins/[insert nemesis here]? So how about a change? How about going on a Journey on your PS3 instead...
First things first; you should banish any notions of 'typical gameplay' when booting up this exclusive PSN digital download. Instead, approach the third-person Journey as a unique gaming experience, one that sees you charged with a single, solitary task - to make it to a mountain in the far distance of the game's arid world. Trouble is that there's a vast desert between you and it - and one packed with genuine mystery and intrigue. And no AK47s whatsoever. Sorry.
It's the antithesis of every mainstream game you've played then. Out go leaderboards, stats and lives; instead, in comes uncovering the world's secrets on your way to the mountain, accompanied by visuals and a soundtrack that are beautiful. You'll walk, explore and jump to traverse Journey's rich, stylised landscape and explore its blissfully dragon- and orc-free caves and ruins.
Adding to this unique experience is the equally unusual co-op. You won't be chest-bumping buddies or exchanging rapid-fire obscenities with teen numbskullz-with-skillz. Instead you may (or may not) be joined by a completely random player. Instead of engaging in smack-talk, you'll communicate with each other by pressing a single button on your joypad. It sounds barmy in principle but in practise, it works sublimely. And you can dump them whenever you want so it's all good.
Everything in Journey smacks of the innovation that can be found in all of developer thatgamecompany's titles to date; they're the chaps who created flOw and Flower. So cleanse yourself of body counts, sniper scopes (and gun-toting nuns) and instead go on this short, sweet Journey. We suspect it will be one you'll want to take again and again.
Dishonored takes home Best Game BAFTA (06/03/2013)
The BAFTA Video Game Awards took place last night, with 53 games nominated for prestigious prizes across 17 categories. The winners are an eclectic bunch as well.…
SONY's Journey dominates DICE Awards (08/02/2013)
Journey swept the board at the annual DICE Awards, the closest thing the games industry has to the Oscars…
Editor's Choice - Best Downloads Of 2012 (24/12/2012)
It's been an astonishing year for downloads with a raft of low-priced, mainly indie games that have packed more punch than most triple-A titles. If for some reason you don't think that downloadables c…
The Best of 2012: PlayStation 3 (20/12/2012)
A large debt of thanks for 2012's sterling games line-up is owed to SONY. Uniquely among the big platform holders, you could easily fill a list of the PS3's top titles with SONY's own first party excl…
Editor's Choice - Journey (27/07/2012)
First things first; you should banish any notions of 'typical gameplay' when booting up this exclusive PSN digital download. Instead, approach the third-person Journey as a unique gaming experience.…
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