Quarter to Three: Journey Review

"There’s no challenge and no real gameplay, which isn’t necessarily a criticism. It’s sort of like Shadow of the Colossus without any colossi, or Ico without the little girl. It does have multiplayer, though. Other players run around in your game pulling your switches, mashing their circle buttons to activate the “hey, over here!” beacons, and basically going the same place you’re going without any meaningful way to interact with you unless you both know Morse code. How’s that for a metaphor for online gaming?"

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Surfaced1980d ago (Edited 1980d ago )

What disappoints me so supremely about this "review" is how Tom, despite being an erudite Harvard graduate and a chap whom undoubtedly must be full of life experience, is unable to comprehend that games, like every other expressive medium, might be more than just a sum of their part.

Such a lapse in judgment is, when given the benefit of the doubt, actually, implausible.
So what conclusions are we left with?
Why else would he publish something like this?

IMO, he just wanted to be "that guy".

coolbeans1980d ago

Your complaint is understandable, especially if you've read other harsh critiques by him.

Gaming1011979d ago

He's trying to be the Roger Ebert of games - someone who looks down their nose at games and talks shit about them for money. Plain and simple.

zeeshan1979d ago

Surfaced: WELL SAID BROTHER! I could not have said it better myself. You really hit the nail there. I 100% agree with what you said. Bubbles for you mate! Mine were taken away for being logical and I hope the same doesn't happen to you.

humbleopinion1979d ago

Actually, if you read previous reviews from him (both harsh ones and ones full of superlatives) you will know that what Surfaced wrote about him wanting to be "that" guy" is quite ridiculous. In over a decade of game reviewing, Tom never really care aboud being any kind of guy.

Tom highly favors good gameplay over narrative, and Journey is quite lacking in that department as he wrote himself in the review:
"There’s no challenge and no real gameplay"
He's not judging it as an arthouse experience but rather as how fun and challenging it is *TO HIM* as a game. This is why games like Journey get 2/5 and why games like SSX get 5/5 in his reviews.
It's all a personal experience. You can argue with wrong facts in reviews, but not with the experience.

Surfaced makes some excellent arguments about some games being more than the sum of their parts, but these are straw arguments which have nothing to do with anything in the context of the actual review by Tom.

coolbeans1978d ago (Edited 1978d ago )


Thanks for being one of the few to add rational argumentative points to the discussion (+bubbles).

Although I'm not familiar with his gaming experience, I certainly can see that he's quick to deliver his opinion in a fashion that shows years of experience. The previous reviews that I've read by him seem to be less about the whole amd more about the sum of a few particular parts.

I must note that I don't agree with Surfaced's opinion on him being "that guy" (ie hipster scoring lower for the heck of it), but rather sypathizing with the notion he/she presents that questions why Chick seems to focus so much on certain areas, which I don't wholesomely agree to.

Regardless, I think he's consistent with his highly-disagreeable method of reviewing games (I was a bit more hyped to pick up SSX after this review :D).

gman_moose1978d ago

If the guy doesn't like games like this, he's got no business reviewing them. Don't care how long he's been in the industry or what his agenda is. Unbiased reviewers were able to see Journey for what it was supposed to be, and reward it for what it was. This guy went shopping for a 50" TV, bought a 24" one, and rated it crappy because it was too small.

I don't get reviewers like this... if you don't like the game, don't play it and don't review it. Don't punish the developers because it wasn't your cup of tea. IMO, that is the sign of someone out to make a name for themselves.

By the way, I haven't played Journey, and I don't intend to. I just can't stand "journalists" like this.

P_Bomb1978d ago (Edited 1978d ago )

Problem with suggesting Chick favors gameplay over narrative is that he's actually dissed a lot of games with good gameplay. Uncharted, Halo, Forza, Gears of War, God of War, Mass Effect, Deus Ex, Skyrim, Starcraft are some of the leading games in their genres...and he's dissed them all at some point. This isn't an isolated incident with Journey.

Besides, if he's thinking about dune buggies and snowboarding while playing it, I'd question his ability to remain objective and on-task. Hands up how many people went into this game looking for SSX in the desert?

The review as is, told me nothing about the game that would help me make an informed decision on whether to play it or not. Challenge? That's presumptuous. How does he know I don't play most games on easy? When he had a hard game in front of him (Dark Souls) guess what? He panned that too. Made his overrated list last year.

If the shoe fits...

Halochampian1978d ago


So you're saying reviewers should only play games they like and always be positive?

MysticStrummer1978d ago

After looking at his review history and seeing the list of AAA games he's slammed for one reason or another, I don't see how many people would value his opinion enough to care about what he says. The uselessness of Metacritic is already well documented so it's no surprise that they'd use him in their formula. Overall, it's just one more example of how far gaming journalism has sunk this generation.

humbleopinion1978d ago (Edited 1978d ago )

The problem is not with Chick, it's with the rest of the industry. You mention a few games which Chick reviewed and claim he "dissed" them based on an aggregated score, but Chick was always a supporter of a full score scale, where 6/10 is actually considered a pretty good game and you'll have to take an extra mile to score higher than that.
So if one ever bothers to read the games he supposedly dissed, they will be surprised. Skyrim for example is my 2011 GOTY and probably the best game in the last couple of years, but I still understand all the valid points he raised in his review (especially the horrible UI and the outdated combat mechanics). And he still gave the game what is considered a good score.
The same goes for Halo which is one of my favorite franchises, with reach is being what I consider the current peak of FPS games on consoles. And while Chick himself speaks highly positive on Halo games (read the Reach and Anniversary reviews) he does raise valid points which I wondered about myself (why no bots?, should we really care that much about armor costumizations? Haven't we already been here before?).

