Death Stranding – First Impressions

Note: I did not pay for the game Death Stranding. I was supplied a free copy.

There has been no other video game this generation as divisive as Death Stranding has been. Even up until its launch everyone has been split on it. You had people who were extremely excited for the game and other who had no clue what to think. I definitely was in the no idea group. I respect Kojima has a creator, but his weird ego and the even weirder ad placements and guest appearance of famous people definitely turned me off the game.

After the game was released and the reviews were all over the place, I got significantly more intrigued. I was able to get my hands on a copy of the game and decided to give it a shot. Genuinely didn’t think I was going to get to this game this year at all, but the scattered thoughts on this game really got to me. I needed to play it for myself.

Death Stranding has not disappointed me yet.

To be fair I really did not have high expectations for Death Stranding. The game literally just throws you into this crazy world and really takes its time explaining anything to you. You get bits and pieces as you go and starting putting things together, but after playing for three hours I still have a lot of questions.

The most amount of story I can really give here is that you’re a delivery man in the post apocalyptic world. There is time fall rain that rapidly ages whatever it touches, and whenever it rains these invisible monsters called BTS attack anything they can sense. The United States is in a disarray after some catastrophic event, but there is a plan in place to reconnect all this surviving cities and it involves the player character Sam Porter. I really won’t go much deeper than that as to not spoil anything.

Death Stranding’s attention to detail is astounding to me. From the eye lashes on Sam Porter, to the game world bits other games would ignore. In a cut scene at the beginning you see a deer make a jump off a cliff, and sadly not make it to the other side. When you gain control of Sam and make your way down the mountain you come across this dead deer. It’s so incredibly simple but it really stood out to me.

I know some people have issues with the controls of Death Stranding, and yeah I was a little weirded out myself at first, but it is actually incredibly interesting and just a new way to do things. Balance is important in this game as you traverse the terrain. You definitely have to pay attention to where you are walking and not over exerting yourself. I see people comparing the mechanics to Red Dead Redemption 2, but so far it is significantly less tedious than RDR2.

As you make your journey across the landscape to get to new areas Death Stranding’s soundtrack will turn on. It will pop up on your screen telling you the song name and the artist. It was a little weird to see it at first, but was forgiven because of how well the music fit in with what I was doing. The names of the voice actors also pops ip when you first meet a new character. This is probably a lot more out of place, but I don’t think I care all that much.

The product placements is just as out of place and stupid as I would have imagined. Monster Energy is a health item in the game. Who the fuck is supplying Monster Energy in this post apocalyptic world? You actually put it in your canteen and drink it out in the world, and in your personal quarters there are several cans sitting on your table at all times.

There is also an ad for a “Ride with Norman Reedus” AMC bull shit. It’s just incredibly stupid to see. Is this a sell out move? Are other people annoyed by it as much as me? I know games have done it in the past, but this is just so in your face gross. Again though, I knew this stuff was in here ahead of time, but I still hate it regardless.

I took this picture with my phone. I think this is a level up screen, but I’m really not sure.

I like Death Stranding so far. There have been tense and actually scary moments in both the cinematics and the gameplay. Sneaking around invisible monsters and getting caught is terrifying. Goopy oil monsters come from the ground and grab you, trying to drag you into who knows where. It’s nerve wracking.

The main theme of this post is that Death Stranding is fucking wild and weird. It really does feel like it is taking on a whole new sort of way to play a video game, but also feels like an indie game with AAA money. Contradictory, I know. It just leans so hard into the “I’m artsy and I have something important to say” and I want to see more of it.

I will continue to write updates on this game as I go. After having no real expectations for the game, I think I might end up enjoying it. Only time will tell.

Have you been playing Death Stranding at all? What do you think of it so far?

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