Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Journey Collector's Edition

Sony has put out HD collections in the past, but recently they have begun further branding them under an umbrella Collection banner. To show this new branding, four collections were released on the same day, including God of War Saga, Infamous Collection, Ratchet & Clank Collection, and Journey Collector's Edition, the last of these being unaffected by this new branding. On this blog, we wish to discuss the first three of these collections at later points (just as soon as we can acquire them), but right now, let's focus on Journey Collector's Edition.

The main focus and draw of this collection stems from the fact that it includes Thatgamecompany's PSN titles, Flow, Flower, and Journey. This collection works differently from others I have seen, in that rather than each game being ready to play right off the disk, you must install them to your system first. Fortunately, for those who already have any of these games already on their PS3, the disk will actually recognize whether or not its already there, thus saving you the trouble of having to go through the game again in order to obtain a new set of trophies. In this way, this bundle is actually smart. What I personally find neat about the main menu (yes, I'm talking about a menu screen) is that the images representing these three games look like amazing movie posters.

Aside from these three acclaimed games, this collection also has three bonus mini-games that haven't been released by Thatgamecompany, known as Gravediggers, Duke War!!, and Nostril Shot. Since I don't want to go into too much detail about these mini-games, I will just briefly tell you what I think of each one. Gravediggers has a unique concept, in which two or more players play as gravediggers while competing to collect the most zombie skulls; it has great implementation, though it's charm comes from its resemblance to an Atari 2600 game, which should please fans of old-school gaming. Duke War!! also has an interesting idea, in which multiple people playing as dukes compete to collect the most money for a king with the help of peasants, which can actually be pretty competitive; this game has its own charm as well, thanks to some humorous voice acting and graphics resembling drawings on a whiteboard. Nostril Shot, on the other hand, isn't exactly my cup of tea personally; you play as a space maiden shooting at swarms of enemies, with the power to change whether you can shoot or charge at them, presumably with multiple players; I couldn't really get into this one, nor could I get a full grasp on it, particularly how someone else can join in, but on the upside it does faithfully recreate the look and feel of an old arcade game.

While the presence of three games previously released as downloads may turn off owners of those games, there's still plenty of extras for those that have already played them. Aside from the games themselves, the collection also includes concept art galleries and soundtracks for each of the main games, as well as trailers and other videos that provide more insight on each game from behind the scenes. At least the Flower soundtrack has also already been released via PSN (from my knowledge), but it's still worth checking out.

My only complaint, however, is the lack of the game Cloud. Before Thatgamecompany existed, its founders Jenova Chen and Kellee Santiago, along with other students from University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts, developed a game called Cloud that was released through Microsoft Windows. It would have been nice to see the game make an appearance here, but this likely would have involved more development time and Sony probably wanted to just use the games Thatgamecompany had under their contract. Oh well, you can't always get what you want.

So, is Journey Collector's Edition worth a purchase? While there's plenty of extras to entice those that have already bought one or more of the featured games, it's probably better for those who have not played any of them yet. In either case, however, I would tell you to consider purchasing it, especially if you're like me and you prefer having things in a tangible medium. (Plus, if you get it new, you also get a code for 24 free Flower and Journey avatars.)

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