I’ll be the first to admit that I frequently—really frequently—made fun of Death stranding. ” I’d go work for Amazon if I wanted to deliver stuff, or Oh, it’s a UPS sim.” I never believed I would enjoy the game, but when it became available on GamePass, I thought, “Hell, I have no excuse now not to at least give it a shot.” I feel foolish right now. Sort of.
First of all, the core gameplay is actually nothing unusual; it is a standard over-the-shoulder third-person shooter when called for. The ordinary ends there. You are dumped into a devastated planet where you deliver parcels. We don’t receive anything as the player; instead, we must learn what the rest of the world, including Sam, already knows. It was almost like skipping to the middle of a movie. In fact, in the first hour, you deliver a package, transport a body, suffer a void-out explosion caused by an unknown man that kills an entire city, comes back to life, and then get a BB unit.
From that point on, the plot remains enigmatic until the very end, when it finally begins to make sense and does so in a way that feels unexpected. The plot revolves around the characters, whose backstories each have implications for the universe in which the game takes place. Each time a character’s origin is explained, new information about the game’s lore is revealed.
The build-up was wonderful but confusing, and the roads it took to get there stunned me. The ending literally made me gasp out loud. For the 80+ hours I played, the acting by Norman, Lea, and everyone else really made it an emotional delight. At times, it had the feel of a futuristic space movie. It has a world that is somewhat dull but interesting, almost like Prometheus. The world while stunning is empty but that is for a reason.
As I’ve mentioned, I’ve never played a Metal Gear or Metal Gear Solid game, so I’m not someone who believes Hideo Kojima is a perfect game developer who can do no wrong. I am aware of them and some of the stories, but aside from that, I do not consider the man to be a god of video games. However, I can now see why people think so highly of him after experiencing this game. I say experience cause this was an adventure from void out beginning to credit rolling ending.
The only aspect of the plot that comes to mind for criticism is the pacing, but once again, Hideo is notorious for his erratic pacing and massive information dumps. This kept me interested as a player, but it might put off some people. About 70% of the way through the game, everything starts to make sense and all of my questions are resolved. I cried when I heard Fragiles’ story or when I lost Mama. I also found myself laughing a lot with Heartman or talking to the shelter residents. I left this game fully content with what I played and never had a “What If?” thought.
The storyline and plot twists of this game are clever, but so are all of the game’s underlying assumptions. It discusses long-held geological, historical, and anthropological beliefs as well as theories about extinction that are presented in an almost convincing manner. It’s very Assassin’s Creed-style, where you occasionally wonder if it’s really that far away from the actual truth of the world.
I will admit it does get repetitive just delivering the packages back and forth or picking up dropped packages from other players up sometimes. Especially with how spread out or hard to get to some of the spots are. I just put on a movie or show in the background most times and did the delivers to raise my porter rating and stars with the shelters. Other times I just put music from the game on. Low Roar definitely has a new fan.
I think one of the coolest features is the ability to use other people’s structures or people getting to use yours. It is a sigh of relief when you bring a shelter onto the chiral network only to see that someone else already started a zip-line path out of the area or to the next hard-to-reach place. I’m not 100% the version that is on gamepass so I don’t know what I could be missing but god dang this was an amazing game. The way the game gently rolls out new equipment, upgrades, and all that really kept me hooked on it. As the meme says: Its like a Reward.
I will say it is best not to do all the side quests first. I know this goes against all open-world logic but like most open worlds now the game is not over when you roll credits. you can come back and playthrough more and spend more time in the world. Why? Because before the game even gets decent, you’ll burn out. Do a few here and there, and perhaps if it’s heading in the same general direction as the primary goal, but disregard them after that. You’ll only be missing a few wearables that have no bearing on gameplay, and a few gameplay-related items that, while beneficial, are not at all worth it
Overall Death Stranding is a very smart, original, stunning, and beautiful game that has a lot to offer to the people who are going to like it. The story and acting really make this a must-play game for any gamer. It never overstays its welcome and wraps everything up in a neat package that does leave room for a second game but it is not forced or heavily hinted at. While the back-and-forth delivery can get repetitive the music is so good. It is gonna start slow after the action-packed opening but It is worth it at least in my humble opinion.
So let me say this for the record I was wrong about Death stranding and I’m so glad I was. I think this review says it best:
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