Death Stranding Directors Cut developed by Kojima Productions is now available on PlayStation 5.

What is Death Stranding? I thought that a lot myself, the genre truly felt unique, one simple way to put it is you deliver packages to a struggling world that is trying to recover after an extinction event. Your task is to connect America again so that those who are left can have some sort of life. The extinction event they call the Death Stranding, life and death now exist with each other, a world in which if a person dies and reaches necrosis, they will cause an almost nuclear wide blast that has taken out cities within the Death Stranding universe, not only that but you’ll have BT’s to contend with along the way trying to pull you into the world of the dead. Hideo Kojima has created quite a game, one where I sometimes just wanted to hurry things along a bit, others had me interested and wanting to explore more of it, but he hooked me into this very bizarre yet interesting world. Time Fall, I love all things time travel and in Death Stranding, the rain is called Time Fall, any time it rains, it ages everything, so you have to protect yourself and your packages, I loved the lore behind it. You are Sam Porter Bridges, a man with DOOMS, DOOMS have been gifted to many that exist within the world each with verifying levels. Sam is tasked by the dying President to connect America once again and to somehow bring peace and quality of life back to what remains of humankind. Along the way Sam will be helped by BB, a baby that is still a foetus in a machine that can spot BT’s, BB is very important to the mission of restoring America and also keeping him calm and happy is key. I don’t want to go too much into the story because of spoilers, but Death Stranding was a very different game in what feels like releases that often feel very samey in the triple-a games industry. The lore of the world is immense, there is so much to learn and so much to see, I appreciated the work that had gone into it. While some parts I did feel dragged especially the ending, I think I must have been on the ending for around 3 hours, it had its good parts and bad, the story is something I feel people should try to stick with if they can pass the 30 to 40-hour long main campaign.

The gameplay can only be described as many said it was like a delivery simulator game, and I just thought to myself I don’t know if I would like that and dismissed it. The more I saw, the more I thought actually, I think I should give this a go, so the PlayStation 5 version came out and I discovered, delivering packages is highly addictive, especially trying to get an S rank by delivering the packages fast and in good condition. It became almost therapeutic. As the game goes on you unlock more gadgets, you’ll also discover builds. Builds are shared online so that you can help other players traverse the very epic landscape that is America, and their builds can also help you. This was my favourite part of Death Stranding, the bringing players together to rebuild this world and it was just so uplifting seeing so much help out there and it helped that truly saved me from many bad situations. Bad situations such as BT encounters launch you into some sort of hellscape where buildings start rising from a sea of tar or the Mules and Terrorists that roam the land. BT’s at first are terrifying, the encounters are tough and usually fleeing is the best course of action but as you go and unlock more they’ll become fairly easy to beat and you’ll be destroying the huge demon-like creatures with ease, but if you’re delivering packages, especially fragile ones, fleeing is best. Mules are people that became addicted to delivering packages, in a world where drones did it all there was no need for people anymore to do it. This left many faithful package deliverers without work when the Death Stranding hit, they could no longer rely on planes or drones so they were called upon but with the love of delivering and trauma, they became addicted so will trace your packages and steal them, very bizarre yet I empathised with them in my playthrough, as one of the characters in-game said, they are victims. Terrorists will try to kill you, despite corpses causing void-outs they don’t care. You have to be careful of this though, if you kill a person, you must get rid of the body via the incinerator otherwise you will cause more void-outs. As I said though, the game revolves around delivering items in many different ways with an array of fun gameplay items and when you traverse over such chaotic environments, players help is a godsend. Traversing the environments I never realised it would be such a balancing act, in a good way, you’ll have to make sure you aren’t falling over, Or losing packages in rivers, you truly have to concentrate on these hikes, on the paper it sounds frustrating, but honestly, I loved walking around in Death Stranding. While the gameplay sounds a bit simple, I was hooked in with its gameplay loop, but by hour 30, it started to get a little bit tedious, I feel that it again started to drag which is a shame.

Death Stranding looks beautiful, it’s an apocalyptic America yes, but I love apocalypses and I feel the world built by Hideo Kojima and his team is nothing short of fantastic. You’ll find a lot of the environments you walk across to truly be breath-taking, from huge snowy mountains with rocks rolling down the hills at speed to beautiful rivers flowing freely. Death Stranding boasts some of the most beautiful environmental design I’ve ever seen and it felt like it was all interactive, every part of the design in some way either aided you or prevented a journey from going smoothly. From the rain that ages everything to the BT’s underworld setting, Kojima Productions got the design just perfect for the story being told. The sound design as well, a cast of brilliant actors, an environment that feels alive, and so much more, Death Stranding is a very immersive game and I feel it deserves recognition in that respect.

Verdict

Originally I did not like the look of Death Stranding but it started to warm towards me as time went on. When I finally tried it I realised I was in this very heavily detailed world that was over-flowing with content, story and love. I got addicted to delivering packages all over these apocalyptic environments, I loved making new contacts and strengthening our relationships which then lead to rewards and the rebuilding of America. The story as-well, while it does drag in a few parts was nothing short of fascinating, I just felt that the story perhaps should have been condensed a little more because at some points it starts to drag and I think it will put some people off, while the story is worth listening to and experiencing.

8/10

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