Before You Start: One Tip For Playing Journey The Best Way

Before You Start: One Tip For Playing Journey The Best Way

Here at Kotaku, we like to put together lists of tips for getting the most out of some games. Skyrim, Far Cry 3, Arkham City, games like that.

Journey isn’t really a game like those other ones. There isn’t actually a “best” way to play it. But there’s one tip that I wanted to share, because I’ve found myself offering it to more and more people over the last month. Seeing as how Journey has wound up on lots of Game of the Year lists, I get the sense that there are still plenty of people firing it up for the first time.

Here’s my tip: The first time you play, turn the PlayStation Network off and play it by yourself, offline.

I don’t mean to take anything away from the game’s multiplayer features, which allow other players to anonymously drop in and out of your game to spend some time by your side. It’s a lovely thing, and one of the smartest and most distinctive things about Journey. But the first two times I played the game, it was essentially solo — I was playing ahead of release, for review, so there weren’t too many people online. It was just me, and the mountain. And it was amazing.

I recently came back to the game to give it another run (more or less to see how it was to come back to it, now that it’s GOTY time), and found that the experience is markedly different alongside others. I got all wrapped up in trying to follow the person who’d joined my game, and at one point a maxed-out player in a white cloak and I worked for about five minutes to get me up to a platform so I could snag a collectible glyph. The game is interesting and beautiful with others, but I wouldn’t have wanted to experience it that way the first time through.

So: If you still haven’t played Journey but think you’re going to, consider tackling it alone. Turn off your network connection and play it by yourself, at least the first time through. (And if you’ve played it once but it didn’t quite grab you, consider making a second time through solo.)

Don’t worry. It’s a game made for multiple playthroughs, and there will aways be time to experience that neat multiplayer, and maybe even to earn a white cloak of your own. In fact, just like in life, playing with others can give you a new perspective on being by yourself.

But the first time you walk toward the mountain, walk alone.


  • The first time I played through Journey, it was just as it was released to the non-plus members, and I went through the entire game with one other person who was just as new to the game as I was. The experience was sublime, and when I played through it solo later I felt that there was something missing. So I would say the shared experience for me was far greater than going it alone.

    Having said that, if you jump into the game for the first time now, you’ll likely be paired up with an experienced player, and I can see how that could ruin some of the atmosphere of the game if they are trying to help you get all the collectibles and powering ahead in areas that you might otherwise have lingered. So in that sense I can see that playing it solo would be preferable.

    BUT MAN, on my first play through, we were both totally new to the experience, and it was incredible! SPOILERS (a bit): Exploring and discovering the tapestries and glyphs together, and being absolutely terrified of the monsters in the dark. Going back for them when they seemed too scared to make it to the next point of safety, and running out and distracting the monster so that they could make it. Losing and finding them, falling together and being reborn, and then stepping into the light together. Wow, just thinking about it now gives me chills.

  • Anyone who listens to this tip is going to ruin the experience for themselves.

    If I was going to be silly enough to give someone a tip for playing Journey “the best way” it would be to not read this or any other article about it before playing. Even knowing some of things in this article could spoil your experience. It truly is one of those games that it’s best to just experience for yourself without knowing anything at all about it going in.

    For me, the best moment of the game was realising that there was another person playing with me, that the other figure I’d encountered wasn’t a part of the game, it was a real person controlling them. I also think the game loses a great deal of impact if you don’t get to complete it side by side with a companion(or more than one, over the course of the game). My first time was marred by somehow losing my companion and having to climb the mountain alone. But at the same time it was one of the many things that made the game incredible.
    Forcing the game offline is denying yourself your own unique story

    • I started playing the third day it was released, so there was plenty of inexperienced players then. Just as Strange mention, at first I wasn’t sure whether the other thing I’ve met halfway was actually a player or a bot. Until I realized it couldn’t be a bot. That alone was a tremendous revelation of how well done the multiplayer was.

      On my second playthru a week later to get that trophy, I met a white robe where I was puzzled at his/her/its intention which was warranted due the to limited communication until I realized there where plenty of unlockables and white robe was leading me there. Suited me perfectly cos I am bit of a completionist. But I lost white robe halfway through.

  • This article is exactly and entirely wrong. Without a friend, Journey wouldn’t be as great. Turning off PSN is denying a good chunk of the experience.

  • The first time I played through the game, I disabled online. I thought it was overhyped and overrated. I turned online back on when I was replaying to get some trophies, and it made the experience so much better. In short, I disagree with this article.

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