Community Review: Death Stranding

Community Review: Death Stranding
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I’m deathly curious to know how everyone’s post-apocalyptic Australia Post experience has been.

Everyone’s propensity for dealing Death Stranding‘s brand of gameplay was always going to differ. The kinds of moments Kojima likes to create have a lot of downtime in between, and that was always going to be a little divisive.

But, for the most part, it seems like people have been happy to go along for the ride.

You Can Never Really Play Death Stranding Alone

Death Stranding is finally out next week. And the first, and most important, thing you should know is that it's primarily a multiplayer game.

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The Story Behind Death Stranding's Bridge Babies Is A Bit Disturbing

The review embargo for Death Stranding is finally up, which means I'm now allowed to talk about the genuinely disturbing tale of what the hell all those babies are for in Death Stranding, and how they got there in the first place.

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My progress in the game has stalled — family issues meant I didn’t get anywhere near as much time with the game pre-release as I would have liked, and when the initial embargo lift I had to fly out to Blizzcon, so my progress has stalled. My fiancée and I also just gifted an old TV to her parents, but haven’t gotten around to fixing the living room up just yet. I could play Death Stranding on a monitor, but it doesn’t seem right, so the game’s been on hold for me.

I’m still looking forward to going back, especially since I’ve gotten through that initial opening slog. But what about yourselves? Where are you with the game, and how have you found it so far?

PSA: Get To Death Stranding Chapter 3 As Quickly As Possible

I’ve already laid out some Death Stranding tips alongside my coworker Tim Rogers. Travel light; build structures in smart places; have an extra pair of shoes. One tip stands above them all, though: Do not get sidetracked at the start of the game. Death Stranding drops players into a large world to complete tons of deliveries, difficult affairs where you trek through ghost-infested territory and cross raging rivers. Just like you shouldn’t mess around too long in Dragon Age: Inquisition’s Hinterlands, you really should complete Death Stranding’s first two chapters quickly.

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  • God I wanted to like it. But it just won’t let me. Bland, boring characters, awkward controls, an unfinished feel to it (the bike for example). Nothing sat well with me for the 20ish hours I had invested. I’ll grab it on pc at some point maybe when it hits sales, but for now there’s too much else to invest my valuable time in rather than a game I dearly keep hoping will “get better”.

  • Why America?
    Why can’t it be some no descript island formation that formed during the death stranding event? A politically unaligned formation.
    I hate Die Hardman. Everything about him, from what he wears to how he speaks. To him calling me seconds after I planted a watch tower or delivered a package to tell me I delivered a package or built that watchtower.
    Why Knots when Link is a much more fitting word in almost every sense?
    Why can’t I have my music player running while I’m outside?

    Why couldn’t the game be about trying to get my struggling delivery business to be number 1?
    They could’ve included some factorio level manufacturing and planning of building roads and watchtowers and bridges and then automating the delivery routes and had some real fun linking the cities to each other and then you start seeing NPCs using your routes

  • I have played maybe 25-30 hours, maybe less and it just seems like more.

    I was pre-conditioned to not buy this game. I thought it looked just a bit too weird and bland to get into.

    The story and cut scenes are bonkers, the world is harsh and the gameplay seemingly simplistic – But I’ve found it compelling and I want to keep playing it.

    I’ve enjoyed the community things despite to the fact that we’re all “Sam” – the calling out to one another is weird.

    But building the roads and stuff – I felt compelled in the second region to return to the BT invested destroyed South Knot City to load up and take the resources down to help my other-Sam’s build the roads.

    The MULEs are a welcome distraction from BTs.

    The first boss battle/meeting Higgs was a bit painful more than challenging, but again odly satisfying.

    The most jarring thing about it is the Monster Energy product placement and Norman Redus’ motorbike advert on the toilet when I take a grenade building dump.

  • As someone who was originally keen but is still hesitant to buy the game I’ve only got impressions from watching streams of the game and the feeling I’m getting is that it’s one of those games better watched with friends than actually played. Everything about it looks like what you’d get if you distilled an RPG into pure fetch quests and then built up the gameplay around that.

    On the other hand though, I get this funny feeling that Kojima saw Metal Gear Survive and said “Is that what they think I’d do? Hold my beer.”

  • I have seen a lot of people complain that the game is boring, but I don’t understand why. Every video we saw of gameplay showed a walking simulator.

