Thatgamecompany is probably not as well-known in the gaming industry as they should be. Countless times now, I’ve mentioned Journey, Flower, and thatgamecompany to various friends of mine and I’ve been greeted with a puzzled look. Why I’ve been met with such a look is quite simple, these game were never publicized in the way that they should have been. They don’t cater to the average gamer and they’re very different experiences than most games. The question is, are these games the artistic masterpieces that many analysts have claimed they are or is this one collection that’s a miss?
When I first heard about Flow, I didn’t pay much attention to it. I was much more interested in some of the newer PlayStation 3 games at the time and a small downloadable title didn’t really feel like it was worth my time. About a year passed by and I ended up playing Flower which completely changed my perception on these types of games. It’s more than just a game with each of the games featured in this collection, they’re all artistic and relaxing experiences and I liken them to a game like PixelJunk Eden. Simply put, thatgamecompany is going to be a well-known game company in the very near future if they aren’t already.
Each game has a different premise. Flow requires the player to control a snake-like organism through an aquatic environment attempting to make it grow by eating other organisms in the environment. Some organisms can be harmful while others make you switch between 2D plains. Flower is a game where you control the wind and try to make all of the flowers bloom. As you go through the levels, they generally get brighter and fields become more vibrant, and things like windmills start spinning. Journey is an altogether different game from Flow and Flower. The game follows a character on a journey to a mountain top. Players start of in a desert and use the power of cloth to briefly fly which allows you to traverse the vast levels.
The main theme between all three of the games is the sense of exploration and adventure. All three have absolutely not instructions beyond a couple button layouts and all require the user to figure out how to complete the games. There’s a great sense of accessibility between all of the games considering the very simple nature of which they are played. All of the games do not require much more than moving around and one or two buttons. It’s a very different way of playing than most people would be used to but, it’s a very relaxing and gratifying experience. Players will even get a sense of story without actually having a narrative. This is more prevalent in Journey than any other with players actually being able to meet up with each other anonymously and help each other on their adventures and felling a connection with them. Again, these games are more about show than about skill.
This collection is pretty good value for most people but, considering most of these games are $9.99 to $14.99, I really question why it was important to make this a collection. Don’t get me wrong, these are great games and it’s nice to see them put together on a shelf so that more people who may not have an Internet connection can enjoy them but, most of this stuff can already be downloaded on the PlayStation Network. Not only that, but most of this stuff has to be installed to your hard drive from the disc! In one of the weirdest moves I’ve seen in awhile, to play any of these games, they have to be installed to your hard drive. The games themselves are generally light on hard drive space but, it’s a very perplexing issue. Even the soundtracks and some of the other extras need to be downloaded! This is a great collection but, these little things are a tad bit annoying.
Speaking of extras though, that’s where this collection does shine. In addition to the three main games, which probably would have been enough themselves, you get some nice bonuses. A month free of PlayStation Plus is added in, a code for 24 avatars from Flower and Journey, concept art, soundtracks 3 mini-games, game commentaries, and a 30-minute documentary. Yeah, you’re getting way more content for $29.99 than you could possibly have imagined getting.
In short, this is a very good collection of content and I’m sure that players are going to get their fill with all of these games and all of the extra content. The extra addition makes this a must-own for thatgamecompany fans as there is just so much here that you might not have seen before or might not have wanted to buy separately. Kudos to Sony for deciding to make a collection out of some games that might not have the punch of God of War but, definitely have their place along some of the greats on PlayStation 3.