Over the past three years, a number of mysterious and confusing teaser trailers have been released, leaving everyone wondering, “What is Death Stranding?” Now that we know what happened, we can see that the answer is… hard. The first game from famous game designer Hideo Kojima after his shocking split from publisher Konami and the long-running Metal Gear franchise is a boldly imaginative piece of science fiction with some of the most stunning visuals I’ve ever seen in any medium, video game or not. It is also a slow crawl across the country that often gets stuck because of a lot of inventory management, backtracking, one-note mission design, and travel that is more difficult than ever before. It is clear that Hideo Kojima and his team at Kojima Productions have put a lot of work into making Death Stranding. It is also painfully clear that they expect us to work as hard as they have in order to get the most out of the game.
“Death Stranding” is the name given to a terrible event that only small groups of people, the Monster Energy Drink company, and a social status system that many people seem to think is similar to Facebook seem to have survived. Since the Death Stranding, all of the natural wildlife has died out, and the rain has turned into “Timefall,” a dangerous type of precipitation that quickly ages anything it touches. People have been forced to live in underground shelters because of the BTs, also called “Beached Things.” These are supernatural beings that attack survivors without regard for who they are.
You play the part of Sam Porter Bridges, who is played by Norman Reedus. He is a postman who lives in a world after the end of the world and has a baby named BB strapped to his chest who can see ghosts. Like most babies, BB is both adorable and annoying. Sam’s mission is interesting. As he travels west across North America, he must complete a series of delivery jobs in each city, earn the trust of the people there, and bring them back online in the government’s “Chiral Network.” This will let Sam bring together the scattered pieces of civilization.
Sam is helped in his search by a strange group of people with even stranger names, like Heartman and Die-hardman. Higgs, who is played by Troy Baker, is a wonderfully crazy bad guy who likes to both lick faces and chew scenery. Higgs, one of Sam’s enemies, likes to both lick faces and chew scenery. Higgs is holding Sam’s sister Amelie as a hostage in a place called Edge Knot City, which is on the westernmost edge of the United States. This gives Sam even more reason to go on his epic journey.
Death Standing review that has been done for PlayStation that is exclusive to the company
Death Stranding feels like a bunch of glorified fetch quests because that’s exactly what you’re doing the whole time.
The setting of the story is definitely interesting, but if you think that playing as a courier makes Death Stranding sound like a huge series of glorified fetch quests that span an entire continent, you’re right. That’s exactly how the game will play out. Most of its seventy main story goals are set up in the same way as the random, optional side quests we’ve all done in a variety of other open-world games. The main goal of Death Stranding is to move item X as many times as possible from place A to place B. The only times this isn’t true are during boss fights, certain training missions that teach the basics of the combat system, and a few other combat-based diversions. It does sound like a lot of the same thing, doesn’t it? The good news is that Death Stranding has a lot of side quests in addition to the main missions. The bad news is that these side tasks are also fetch quests, which are usually done to get more stuff or to be able to change how things look.
The personification of fear
The fact that Death Stranding’s charred world is so large and full of details that I wanted to slow down and look at every inch of it at first is one of the things that makes the game’s repetitive goals a little easier to deal with. And it’s a good thing, since I didn’t have much of a say in the matter. The first few hours are so slow that the whole thing feels like a personal attack on the speedrunning community. And that’s fine, because I didn’t have much of a say in the matter.
At this point, we’re all used to walking through huge game worlds while carrying a variety of weapons and other items. This phrase could be used to describe The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Grand Theft Auto V, and just about anything else. On the other hand, Death Stranding’s inventory system might be the most literal one ever thought of for a video game. Because of this, even the most simple tasks become hard and frustrating. Every piece of cargo, weapon, ammunition, and equipment that you pick up has its own weight and feels different on Sam’s body. This is all kept track of by a ridiculously complicated inventory menu. Very few people don’t follow this rule.
Setting a maximum weight limit for a player’s inventory in a video game is neither a new nor an original idea. I’ve always been a bit of a pack rat when it comes to role-playing games, which means I often end up with too much stuff and have to get rid of things or walk slowly back to town. But Death Stranding takes this idea to levels of difficulty that were previously unimaginable. It’s easy for Sam’s personal items and cargo to pile up on his back and look like a funny oversized Jenga tower of flight cases. It also makes taking Sam for a short walk up a slight hill feel like trying to push a wheelbarrow full of bricks up a flight of stairs.
Taking Sam for a walk up a gentle slope feels more like pulling a wheelbarrow full of bricks up a flight of stairs than like an easy stroll.
The parkour in Assassin’s Creed and Marvel’s Spider-Man is very fluid and inspiring, but the movement in Death Stranding is almost the exact opposite of that. In those games, you hold a button to make your agile character glide over objects and up and down vertical surfaces. In Death Stranding, you alternate between holding the two triggers to stay balanced and wrestling with the thumbstick to keep Sam’s sensitive changes in momentum under control. This is because Sam is a stranded survivor who has been put in a place he doesn’t know. All of this work is done so that he can walk a few metres up a gentle slope without falling over and scattering his neatly packed luggage rack like a drunk bellhop.
As soon as I saw that the inventory menu had a “auto-arrange” option, I used it for every delivery after that. I can’t imagine why anyone else wouldn’t use it, either. Thanks to this option, you can make sure that each piece of cargo is sitting in the best place on Sam’s body. (The only time it didn’t work was when I had to actually deliver a pizza. The auto-arrange feature put the pizza in an awkward place on my backpack, ruining the meal of some poor person.) Even though Sam’s load is packed more efficiently, it doesn’t completely stabilize his toddler-like balance if you take a wrong step or try to carry too much.
When these ghostly threats show up, it’s likely that the situation will become as scary as a survival horror.
Even after I figured out how to move around the unnecessarily difficult controls, I had to move slowly all the time because there were BTs in most of the rainy parts of the map. Even after I got the hang of the controls, which were too hard to move. Sam can’t fight these enemies from another world at first, so he has to crouch-walk through them while holding his breath. The first few times you run into these ghostly baddies, you can’t deny that they raise the tension to survival horror levels, turning normal dunes into scary Silent Hills. But they quickly become just another of Death Stranding’s many mechanics that seem to be made to slow your progress as much as possible. Hideo Kojima earned the loyalty of his many fans by letting them play the part of Snake. In the game Death Stranding, he is asking them to play the part of a snail.
Strand and Deliver Things do start to look up, but it takes a lot longer than I would have liked for that to happen. After about ten hours of playing, during the game’s long third chapter, Death Stranding finally settles into a rhythm that keeps it interesting. You will have access to auto-pavers that can be fed resources to make smooth roads out of certain parts of the landscape. You will also get the tools you need to make vehicles like a quick reverse trike, a slow but high-capacity truck, and a floating cargo carrier that can also be used as a cool hoverboard. All of them make it easier to get from A to B, which is what you still do most of the time.