Flower - Review
I do not want (or frankly I am not interested) to reopen for the umpteenth time the philosophical querelle on the eventual nobility of the gaming medium: I do not know if video games are or are not art, but I am absolutely sure that in thatgamecompany people work with monstrous talent, people that thanks to a damn concrete vision has shown on several occasions not only to have something to say, but also to be able to condense flashes of pure poetry in the form of pixels.
This is why this collection is to be considered as a kind of miraculous treasure to be jealously guarded, tasting it in small doses and in special moments: inside there are three priceless gems, titles that with their conceptual power have marked the current generation and probably not only.
Atypical and courageous experiments, which going beyond what is commonly understood as a videogame in a broad sense have been able (and will know!) To involve and touch anyone who is willing to approach something "different", far from not only the inevitable shootings, from disemboweling and action at all costs increasingly frantic, but even from concepts such as scores or game over.
In short, if you want to experience new sensations (and not!), Free your mind, open your heart and ... take a seat. There is not even an excuse for the ticket price - absolutely contained given the 25 Euros - or for any idiosyncrasies with digital delivery and online purchases by credit card: directly on disk you will find everything and more, including a good dose very interesting extras to discover the genesis of thatgamecompany productions.
The advice is to start - exactly as I will do in this review - in strict chronological order. Starting from flOw and arriving only at the end of Journey it is in fact possible to grasp the palpable growth of the team, as well as the progressive fulfillment of a speech that began almost by chance and ended with the well-deserved spotlight at an international level, in the clamor of critics and the public very great.
Did you know that Jonathan Blow collaborated on the development of the flOw particle system?
FlOw is the title that marks the beginning of thatgamecompany adventure: born in 2005 as a university project of a Jenova Chen then student of the USC, originally not even thought to be a real videogame (and least of all a "commercial" product ", in the most literal sense of the term). The 300,000 views on the web for the browser version - including my proud one too! - convince both the young Chinese game designer and - above all - Sony that something good has to hide behind those enigmatic flash depths.
And so, here is the PlayStation 3 version, enlarged and revised to become what it is today: half interactive screen saver, half elementary parable on Darwinian evolution and survival. But be careful to underestimate the scope of this bewitching walk in the abyss, liquidating it to little more than a wonderful toy because of the basic gameplay: beyond the splendid artistic direction, behind the ethereal accompanying music, a particular soul is hidden and exciting, capable of really leaving "something".
The same very concrete yet elusive essence that constitutes the heart, indeed the seed, of Flower: a sublime Zen reflection on nature, for a sort of Snake made up of flower petals which, in addition to using the motion sensor contained within the DualShock 3 in a very intelligent and non-forced way (a precedent, all in all more unique than rare in the history of the console ...) it also proves to be a decidedly more structured and profound title than its predecessor.
As we learn from the extras, the admirable management of the movement of the petals of Flower was born ... by mistake.
Imagine an airy run through a digital locus amoenus (with breathtaking landscapes that cannot fail to refer to the character and color of certain impressionist canvases ...) to be animated with the graceful touch of the wind, scattering arabesques of colorful petals here and there: Flower is "only" this, yet at the same time much more, for an experience full of poetry that prepares the way for what is the great and true absolute masterpiece of this Collector's Edition.
Loaded with symbolism and charm, Journey is a hermetic parable about life and death: a journey of just two hours, those that can upset and mark a gamer life, touching you deeply (as my experience with the game shows during Christmas night, told here). An amazing concentration of humanity and lyricism, able to move and amaze with its innate universal grace, without ever resorting to dialogues or even to a cloying rhetoric.
An absolutely unique and atypical production, for a pilgrimage of the soul to be lived at all costs: clear demonstration of how powerful the videogame medium can be, as well as a testament to future memory of the greatness and inspiration achieved by a thatgamecompany at its maximum splendor.
So away, forget the rules, put aside the ordinary canons of standard video games and let yourself be enchanted by a magic with a hopelessly ancestral flavor, possibly venturing along the way in the company of another traveler (who will remain unknown for the duration of the adventure , in a multiplayer mode as delicate as it is successful): there are no scores or prizes at stake, but moments that are balm for your heart, to which it would be foolish to say no.
Marco Mottura , editor of IGN Italia, looks forward to knowing what the future of thatgamecompany will be now that the team has become virtually cross-platform . Discuss it with him via Twitter!