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The Destination IS the Journey
on 13 June 2013
Finally the elusive `thatgamecompany' compilation arrives, officially, in the UK.
Despite my interest I never bought the American import version, and I know there'll be both old and new (to be) fans looking at the UK release, so for all concerned, this is what's included:
Standard packaging with small booklet and 1 Blu-Ray disc, which contains:
Gravediggers (Multiplayer mini-bonus-game (2-6 players only))
Duke War!! (Multiplayer mini-bonus-game (2-4 players only))
Nostril Shot (you read that right) (Multiplayer mini-bonus-game (2-7 players only))
Full soundtracks (all 45 minutes plus) for the 3 full games
Full artwork libraries for the 3 full games
Various XMB themes; concept art; trailers; commentaries and associated titbits for the 3 full games
All of the above are on the single Blu-Ray disc (apart from the avatars, which are redeemable on PSN via a code on the back of the manual).
Slightly strangely, the loading of the disc acts only as a hub to install/view the features from. To actually install and play the games you have to come back out to the XMB and proceed from the main menu (like you would a downloadable game), thus the disc isn't actually a re-formatted way to execute the games; merely a storage medium. Slightly bizarre, but no harm done.
And so then to the games. For people new to thatgamecompany; Flow, Flower and Journey are all scaled down full-games that originally appeared on PSN. They all - particularly Journey - received critical acclaim which has ultimately led to this release. They are not full-blown 20+ hour games: each one is about 2 and a half hours long and they're all designed to be played multiple times.
They are all very original and refreshing. Flow is interesting, an almost concept style game and is worth a play (think Snake (the mobile game) and Rez spliced together - in the ocean - and you`re halfway there). Flower is great and arguably the first time the developers began to find themselves. You control the 'wind' that blows around flower petals (stay with me) that are used to revitalise a flagging landscape. Art house? Probably. But serenely playable and ... beautiful. And Journey...
Ah, Journey. To even attempt to describe or construe it would be blasphemous. You may be aware of all the acclaim it has received. I know what you're thinking (as did I); `Yeah, I'm sure it is good - for an Indie game'. Politely, you're wrong (as was I). There's a reason this game is being recognised. I will not say anything about the game itself, but the presumption of heart and commitment and imagination and, maybe even intelligence, in the player from the developer is unprecedented. If you have an ounce of gamer code in your DNA (and if you loved Ico and Shadow of the Colossus), you owe it to yourself to experience this.
(Some people will hate it though, by the way - it has no guns, no dialogue, one character and only two buttons to play. If you love FPS's, this may not be for you, but ... well, I'll let you see for yourself).
The mini-games look fun too (haven't played them yet) and they have a profound back story to them which is worth observing. The features are good and the soundtracks are majestic, and a great deal of effort has gone into giving the player a worthwhile product (right down to the trophy configuration). There's plenty here to keep you going and if the PSN is supposed to be the side-quest spin-off to physical AAA releases, this is the cream of the crop.
The most beautiful drop in the ocean you will ever experience.