Journey For Elysium Review (PCVR)

Since we first started to receive information on Journey For Elysium, I was instantly taken in by the by the visual style of the game being black and white with yellow/gold highlights. I then got the chance to check out the beta build and provide feedback before it’s release and believed it had some potential. Now the full game is out, was the potential achieved?

Story

In Journey For Elysium the team decided to place you into the shoes of the unnamed hero, who has passed away. You are now trapped between life and death, as you try to reach Elysium guided by a mysterious voice. On this journey you will learn more about your past, as you use your wits, skills and the help of this mysterious voice to gain redemption.

Gameplay

We found that Journey For Elysium plays more like a narrative based experience, although it does offer a mix of gameplay elements to give you something to do as this plays out the story.

Every element of the gameplay is well crafted and are all enjoyable to do. You will get a mix of rowing a boat between the destinations on the way through Elysium, and this where you find out more about your characters past. The rowing element is very responsive and works great. You have climbing elements, which will see you scaling walls and chains in order to reach to higher grounds and puzzles.

So, what about the puzzles? The puzzles are really simple to work out, there wasn’t once we got stumped by a puzzle in the game. There is a mix of four puzzles within the game. One that will see you moving blocks to connect the paths on the blocks or moving blocks to move parts of the environment. Puzzles involving your bow, that will see you lighting fires or hitting targets to teleport over gaps. You will also get a harp like instrument, where you need to play the notes displayed within the puzzles. The final part is locating missing items for apparitions within the world, these are all to do with your past and will also fill in some of your characters story.

Although there is not a massive amount of difficulty to the puzzles, for what games like Journey For Elysium do and concentrate of the story this really works for the player. As this does not cause any unnecessary long breaks in the story you are getting invested in.

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Presentation

As aforementioned one of the most appealing parts that got our attention in the early releases for the game was the visual style they’ve gone for. The black and white colour palette for most of Elysium and highlighting parts in yellow/gold really does give the feeling of being between life and death – sort of giving the black and white of the underworld and the tints representing the light left.

Everything in the world is well designed, the textures are to a high quality, and despite the colour palette you are totally immersed in Elysium. You really can see the work the team at Mantis Games has put into creating the world of Elysium and giving you massive sense of scale. Seeing the huge godlike statues in this Greek setting towering over you, really does give the feeling the game has gone for.

When it comes the audio the team took the correct approach, by not over using sounds given you are in the underworld. The main core of the game you will have very little but eerie wind in the environments and the sounds of crows and your footsteps or the sound of water when rowing to keep you company. When the game wants to build a little tension it will introduce some low volume music in the background. You will then be getting your past story told by this mysterious voice over lady and some additional voice over work for other characters through your journey – and all of this is to a very high standard.

Comfort / Controls

The game can be played either seated or standing with what the game is doing making is accessible to anyone. You do get the option when loading the game to play the game in immersive or comfort mode – again leaving it open to everyone. However, outside of selecting immersive mode you will need to access the gameplay settings in the option to activate smooth-turning.

The game is played with each move controller representing your characters corresponding hands in the game. The game uses very little buttons, all you need is the grab buttons to pick things up and the A button to load up a little inventory to take the items you need at that time out. Again, this limited control system works with the game, and for me gave the feeling of being a bit limited in this current state of limbo.

Longevity

This story based adventure will take you around two to three hours to complete, given the simple nature of the puzzles. After this you might find it difficult to return to the game, because outside of the story there is little reason to play it again. However, this should not put you off playing the game, as the story is great.

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Pros
  • Great story
  • Gameplay elements very polished
  • The world of Elysium is beautifully designed
  • Mix of black and white with yellow/gold highlights looks fantastic

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Cons
  • Only two to three hours long

Conclusion

Journey For Elysium is more of a story driven experience than it is a game, but it does this fantastically, bringing with the story a mix of gameplay elements to keep the player entertained as you find out more about your past. With the mix of black and white with yellow/gold highlights really bringing the setting and the feeling of being between life and death to the forefront – all while looking stunning visually and in scale. With only the length of the title letting us down. However, we hope the team at Mantis Game revisit this setting and expand on the journey through Elysium in the future.

Reviewed using:

HMD: Oculus Rift S
PC Specs: Intel Core i7-7700 3.6GHz, 16GB DDR4, NVIDIA GeForce 1080Ti 11GB

Also available on Steam VR
Developer: Mantis Games
Buy Journey For Elysium on Steam

For the purposes of transparency, this review was created using a code provided by the company or their respective PR company. The use of a review code does not affect my judgement of the game.

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