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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Surfaced2092d ago (Edited 2092d 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".

coolbeans2092d ago

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

Gaming1012091d 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.

zeeshan2091d 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.

humbleopinion2091d 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.

coolbeans2090d ago (Edited 2090d 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_moose2090d 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_Bomb2090d ago (Edited 2090d 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...

Halochampian2090d ago


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

MysticStrummer2090d 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.

humbleopinion2090d ago (Edited 2090d 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_Bomb2090d ago (Edited 2090d 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 2090d ago
GribbleGrunger2092d ago

got to say, that's excellently written. bubbles

Chitown712912091d ago

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

Bathyj2091d ago

Yes, shallow and pedantic...

room4142091d ago

I agree, shallow and pedantic...

*googles pedantic*

Chitown712912091d ago

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

GribbleGrunger2090d 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 2090d ago
schlanz2091d ago

Story Quality?

Like this Website?

Good day sir.

zeeshan2091d 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.

Armyless2090d ago

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

GodHandDee2091d ago

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

2091d ago
ZippyZapper2091d ago

More like you wanted it to be a "9"

kikizoo2090d ago

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

oh i know, xfans like you...

GamersRulz2091d ago

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

kneon2091d 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 Dust2091d ago

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

Armyless2090d ago

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

badz1492091d 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!

OhMyGandhi2091d 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.

Redempteur2090d ago

congrats ... bubble up from me.

BinaryMind2091d ago

Oh-my-god guys, you're not going to believe this but Tom Chick hates another game!

2090d ago
360ICE2090d ago

Don't really care what he's trying to be or trying to do. I didn't agree with the review at all, nor did I think it was very good.

arbitor3652089d ago

@ humbleopinion

"The problem is not with Chick, it's with the rest of the industry"

thats like the old joke


a woman hears on the news about a crazy driver wreaking havoc in the city. obviously worried, she calls her husband's cell phone. and warns her husband that there is some psycho going the wrong way on the highway. he replies

"its not just one!! its all of them!!"


its the definition of insanity, man.

btw, if the whole industry were like Tom Chick, I would not associate myself with it at all. I would no longer be a current gen gamer

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P_Bomb2092d ago (Edited 2092d ago )

Ah yes, Tom Chick.

Tars 'n' feathers most AAA titles (Uncharted3, Gears3, Mass Effect2, COD, Halo Reach, Forza4, Deus Ex, FF, [email protected] etc) yet gives perfect scores to lesser games with more limited scope a la SSX and Darkness2. Kinda goes against his own anti-establishment gimmick this time, whether he realises it or not.

Journey is probably the most left facing game on the market so far this year. Yet he reviews it looking for gameplay more akin to the AAA titles he usually loathes and finds fault with for not stopping to smell the roses. Now he admits he just doesn't like deserts in games. Perhaps he should stop taking himself so seriously with barometers like that and just go full Yahtzee, instead of metacritic bad boy?

Speaking of meta', not sure why they added Quarter to Three on there tbh. Doesn't meet their usual criteria for quantity or quality https://metacritic.custhelp... . I'll click an approval vote for this review on N4G just for posterity, so that when Halo 4 comes out later this year and gets predictably slammed as well despite giving Tom the kind of gameplay and online he apparently lacked in Journey, I can say I told ya so. I don't think he knows *what* he wants.

Nimblest-Assassin2092d ago (Edited 2092d ago )

One more reason why metacritic fails as an aggregator. They are taking reviews from his personal blog, and knowing his review scale, it tarnishes good games

Uncharted 3: 4/10
Assassins Creed Revelations: 1.5/10
Syndicate: 2/10
Final Fantasy 13-2: 2/10
Twisted Metal: 3/10

Seriously, I wonder how he reviews games, these reviews can never be taken seriously as he is an outlier as a game critic, he just negativly reviews everything he touches.

He complains that Journey and Uncharted are the equivallents of comadore 64 games, he complains that twisted metal has no story, when he fully panned Uncharted and Journey for having stories. How he reviews games makes no sense what so ever.

His way of looking at games is relatable to the cold look a politician gives creativity. He never says what a game does right, he only complains about things that he finds wrong.

He wrote a whole paragraph of him complaining that Elena is helping you rather than being the damsel in distress, and complained about the characters acting like they have one shot at this IN THE CHAPTER CALLED ONE SHOT AT THIS!

Honestly, what makes this guy tick?

And now that he is on metacritic, one should just ignore the scores on metacritic completely as that small red or yellow is probably him

He should stay far away from video games, and instead become a political commentator, he has that cold outlook on games.

Can not wait for his reviews to blow up here on N4G and metacritic when he pans Halo 4, Bioshock Infinite, Assassins Creed 3, etc.

Outside_ofthe_Box2092d ago

Just like to point out that 13-2 deserves that score.

coolasj2092d ago

I have a better question. How did he get on Metacritic?

GribbleGrunger2092d ago (Edited 2092d ago )

we was having this very same discussion the other day and I pointed out that it only takes one site to bring down the average; which is why Metacritic is critically flawed... and here we have it.

'some' companies actually quote metacritic for their 'multiplat' games, using their averages as proof that multiplats are better on the 360 (guess which company i'm talking about)so... why not stir the pot a little more and guarantee exclusives don't miss out on all that sugar?

now would it be a REAL stretch of the imagination to consider whether guys like this are there for a purpose? when said company held a demo for bloggers and gave them all a free console for turning up, is it that far fetched to assume the unspoken deal was sealed with a nod and a wink?

i'm not saying it's a fact, i'm just willing to consider it a possibility

Afterlife2091d ago


Have you played it? or are you just a hater after looking at numbers? It's still a good game regardless of it's problems.

Parapraxis2091d ago

@GribbleGrunger, that's why the reviews should be weighted, as they are on most reputable sites.

Killman2091d ago (Edited 2091d ago )

What the f***ing sh*t? Does this guy exist just to hate video games? I can be harsh on games at times, but those scores just SCREAM: "HEY! F***ING LOOK AT ME!!!!"

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tiffac0082091d ago (Edited 2091d ago )

When I saw it was Tom Chicks reviewing the game, I just LOL'ed!

Tom Chicks - A guy who always criticize a game for something that its not, than review a game for something that it is.

Bimkoblerutso2092d ago

Hmmm...well, I disagree with just about everything he said in that review.

godofboobees2092d ago

This guy again?!! I didnt know Harvard had troll 101 as a class

SilentNegotiator2091d ago (Edited 2091d ago )

Just goes to show you that going to a high class school doesn't mean that you can't be a low class fool.

Who else went to Harvard, btw?
[see image]

Grap2091d ago (Edited 2091d ago )

i really wonder how that guy went to Harvard and run a country for almost a decade.

Bimkoblerutso2092d ago (Edited 2092d ago )

Edit: wtf? double post I guess.