And I can go on to other reviews as well. The fact that many big respectable games are fairly criticized by him only proves that he doesn't have anything specific against this game. And on the contrary, he is full of superlatives for many other games (Batman, Saints Row, SSX and other games he gave top marks to) and so one can see that he's not full of negativity and does know how to give credit where he believes credit is due.

Every one of his arguments is understandable once you bother to read them, even if you don't agree. The thing is most people here are overwhelmed by a one digit score mark, so asking them to read a full paragraph is out of the question. The majority here didn't even read the article before going into the all too familiar comment ritual.

You obviously did bother to read his review, but I am still puzzled by your comment "if he's thinking about dune buggies and snowboarding while playing it, I'd question his ability to remain objective and on-task."
He's not supposed to be objectives as reviews are always entirely subjective. They give us a point of view.
You don't agree with this point of view AFTER playing a game? Good for you. But most people here didn't even play the game.
He said that the game lacks challenge, gameplay, and he wished he was playing the last game he reviewed instead.
If you don't like challenge or don't care for it, if you wish to be part of an experience which is not necessarily a proper game as we know it, and if games like SSX are not your thing - then obviously you don't need to look at the score attached to this review as it's not relevant for you.
It's your job as a customer to understand what parts of the review are relevant for you and base your purchasing decision on that. A review is not a word of god.

P_Bomb1978d ago (Edited 1978d ago )

"...but Chick was always a supporter of a full score scale..."

I wish he'd use it more. Everything on Quarter to Three is out of 5, including this particular 2/5. He doesn't give half stars, so you won't see 50/100, 70/100, 90/100 equivalents on there. I wonder if the letter grade system would suit him better? It's a bit more open to interpretation.

+ Show (7) more repliesLast reply 1978d ago
GribbleGrunger1980d ago

got to say, that's excellently written. bubbles

Chitown712911979d ago

I find this article rather shallow and pedantic....

Bathyj1979d ago

Yes, shallow and pedantic...

room4141979d ago

I agree, shallow and pedantic...

*googles pedantic*

Chitown712911979d ago

LOL! @ Room 214 I just googled it and it said "of like a pedant"....Thanks Google -___-

GribbleGrunger1978d ago

a pedant is someone who will insist on things being 'too exact' for example, if i said it was 4.30 a pedant would say 'no, it's 4.29'

+ Show (3) more repliesLast reply 1978d ago
schlanz1979d ago

Story Quality?

Like this Website?

Good day sir.

zeeshan1979d ago

LOL! I did that even before I saw your post. That's how natural it came to me because that's how stupid this "review" is.

Armyless1978d ago

Me too. Frankly this guy sounds like an self-inflated, egotistical idiot with the attention span of a maggot.

GodHandDee1979d ago

Your comment was a better review about the game than his whole article

1979d ago
ZippyZapper1979d ago

More like you wanted it to be a "9"

kikizoo1979d ago

Most of the time, it's a cares about 1 or 2 dumbs reviewers ?

oh i know, xfans like you...

GamersRulz1979d ago

Quarter to three ?! is that the size of Tom's brain? lol.

kneon1979d ago

Being a Harvard graduate is irrelavent, I graduated with plenty of people I consider idiots, and I know plenty of smart people with little education. Besides, it's not like he got a real degree.

He's seem to often want to be "that guy", had I know it was his review I wouldn't have even bothered to read it.

Liquid Dust1979d ago

I can't imagine being so mentally shallow to not feel any impact by this game

Armyless1978d ago

It's almost pitiable. We should consider keeping sharp objects out of his reach for his own safety.

badz1491979d ago

no one ask him to review the game in the first place and he can always say no and ignore the game because he clearly knows that it's not his type of game but NO, he played for several minutes and write a rubbish review on how the game is rubbish!

hits generation to the max!

OhMyGandhi1979d ago

well said.

I also agree that certain experiences tend to fall outside the notion that things to need to happen, seek an objective more obvious than "go off" now.

It's unfortunate, because as games become more and more obvious with what they want, "do this, good. Do that, but wait for this guy to move past, then do that again, this time, without this and that." Gamers are turning into well trained golden retrievers, where an obscure idea is one that not only felt "undeveloped" but rather, implemented in such a way that the masses would simply not "get it" even if it had been appeared as subtitles, font size 72 front and center on screen.

Journey is a game for limited viewing. It's not a slap happy experience where you wander into your room, switch on the console, and "play for a few minutes", it's an experience that requires your undivided attention. Then, it will absorb you and take you places.

And that's why journey exists. It's game that knowingly steps outside of what's expected in a videogame, throws you an environment with only a minimalist sense of initial purpose, and expects you to use common sense.

There are honestly two types of people who know what Journey is all about.

Those who read about it, saw the screenshots, and heard ThatGameCompany was creating it...and turned the page.

And those who read the previews, saw the potential of an -experience-, and knew full well how the game would play out just by seeing screenshots, and were intrigued by the core mechanics of the game as whole.

Redempteur1978d ago

congrats ... bubble up from me.