Death Stranding: Director’s Cut (PC) – Review
Follow Genre: Action, Adventure, Shooter
Developer: Kojima Productions
Publisher: 505 Games
Platform: PC, Xbox One, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, PS5
Tested on: PC

Death Stranding: Director’s Cut (PC) – Review

Site Score
9.0
Good: Great graphics, sound and interesting concepts
Bad: The gameplay will only appeal to a minority
User Score
10.0
(1 votes)
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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Back in 2020, the latest game by famous director Hideo Kojima was released. Named Death Stranding and featuring unique gameplay and ideas, it immediately garnered attention in the gaming space. A year ago, Kojima Productions announced and released an extended version of the game, labeled Death Stranding: Director’s Cut, which has finally come to PC. Here is what it has to offer.

Story

The game’s main story hasn’t received any noticeable changes from the Director’s Cut. It takes place in a post-apocalyptic world in which the worlds of the living and the dead have been connected. Due to this process, newly deceased bodies started necrotizing and generating antimatter explosions, nearly leading to humanity’s extinction.

Taking control of Sam Porter Bridges, an appropriately named freelance porter who ends up (re-)joining the Bridges company, players will be tasked with traversing America whilst carrying deliveries to aid with the rebuilding of the nation. In order to do so, he’ll cross the country from East to West while connecting it to the Chiral Network, an advanced communication system made possible by the Death Stranding.

This short explanation, as convoluted as it may seem, is a massive simplification of the game’s plot, which is ultimately better experienced by playing through the actual game. Although the story is generally complex and might not be enjoyable for everyone, it is nonetheless incredibly written. All of the characters Sam meets throughout his travels are well-realized, even if slightly too quirky at times, and the plot presents unique and interesting themes, which are explored in-depth during the narrative.

Graphics

Already featuring impressive photorealistic graphics since its original release, Death Stranding: Director’s Cut features additional graphical settings, as well as a more stable framerate. The game’s environments are what could be expected from an experience taking place in America, including diverse landscapes such as beaches, snowy mountains, and large fields alongside unique landmarks spread throughout the world.

The character designs are also rather unique and memorable, especially those of the main cast. These designs are a mix of standard clothes which could be found in the real world alongside futuristic designs such as the porter equipment or Heartman’s defibrillator.

This also extends to the enemies, mainly the unique BTs (creatures from the world of the dead) Sam will have to confront during his adventure. These include large tar whales and jellyfishes amongst others, which further reinforce the game’s “Beach” theme.

Sound

The game’s sound design hosts a fantastic SFX and soundtrack, the latter of which has been extended in the Director’s Cut. These SFX are especially remarkable thanks to how they directly interconnect with the gameplay, often providing sound cues during important moments, such as when BTs close in on Sam.

Additionally, it is worth noting that the game’s cast does an incredible job at portraying the characters. Often enough, scenes are largely sold thanks to the solid acting by the characters involved, even at points where the script might not be top-notch.

Gameplay

As stated in the story section, players will be taking control of Sam in this adventure game. In doing so, they’ll be tasked with handling deliveries through the United Cities of America as he builds up the Chiral Network. In order to achieve this arduous task, players will have to overcome many things, from boot degradation to maintaining balance and having to traverse difficult terrain.

In order to account for the aforementioned balance, players will be able to distribute the carried packages throughout Sam’s body, with an option to automatically do so. Should Sam be over-encumbered or pass through difficult terrain, players will have to grip for balance, risking falling and dropping their packages otherwise.

Dropping the packages repeatedly may lead to their durability decreasing, possibly harming the cargo. This can also happen due to other external factors, such as the dangerous timefall caused by the Death Stranding, which will deteriorate everything it touches. As players progress through the game, new equipment for package transport will soon be unlocked.

Several of these pieces of equipment have been added by the Director’s Cut for the game, such as the Support Skeleton, which reinforces Sam’s body, or the Cargo Catapult, which is self-explanatory. Alongside these, Sam will also be able to utilize several vehicles, each of which with its own advantages and disadvantages, such as more speed for lower stability and vice versa.

Besides the equipment and vehicles, an important part of the game comes with the structures Sam may build throughout the world. These include bridges, zip lines, and more, which will make Sam’s traversal of the nation smoother. Should players play online, it is also possible for the structures created by other players to appear in their world once the area has been connected to the Chiral Network. Should these structures intrude on the gameplay, it is possible to remove them at will, but they can also be awarded “Likes” for their efficiency in the opposite case. All of the structures and equipment Sam will utilize require resources to be built. These resources can be obtained as rewards for deliveries or by stealing them from the hostile NPCs known as MULEs. Additionally, most of these tools can be upgraded several times, requiring even more resources with each level.

Another important part of Death Stranding is the combat against said hostile NPCs, including MULEs, BTs, and Terrorists. This combat plays largely like a standard first-person shooter, alongside the possibility for melee combat or even utilizing cargo as weapons. Due to the corpse-generated antimatter explosions, Death Stranding discourages utilizing lethal means against human enemies, providing instead non-lethal ammo and other solutions to deal with them. However, should a player still decide to go with a lethal route, almost all of their weapons will have a lethal mode that can be freely utilized.

Out of the mentioned enemies, BTs are immune to almost all forms of regular damage and are instead dealt with by utilizing special weapons coated in Sam’s blood, which will slowly drain his health upon use. While it is rather clear that combat is not the game’s main focus, the Director’s Cut improves on the base game’s systems by allowing Sam to deliver better melee combos and more powerful moves, as well as adding a new non-lethal weapon obtainable early into the game.

Conclusion

Death Stranding is a rather unique game that will not land well for all players. Those expecting an action game will be sorely disappointed, with the Director’s Cut not changing this in any regard. However, those who know what to expect from the game and are interested in an improved version, as well as those wanting to replay it, will likely welcome the additions. Death Stranding: Director’s Cut is available for $/€39,99/£34.99 as a full package or as a cheaper 10 quid (any currency) DLC for those who already own the base game.

Personal Opinion

“Being honest and as anyone might guess, this review is more about the game itself than the Director’s Cut. The amount of content added by the expansion is rather small when compared to what the game already contained. Other than some new toys to mess around with and a new area (with content I didn’t want to spoil), it only adds a handful of QoL changes and additions. While it can certainly be ignored in favor of simply purchasing the base game alone, these little additions are welcome. My personal recommendation would be to nab the game in a sale and get the Director’s Cut as an extra, it is not that expensive and will improve the experience. Adding onto that, I can fully recommend the game itself, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with it. Although it is difficult to explain how it functions and the story can be weird at times, it still was a relaxing and pretty immersive game to go through. I won’t say it has become one of my favorites, but it is very likely I’ll revisit it from time to time even if it’s just to explore around and hand in some more deliveries.”

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Death Stranding: Director's Cut (PC) - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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  1. […] 505 games and developer Kojima Productions have announced the arrival of their game Death Stranding to Game Pass for PC. The game will be available to play on the 23rd of August featuring the content […]

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