Title: Death Stranding
Developer: Kojima Productions
Publisher: Sony Interactive
Available On: PlayStation 4
Official Site: Death Stranding
Release Date: November 8, 2019 (PC release Summer 2020)
Version Tested: PlayStation 4
Where to Buy It: PlayStation Store, Local Retailers, Steam
I have spent about a week in the lush landscape of the much-anticipated Death Stranding. Let me tell you- this is a huge game. Not that we were expecting much different from the great mind of Hideo Kojima, but, needless to say, there’s a lot to tackle. So, while I continue to deliver packages and soothe BB in the meantime, here are our early impressions of the first game from Kojima Productions!
As far as the story goes, there are a lot of layers at work. The post-apocalyptic world of the UCA is torn apart by terrorists and hungry creatures called BTs, and one man, Sam Porter Bridges, is trying to reunite the country one package at a time. To keep it as spoiler-free as possible, the plot will stay brief for now, but trust me, I’m still a little lost when it comes to a lot of things. However, it never feels aggravating. The writing is top-notch, and Death Stranding is great at throwing you a new piece of information just when you’re getting to that point. So, so far, the story has been a roller coaster of an experience, but it’s one I’ll ride again and again.
Great writing needs great performances to sell it, and Death Stranding is bursting with talent. Norman Reedus, Guillermo del Torro, Mads Mikkelsen, Troy Baker, and other big names make up this cast, and their performances do not disappoint. Only Troy Baker could break the fourth wall without it seeming cheap or campy, and Normen Reedus is the perfect choice for Sam – a disgruntled porter with a difficult past. Each character feels alive with some special and intriguing, and I find myself actively engaged with the long cinematics because of it. Not only are these characters written well and performed immaculately, but they also look fantastic.
Death Stranding is absolutely beautiful. Delivering packages, you’ll spend a lot of time out in the wilderness, per se. There aren’t a lot of flashy cities or visible enemies (most of the time), so it is just Sam and the landscape so far, and it’s always stunning. Visually and artistically, I think Death Stranding is sure to start a new era in gaming where actors will start to actually ‘appear’ on-screen more often, but it needs to be handled with Kojima’s grace and creativity.
When it was announced that gameplay revolved around delivering packages, I didn’t necessarily believe it. However, a majority of the gameplay does actually revolve around delivering packages, and it’s way more fun than I thought it would be. On par with everything else, just when you get tired of just delivering packages you start to gain other abilities and items that allow you to interact more with enemies instead of just running and hiding.
My only complaints so far are pretty minor ones. The menu hubs can be pretty confusing until you get used to them, and sometimes the music choices seem a bit odd. But, honestly, those are the only complaints I have so far. Needless to say, Death Stranding has been nothing short of a confusing yet intriguing adventure so far, and I’m extremely excited to see where it goes!