Review: Death Stranding, Kojima's Masterpiece
Death Stranding, Hideo Kojima's masterpiece. The first game from Kojima Productions, and what a game. At E3 2016, we were left ignorant of what kind of game Death Stranding would become. All we could see at the time: Faint shadows in the sky, a black beach full of dead animals, Norman Reedus and a baby. We were none the wiser in the trailers that followed. All we knew was that more and more famous actors and actresses were added to the game. We already got to play the game, and today we can finally tell you more about Death Stranding.
Kojima's Death Stranding is a thrilling thriller where your goal is to connect people. Norman Reedus plays Sam Porter, and works for PostNL. No kidding, Sam is a deliverer of goods to the people who live in shelters. Because America and the world are having a hard time and a lot of the country has been destroyed. This is due to the peculiar creatures called BTs. BTs are shadows of beings from the afterlife. They roam and devour anyone who comes their way. In addition, America has to deal with void outs. These are mega explosions that come from people who have died. The corpse must be cremated within a few days, otherwise the corpse will explode. And then there are terrorists who use this to ensure that America is not united.
In Death Stranding, Sam is asked to help reunite America. Reluctantly, Sam begins his task. America must be connected by Chiral Network. You do this by connecting the different Knots together. With this you create new 'Strands' and the shelters can communicate with each other. While doing this you must also deliver goods that the people of the shelters need. For most, that is enough to persuade them to join, but a few sometimes want to be difficult and you have to do a little extra. As you do this, the story develops further and further with each Knot you add to the Chiral Network.
Ambience in Death Stranding
We want to tell you as little of the story as possible, because the story itself is great. Hideo Kojima is a true genius in terms of story with Death Stranding. The entire game is full of immersive cutscenes with matching music. The music in the game is superb. Both during the cutscenes and while walking around, the music comes in just right and adds even more color to the fantastic game. As soon as a song starts, goosebumps crawled up my arms and then you know it's really good.
The graphics of Deaths Stranding are great. Kojima takes all the power from the PlayStation 4 to put down a beautiful game. Norman Reedus and the rest of the actors look lifelike. The landscape is beautiful to see. When you have climbed a mountain and you look around you, you can enjoy a beautiful view. Everything has been thought of, the natural course of water, hair and plants that move with the wind, footprints you leave behind, snow that you push aside, everything looks lifelike. Playing the game is like being on vacation in a beautiful nature reserve.
Death Stranding is a mix of gaming and watching a movie. The story mainly continues in beautiful and long cut scenes. The game part is mainly going from A to B with goods that you have to bring in a perfect or good condition. And this is more difficult than said. The terrain you are going over is strewn with stones, rocks, mountains and rivers. Any of these elements can damage your cargo. In addition, you also have to deal with chemical rain that affects your boxes. Roads no longer exist, so you will have to go through the rough nature. Also, the weight and the way you distribute your load influences how you have to control Sam. The more cargo you carry, the more unstable and slower Sam walks. And by unstable, we mean really unstable. Are you are fully packedthen a small healing can be enough to take you completely off balance.
Fortunately, there are also vehicles in the game. Although fortunately, as we have said before, the terrain is quite overgrown. This means you can't race like crazy from A to B with your motorcycle or truck. Usually it is even faster to go on foot than with a vehicle. Because for all obstacles you also get tools to overcome them. For example, you can lay ladders over rivers and use a climbing anchor to climb a piece of mountains. But you can also build different objects in Death Stranding. Bridges, mailboxes, shelters can all be built to help you get through the rough terrain.
And with the latter we come straight to the online aspect of Death Stranding. When connected to the internet you can use objects from other players. You can also leave tips for players to watch out for. So everything you build or leave behind can be used by other players. Because if you've conquered everything you've read above, then you still have the BTs and the Mules. Rest assured your world won't be filled with every player's build. There is a build limit on what is visible in your world. In addition, the Timefall ensures that buildings slowly break down.
BTs and Mules the enemies in Death Stranding
Fortunately, Death Stranding does not only consist of delivering packages. You can also fight to your heart's content with BTs and Mules. Mules are people who are after your packages. They use it to recycle materials. In addition, they are fond of chasing people like Sam. The downside to these guys is that you can't kill them. Because they are just people and if a person is dead, he must be cremated. Luckily for that you get enough non-lethal weapons to fight them if they bother you. Mules live in camps worth robbing. There are often many goods with materials that you can use to build objects.
BTs are the nebulous creatures associated with the afterlife. When you get to an area with BTs, your Odradek scanner will turn on. It indicates in which direction a BT is located. If you stand still with Sam you can also see the BTs and where they are. Once you're in the area with BTs, be careful and sneak around to get through the area undetected. Getting too close or making noise will make the BTs come at you. And then you're in quite a bit of trouble, BTs drag you along and spawn a huge black monster that tries to kill you. And those non-lethal weapons don't work against those bastards. For this you have weapons that use Sam's blood. And you have to be careful that your blood level does not get too low, because your blood level is also your HP bar. And when your HP bar runs out,you'll end up on your own Death Stranding.
Minuses and Verdict
Despite the fact that Death Stranding is a great game in many ways, the game is not perfect. Some actions are clumsy or don't go as planned. Turning around your axis, for example, can sometimes cause unfortunate falls. The vehicles that you can use regularly get stuck on the smallest stones or even come to a complete standstill. When placing your ladders, it also wants to prevent you from placing a ladder completely wrong. When carrying goods in your hand, you must hold down R2 or L2 all the time. This is quite annoying when you have to walk a long way with those goods in your hand. I prefer that you have to press that button once and that Sam then carries the suitcase himself.
Apart from these negatives,Death Stranding a must have game. Hideo Kojima outdoes himself with this title. Although the gameplay can be repetitive at times, the cutscenes, music and story make up for a lot. The negatives from above are also insignificant if you take the entire experience of the game. The actors do their job superbly and tell the story wonderfully. The music in the game fits seamlessly into your gameplay and in the cutscenes. Graphically, the game is a picture in which you can enjoy the environment through which you dredge. The encounters with BTs and Mules are not annoying or impossible. We played it on the second highest difficulty and it was doable for a first playthrough. If that is still too difficult, you can go down another two degrees. After playing Death Stranding,I can only look forward to a new game from Hideo Kojima as he certainly does not disappoint anyone with this game.
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