Feb 19

Review: Journal


journal2Journal is a very difficult game to understand and that is mostly due to the fact that the game is left open to interpretation, especially regarding your own feelings on certain subjects in life or in very specific situations. I’ve played games before, such as Serena, where you go through an emotional rollercoaster, based these interpretations but Journal was certainly the most difficult rollercoaster I have been on so far. I went from confused to sudden anger, not towards the game or the characters mind you, to confused again. Only to be met with a sudden calmness when you think you’ve figured it all out, just to be thrown back in this huge loop. At least that’s how I felt and you might feel different emotions when playing the game.

journal3The story is about a young girl who’s trying her best to understand the hidden meanings in life, about the interactions with complete strangers and people who are dear to her. You, as the player, are given several choices to respond, giving you the illusion that the story is adapting based on your answers while it simply doesn’t. Of course, there are some options that will make you lose or gain a friend, based on your answers but the overall story will never change its course. After the majority of interactions, the girl will write down her thoughts in her journal. While this gives you some knowledge of the adolescent, you’re still left with a handful of questions. At some point, it feels like there are two separate stories, which only makes your confusion grown but the stories blend together at the very last day. Out of all the possible explanations I had in my head, there was no way I could have foreseen the ending. It left me with a mixture of feelings and I swear, I thought I felt a tear.

journal1The graphics look far too immature, almost as if they were trying to weigh down the heaviness of the story itself with puerile artwork but I have to admit that I grew found of it. In fact, I started to miss being in the sketchbook every time the secondary story was explained in the form of a puppet-show. As far as the voice-acting goes, I didn’t find any real issues except that certain words seemed to get lost. Mostly these were the first words of a sentence but this could also be due to the fact I am not a native English-speaker which made the puny British accent slightly more difficult to understand. Other than that, the voice-actors did an incredible job by making their raw emotions heard.

Final Conclusion

The best word to describe Journal has to be ‘bizarre’ because that’s the first thought I had of the game when the credits rolled down my screen. However, beside being an odd game, Journal is truly amazing. It lets your explore emotions and situations you, and possibly many others, struggle with on a nearly daily base and that’s what makes it a great down-to-earth storytelling game that you should play.

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