    As for me, I am enjoying pretty much everything outside of a few certain points where the game refused to let me just play and a waste of twenty minutes of my life after I trudged to the second major city, only to realise I couldn’t do anything in it and had to walk back with destroyed shoes and a deep sense of defeat.

    Presentation wise the game is stunning, with my only gripe being that you can’t listen to unlocked music unless you stand around buildings.

    Oh and screw the people in my strand, can they please contribute to my infrastructure instead of just travelling on it.

    • Walking Simulator is such a misnomer. Typically what gets identified as walking simulators are narrative driven adventure games with very low levels of interaction with the world. it’s a disparaging title, because it poo-poos the lack of gameplay verbs in the game. Dear Esther is the quintessential one, or Stanley Parable or Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture. I find those games very dull.

      In Death Stranding, you do walk a lot. But that’s not the only thing. I’m running, balancing, holding my breath, sneaking around, driving a bike, driving a car, building a road network, rappelling down a cliff, delivering parcels, soothing my baby, taking a poop, and maybe the main thing most walking simulators avoid, I have pistols, assault rifles, grenades and bolas.

      This is one of my favourite games of the year so far. It feels good to be playing something so fresh. Some of it might be I’m just predisposed to like a Kojima game. Those graphics, that cinematography and those colors. It looks incredible in HDR. Some might hate the pacing, but I could watch those cutscenes all day. I can even tolerate those ridiculous lines. I just chuckle and carry on. But the gameplay also turns the dull fetch quest into a juggling act, and makes a pebble on a beach you can trip over into a symbol for an indifferent to hostile world. And as you progress, it does the Metal Gear thing of giving you more and more gadgets.

      As an example of something I can overlook; “The president wants to see you. It’s your mother. She’s the president,” had me laughing for a bit. I just can’t give the game any ill will over it.

      I still have a long way to go, so thoughts might change. My only criticism is it’s too easy, but I really should have picked a higher difficulty.

  • I’m really enjoying it. Half the time it’s me and my partner discussing the implications and meanings of every little thing within the world, other times it’s just enjoying how refreshingly different and absurd it is to play, having gone through Broderlands, Outer Worlds and most of the big ‘shooters’ of the past few months.

    I want a BB!!

  • So far I’m absolutely loving the game but I can see that it’s not going to be everybody’s cup of tea.
    As I said in another article, I went in hoping for some pure unadulterated Kojima, to see what happens when he’s let off the leash and so far I’ve not been disappointed.

    The game has all the trademarks that most would expect from one of his games, unique gameplay elements, strange storylines, quirky Easter eggs and the strong presence of underlying themes and metaphor.
    For better or worse, it’s fair to say the game leans very heavily on the latter and just as fair to say that it won’t fly for everyone.

    I’ve long said that Kojima is an artist who happened to fall into games development, straddling the line between genius and crazy and this game doesn’t do anything to change that view for me.

    I could go on for days but I gotta go play while I have time.

  • Does anyone else get annoyed the scale of the the American map is not accurately reflected by the distance you actually travel?

    • I mean, thanks to the mysterious Beach it’s all explainable (as well as the climate) but yeah. Hop in a car and you too can cross the entire length of the US in a couple hours.

      (But the boat across the crater took a couple days? Time AND space are getting fucked by the Stranding!)

  • I’m actually surprised by how coherent it is. I was expecting weirder.

    Still, I’m loving it. It’s a game about difficult traversal of terrain and the tools and upgrades are all about giving you options to deal with it… I’m surprised this hasn’t been done more often.

    I took the advice of articles recommending a race to Chapter 3, and it was good advice. If anything, there’s still more to race through after that to get the technology unlocks you’ll really want to max out those connections and deliver everyone’s lost packages.

  • 15 hours in. Haven’t been bored at all.
    It’s got a more coherent story than Metal Gear and comes across like the love child of Interstellar and The Revenant.
    Anyone who’s sat through Solaris or any old Tarkovsky films should know that art doesn’t always need to be ‘entertaining’. That said, I’m really digging the delivery duties and messing around with the gear on offer.

  • i’m actually really enjoying it – you know what it feels like .. wow classic (pre level 40). wow classic was about walking and collecting things and carrying it from A to B. gain way point and continue. that little gameplay loop has me hooked like the grind i was addicted too with wow classic.
    im on chapter 3 now and i’ve got equipment that makes dealing with BT’s and Mules easy enough.
    im enjoying it.. doubt i’ll finish it tho at 70+ hours.

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