Sadly though, the automatic, drop-in multiplayer actually detracted from my experience. I thought they’d only use it sparingly, which could have worked, but instead they paired me with other players for most of the game.
They do such a great job building this haunting, mysterious, lonely world, and then ruin it by sticking you with a pesky kid brother. Hey, jump jump jump, beep beep, oh wow look over here I found something! Ooh, is that a puzzle? I can solve that, here, let me!
Sigh. I could play it again with ethernet unplugged, but I’ve already experienced the (ahem) journey, so it won’t have the same impact. I have to admit, I’m a bit disappointed.
I listened to Robin Hunicke’s talk at GameCity from earlier this year, where she explained their motivation. They really wanted the one on one interaction to be a central part of the game, not just an add-on, and they definitely succeeded at that.
My discomfort may say more about me than anything else. I love exploring in games, especially when they have such a rich, atmospheric world. I’m also very introverted. Journey used an admirably light touch, and I could walk away from the other person at any time, but in the end, even just knowing they were there detracted from the immersion.
It’s still a great game, and I highly recommend it. If you play it, though, and you’re an explorer like me, consider signing out of PSN first.