Journey Collector’s Edition PS3 Review

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment Europe  Developer: thatgamecompany 

Genre: Adventure  Players: 1-2  Age Rating: 7+  Other console/handheld formats: N/A

Thatgamecompany have become renowned for making some very distinct gaming experiences. The trio of games that they developed for the PS3 have all been unique, and you couldn’t possibly mistake one with any other. Now Sony have placed all three of these uniquely flavoured games into a single package; bundled together as the rather oddly titled Journey Collector’s Edition.

Indeed, Journey is only one of the three games in this £15 package, which means that this collection has a rather questionable title. Also joining Journey to make up the trio are FlOw and Flower, while thatgamecompany have also included three simple bonus games, which were all developed in 24 hours.

Where would be the best place to start? The first release in this collection was FlOw, so I may as well start from there. FlOw was first released on the PS3 back in 2007, and proved itself to be unlike anything seen before. The game is basic and has you moving through planes with the SIXAXIS motion controls, as you control a microorganism that evolves through eating other creatures. With overly sensitive controls and the fact that it feels repetitive after awhile, FlOw is definitely the weakest game in the package.

Flower is a magical game in which you take control of a growing mass of vibrant petals, as you control their direction of flight with the SIXAXIS controller, and bring life and colour back to the world. Like all the games on the disc, there’s no real challenge here, although this is one relaxing experience that carries a powerful message, but it’s much more of an experience than it is a game. The beautiful visuals and music add so much to Flower’s appeal, and many will find the brief couple of hours that it takes to complete the game both memorable and magical.

Journey is thatgamecompany’s latest release, and has you controlling a hooded wanderer through a desert. The stunning visuals and beautiful music makes for an emotional experience, without a single word even being spoken. Like Flower, by the end you’ll know exactly what the message the game is trying to convey is, and Journey is definitely what could be called a truly magical experience over the couple of hours that the game lasts. The experience is also a lonely one, but you can come across companions online, and in a nice touch the game doesn’t even reveal their identity until you complete the game. In my most recent play through, I was joined by six players over the course of my journey. All in all, Journey is definitely the strongest game in the package, and thatgamecompany may struggle to better this one any time soon.

Each of the three main games also has bonus features included on the disc. There are detailed commentaries, a 30 minute making of documentary for Journey, concept art and screenshot galleries, game trailers, developer diaries, dynamic themes and wallpapers, as well as soundtracks from all the games. So, there’s certainly plenty of bonus content.

All in all, Journey Collector’s Edition presents a bundle that contains two magical games as well as another that just doesn’t compare to the others in any single way. Journey is definitely the shining star of the package, although Flower isn’t lagging miles behind by any stretch of the imagination. With a lack of challenge and more of a focus on sensory experiences, you can definitely tell where the developer’s intentions lay with each game, although the two standout games have a number of reasons to replay them, including to simply experience the magic once again. Thatgamecompany are undoubtedly a talented development team, so long may their gaming visions continue into the distant future.