Assembling three of the best downloadable games on the PlayStation 3, the Journey Collector's Edition brings together the collective works of thatgamecompany, since its founding in 2006. In addition to three PSN games that you should already own, flOw, Flower, and Journey, this collector's edition gives fans a behind the scenes look at the games, in addition so some of their lesser known creations.
While not an unheard of practice, releasing downloadable games as a collection doesn't happen too often, and when it does, it's even rarer that those games will come with extra content. The Journey Collector's Edition bucks that trend, and gives players all three of thatgamecomany's games, and so much more, including unreleased games. This release seems to go out of its way to cram in as much as possible to appease their growing fan base for a reasonable price.
While it is hard to argue the already established quality of flOw, Flower, and Journey, thatgamecompany pulls back the curtain a bit on this disc to reveal some of their internal works – three games that were crafted during 24-hour, company-wide Game Jams. The three games, Duke War, Gravediggers, and Nostril Shot are all unique multiplayer experiences, vastly different than the three games that you know thatgamecompany for. Gravediggers has players slaying zombies and collecting skulls to win. Score points by raising peasants to collect gold in Duke War. Nostril Shot has players surviving hordes of enemies to amass the most kills to win. While they are each a bit rough around the edges, they're all an enjoyable diversion for at least a few minutes, as long as you have someone else to play with. Also, since each game was created at a different Game Jam, all a year apart from each other, the Collector's Edition offers up an additional demonstration of just how far the company has come in such a short time.
In addition to the games, the Collector's Edition packs in some additional goodies like concept art and game commentary from the developers, the latter being extremely insightful if you care at all about any of these games. There's even additional stuff for your PS3 in the form of dynamic backgrounds and downloadable avatars. To really seal the deal, Sony has even thrown in a voucher for one free month of PlayStation Plus, so if you get tired of any of these games, you can go grab something there to get your money's worth.
One of the Collector's Edition's biggest selling points is also one of its potential drawbacks. Oddly, even though all three games are included on the disc, if you want to play any of them, including the Game Jam ones, you need to install them to your PS3. While the games are relatively small, it's still a bit unexpected since they are all included on a disc. On top of that, you can't actually launch the games from within the "special features" section, you need to launch them from the installed games menu. It's not a huge hurdle to get over, but if you bought the disc to save space on your hard drive, you're clearly out of luck.
Since 2007 thatgamecompany has very quickly developed a reputation for releasing some of the most creative games of this generation. Starting with flOw, console gamers were introduced to a new type of game – one driven by an indie developer's sensibility, but backed by a first party's dollars. Sony has done a great job of continuing to support both thatgamecompany, and other indie developers, to craft unique and inspired games for their PlayStation platforms, and the Journey Collector's Edition is an exceptional example of how creative thinking can grown when it's fostered. At $30 it may not be a worthwhile purchase for anyone that has already jumped on the downloads for all of the games, but anyone that has been holding out on even one of the titles will definitely want to pick this up for all of the extra content.