Death Stranding – Review
Follow Genre: Action, Adventure
Developer: Kojima Productions
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment[
Platform: PS4
Tested on: PS4

Death Stranding – Review

Site Score
8.2
Good: Surreal, Graphics, Concept
Bad: Gameplay is a bit bland in comparison with the cinematics
User Score
8.5
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 8.5/10 (2 votes cast)

We all know about the dispute between Hideo Kojima and Konami, forcing the creative mind behind the Metal Gear series to leave the studio. After Kojima was gone, Konami tried to release a new Metal Gear game, but failed miserably and actually created a hot mess that shouldn’t be touched by anyone. Now that Hideo Kojima has his own studio, he can push all the buttons, let his creativity roam free and design whatever he likes. This creative freedom brought us Death Stranding, a game that gave us no clue on what it was actually about when we saw the original trailer(s). Now that we’ve been able to try out the game, we are still as confused as ever, albeit in a good way.

Story

Death Stranding has a really strange story, especially when we have to capture it in a small coherent text. We are taken to a post-apocalyptic remnant of the United States, where only pockets of humans are hiding in different bunkers. These bunkers are self-functioning pockets of humanity, but they are by no means actually connected to one another. The world itself is a dangerous place, with invisible monsters roaming everywhere, which cause massive explosions when they come into contact with the dead. They also cause a phenomenon called Timefall that has made the rain into something very dangerous. Every time there’s rainfall,  the rain will cause whatever it touches to rapidly age. This causes iron to instantly rust, people to instantly age and so on.

In this game, you’ll be playing as Sam Porter Bridges, a man that is plagued by a disease called DOOMs which causes him to get resurrected when he would normally be killed. You work as a ‘Porter’, which is basically a transporter of goods. You roam the world, going from one outpost to another, but recently things have changed. You have been tasked to connect all the outposts to a network, which allows these outposts to share knowledge with one another, as the world’s knowledge is now scattered. You have lost a lot of how certain technology works, or have lost the ability to share with other people, in order to progress as a society. Thanks to your disease, you stand a great chance to reunite America once again, as you’ll have to roam around in a monster-filled world.

The story is somewhat fucked up at the beginning, as you get to learn about the Timefall, the BTs (invisible monsters), baby’s that are placed in odd pickle jars that aid you in detecting BTs, and that certain people simply can’t die. You’ll have lengthy cutscenes slowly telling you about the world, and how everything has gone to hell. That being said, it takes a while before things start making sense, but the surreal ride is well worth it.

Graphics

Death Stranding is a visual masterpiece in terms of cinematic quality. You’ll be treated to many awesome looking cutscenes, where the characters look like the real actors and there will also be many settings and backdrops that look stunning. The actual gameplay looks very good as well, but some textures look a bit less qualitative than others, which isn’t that uncommon for an open-world game. The overall atmosphere is nice, the different sceneries make sure there is enough variation, and movements and other actions look fluent.

Sound

The soundtrack is superb. The game does its best to put you in the proper mood, and key scenes are accompanied by a great cinematic experience. Not only is the music great, but the game is also fully voice acted and has cast members such as Norman Reedus, Mads Mikkelsen, Guillermo del Toro, Margaret Qualley and many others. Both the game’s graphical and sound department have been handled like a movie, rather than a ‘simple’ game format. We were impressed by how great this game is at setting the right atmosphere.

Gameplay

Death Stranding is best described as an adventure game, albeit with a heavy cinematic undertone. The game lets you roam around in a post-apocalyptic America, where you will play as a glorified FedEx deliverer, Sam, who is pretty much immortal, as he revives when killed. The world is not what it used to be, and there are monsters known as BTs that lurk around. These creatures are invisible to the naked eye and you’ll have to equip a BB (a baby in a pickle jar) that allows you to see the world as it truly is. The BTs can destroy entire cities when they come into contact with human beings. Add to that a world that is plagued by a rainfall that quickens the flow of time for everything it touches. Overall it feels as if the game tries to combine many random elements, but oddly it succeeds in stringing something nice together.

While all of the above sounds like a spectacle, the actual gameplay is a bit of a grind. As mentioned above, you’re pretty much the equivalent of a FedEx delivery service, as you’ll constantly bring packages from point A to B. You’ll have to do a lot on foot, and more than often you’ll have a lot of cargo to transport. The game makes it so that you’ll have to balance yourself when carrying too much, and that you’ll also have to do your best to deliver everything in one piece. As you progress you’ll get stronger and have more options at your disposal, such as weapons and exoskeletons.

The fairly big map takes some time to cross, and while there are vehicles available, it’s actually your cooperation with other players that make the whole trek manageable. The game has a form of cross-cooperation where other players can place objects in the world, such as generators to recharge your vehicles, ladders to climb mountains, bridges to cross rivers and even entire highways to make your trip from one point to another easier. You don’t have to worry that your map is too cluttered with stuff, but you’ll clearly see the influence of other players.

All of these objects in the world can give other players likes, or when you place structures, can earn you likes. These likes will serve as a means to level up different criteria, offering you more crafting options, allowing you to carry more cargo and so on. This system is quite fun, and it motivates you to find cool spots to place a useful structure to reel in some likes. This way of cooperation also makes the game a bit easier and makes it so that you don’t have to collect materials for everything yourself.

That being said, the gameplay does fall a bit flat compared to the cinematic aspects of the game, as constantly delivering packages can feel like a chore, especially since all ‘side-missions’ are simply extra delivery missions. Sometimes the controls can feel a bit sluggish, as is probably intended, but it also takes away a bit of the overall flow of the game. While your mission to rebuild a part of the world feels epic and glorious, we imagine you don’t picture yourself delivering used underwear when on such a crusade.

The combat in Death Stranding is a bit clunky, at best. The game pits you against overzealous fanatic mailmen and the aforementioned BTs. The latter can be battled with grenades made from your own bodily fluids and excrements, which is certainly a special way of dealing with enemies. The cult of disgruntled mailmen can be beaten into submission by your fists, the cargo boxes you are holding, or they can be made quick work of with the Bola gun you’ll unlock. The latter will only subdue them for a short period of time, so it’s all about choosing how big of a pacifist you want to be.

Conclusion

Death Stranding is a quirky and interesting spectacle. We have to say spectacle instead of a game, as the actual gameplay sometimes feels a bit lacking compared to the cinematic aspect of the game. If you don’t mind going through a fairly big grind in terms of walking from point A to B over and over again, all while avoiding strange creatures and crazed mailmen, then you will certainly enjoy this game. Hideo Kojima has crafted a very unique experience that is worth plowing through for the story alone and some of the ideas are well incorporated in the game. If the gameplay was somewhat more diverse, this could easily be the game of the year, but with mechanics that turn a bit stale after a while, we can’t give it such a title (yet).

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Rating: 8.5/10 (2 votes cast)
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Death Stranding - Review, 8.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
Ibuki
Ibuki


Aspiring ninja.

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