When Kojima left Konami, things were pretty much in limbo with what’s to come next, let alone the fans were puzzled if it could reach the peak-Kojima-ness we have seen with his previous creation. Then after mysterious trailers later, we saw Death Stranding, a story set in a post-apocalyptic world where the one thing that truly matters is “connection”. This game came out in 2019 but then came the Directors Cut in 2021, which we got to play and here’s what I have to say in this Death Stranding Director’s Cut Review.
More than Just Delivery
Calling Death Stranding a game that only does delivery, is partly accurate but there’s more to it than it meets the eye. Now, when you are tasked to pick up some packages, you will be asked to deliver it to a different location but that’s just part of the mission that unravels as you go by. Everything you carry has a significant play in the game which makes the whole experience vast and the cut scenes that comes along with it – can either tell you more about the story or make you crawl under your skin especially when you see the scenes at the very start of the game.
Alongside with the packages, you carry your own supplies that makes your trip easier which makes sense and in a way the game is very realistic to a point where you can’t carry too much and it has to be proportional to your weight, the balance as you walk on various terrains and even if it fits in your vehicle which again only can be driven in certain areas. Back to the other packages, as you progress, these package plays a significant role and that is…
Depends on how you look at this element, but it’s a crucial one to the whole gaming experience because these packages help humanity to fight through the struggle that they are facing currently in the game where most of the humanity is wiped out and the United States of America is now United Cities of America. But these packages vary, from setting up postboxes for others to use when they find a package in the wild (lost packages), so that it gets found, to even sperm banks which help with populating humanity. As you unravel one at a time, and when you start connecting each new place you visit with the Q-Pid to connect humanity, the whole experience gets better.
But obviously, it’s not just all about that… there are some serious obstacles you need to deal with.
…an absolute bi*ch to deal with. Basically, Beached Things are dangerous creatures you will deal with most of the game wherever you go and since they are always out to consume living humans, it causes a huge explosion. So, being able to deal with them throughout your journey can either scare the death out of you or… well, there’s no or in my books because when you combine carrying some crucial packages and BTs on the move, things get worse. That doesn’t mean you can’t escape. But every time you do, eventually, when the rain begins, you will deal with them again.
There are ways for you to tackle situations where your Odradek Scanner which is mounted on your shoulder combined with BB (which is a whole another creepy little thing) which I do not want to elaborate further as it will spoil your experience, will help you map the terrain and helps you the same way how metal detectors work. The closer it gets, the faster the thing beeps and changes colors. So, master the ability to use it until you get your hands on a weapon that can help you take down BTs which happen later in the game, but at a cost.
Beautiful and makes you feel alone
As I was playing the game, and other than the whole story line and the hot mess I have to deal with, the environment in the game can get you all immersed in the environment with the beautiful texture, terrain and so much more. To put it simply, if you have watched the movie, Bokeh – expect the same feeling here throughout the game but with a little more human around but when you do spend time alone, walking, riding the bike to deliver and so on, trust me, its beautifully painful and painfully beautiful.
Tripping and falling over rocks, walking against the water steam, the sound of the raindrops coursing through your headphones, the immersive-ness as you turn around and paired with the amazing DualSense controller which just cranks it up a notch makes the experience worthwhile.
An acquired Taste of an experience
At launch, sure this game received good and bad critique, but it adds up because this game isn’t for anyone, not even for those Kojima-fans who enjoyed his previous work as this game isn’t anything like his previous work. While it’s a very apt game, given that we are playing it during the time of pandemic where this one virus is taking a lot of the population down in a snap, the game takes it to the realistic extremes, making it brutally honest, and quite possible of a situation to happen. People who hates Don’t Look Up are going to despise Death Stranding.
I don’t blame them for having that opinion because up till today, we have had some happy endings in most entertainment we consume be it, games, movies, music, and the list goes on. But most of us avoid realistic content as it hits close to home – like if you have watched any Icelandic, Danish or any European festival movies, you best bet they are known for their realistic approach. Combine that with some amazing talents in the game like Mads Mikkelsen who immerse themselves into the story makes it worthwhile but not for everyone which is what exactly Death Stranding does and for some reason I find that it can trigger people’s emotions.
Directors Cut Benefits
If you have not played the Death Stranding at all but you are going to get the Director’s Cut because why not, then here’s what you need to know that has changed or made better from the normal Death Stranding.
- DualSense on PS5 lets YOU carry Sam’s weight in your controller
- The Game runs on 60fps and has 4K support with no hiccups
- Floaters can be attached to Ziplines, so deliveries are easier
- Customizations are endless with the characters
These are some I experienced personally, but there are more and especially if you played the Original Death Stranding, the difference is a lot more interesting with things like the Energy drink being replaced from Monster.
Who is Death Stranding for?
If you notice that I didn’t dive deep with the game in this review and that’s because it’s our first-time reviewing games here and we want to keep this spoiler free and bring more reviews for you. But that said, if you are wondering who Death Stranding for is:
- It’s for people who want a very realistic storyline and takes intricate details seriously
- If you enjoy Outer Worlds like concept
- Not for the faint of the heart because the story can get depressing
That’s all we can say really. Death Stranding is like a chocolate that’s laced with a sweet thin vanilla coating but as you bite deeper and deeper, it gets dark and bitter slowly and surely. When it is all over, it is one painfully beautiful experience to remember.
Special thanks to Sony Interactive Entertainment for providing Death Stranding Director’s Cut for making this review happen.