Review Roundup: Death Stranding brings an incredible world and so-so gameplay
There are apparently like three hours of cutscenes at the beginning of the game.
Death Stranding is within the home stretch of its release date, and gamers can finally get the answer to what Hideo Kojima’s latest production is all about.
Earlier this week, the launch trailer for Death Stranding dropped and we, like many others, had questions.
Several gaming publications have got their hands on it, and they DO have answers. While we wish we could give our own opinion, here are a few publications’ opinions on Kojima’s latest head trip.
The world and characters are Kojima-esque and that’s a good thing
In Death Stranding, the world has been hit with a cataclysmic event called ‘The Death Stranding’ (cue Peter Griffin, “Ah, they said it!”) where nature has been wiped out and rain, named Timefall in the game, causes the remaining people to age rapidly. Across the world are roaming spirits called Beached Things (nicknamed BTs) and thieves (called Mules in the game) that are dangerous to anyone who sets foot in these dangerous terrains. Norman Reedus plays Sam Porter Bridges, a delivery man who is tasked with rebuilding the world by connecting people through his job and, eventually, reconnect America.
So, there is a lot more to the story and there are numerous characters to talk about, but one of the game’s best features.
GameSpot’s Kallie Page had this to say about the cast, “I grew to love Sam, Fragile, and Heartman especially, and even the characters I didn’t like as much add to the game’s overall message about hope and love in the face of adversity.”
GameRevolution is also complimentary of its plot saying it, “stands defiantly in the face of that attitude.”
The game looks gorgeous, even post-apocalypse
Even taking a look at the cutscenes and gameplay videos, the graphics for Death Stranding fire on all cylinders. It has a lot of rocky, green scenery and open skies could almost double as nature documentary of the Northwest. Well, one with floating spirits and postmen rocking anime-inspired robot suits.
“Death Stranding’s world is beautiful,” EGM’s Mollie Patterson says, “On a technical level, absolutely, as Guerrilla Games’ Decima engine helped produce some gorgeous results even on my original model PlayStation 4.”
But as for Death Stranding’s gameplay…eh…
Well, it appears to be a series of dangerous fetch quests. It fits the themes of Death Stranding, but its definitely not expected from Kojima, who created tense, quick, stealth games with action-packed boss fights. IGN is rather negative in its views of the gameplay.
Advancing the plot in Death Stranding amounts to taking item X from location A to location B, over and over again. Sounds pretty repetitive, right? Well, the good news is that there are also side missions in Death Stranding. The bad news is that these side missions are also fetch quests, undertaken mainly to unlock additional items or customisation options.
Game Informer adds, “The real issue is that Death Stranding’s gameplay really is as simple as it appears to be, and the elements around it – the story, combat, and lackluster mission objectives – aren’t satisfying enough to anchor the title and get players invested.”
Destructoid, on the other hand, sees the ‘deliver stuff’ concept as something unique. “The way the delivery concept works is a bit weird and clunky, but fun in the sense that you can fully customize how you want to approach the game.”
Verdict? An ambitious game that might not be what you expected
For better or for worse, Death Stranding appears to be a Hideo Kojima game, in the sense that it has his style of storytelling and an almost-overly cinematic feel to it.
In the conclusion of their review, GameSpot said, “Death Stranding is a hard game to absorb. There are many intertwining threads to its plot, and silly names, corny moments, and heavy exposition belie an otherwise very simple message.”
Whereas IGN had this to say, “There is a fascinating, fleshed-out world of supernatural science fiction to enjoy across its sprawling and spectacular map, so it’s a real shame that it’s all been saddled on a gameplay backbone that struggles to adequately support its weight over the full course of the journey.”
Death Stranding will be released on November 8 for the PlayStation 4 and for the PC in 2020.
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