So this one is a big difficult to review. I am a huge fan of Kojima, and this is his first new IP from his new company, and in a way it kind of shows.
It is by no means an Indie game, yet there are things about it that scream Indie title.
From unfinished design elements, to bizarre story telling that needs to be read about online post game to ensure you understood what just happened.
Yet on the other hand, this is nothing but AAA.
From perfectly mastered environment, great character design and stellar acting, to a killer soundtrack that will stick in your head.
It is all tossed in a blender and comes out with a strange UPS delivery man simulation in the end.
When I first started Death Stranding I presumed the parcel delivery was a kitschy little thing that would going to be a secondary element.
Well boy was I wrong, the game is 95% package delivery. And the weird part is, it works.
I started off not really caring for it, it was an annoyance, always having to balance you load, make sure you were not carrying too much, or that you were not falling and breaking your goods, or having them rust away in the terrible rains.
But slowly as time passed, I found I was trying harder and harder to get the mail to the rightful owners. It just grows on you over time. When drudging hip deep in snow, trying you best not to slip and ruin your load.
Things do get easier as time goes o, you develop the ability to craft buildings and roads at the heavy cost of resources. But the sooner you can get together a highway or a zip line network, the easier things will be in the back half of the game.
The game also ties together with online in a weird Dark Souls kinda of way, with a persistent online tie to other players and their buildings. They will help supply resources for your roads for instances.
Or leave little emoji signs warning you of danger, or of treasure ahead.
It is a strange add in that works well for the world, but sadly did not serve much purpose.
You cannot interact with other people in any way directly.
The graphics in Death Stranding are absolutely amazing. For a new studio, it is extremely impressive what Kojima could achieve here. The world he crafted is exquisite. From barren desert plains, to snowy mountains, to grassy fields, all of it feels very real, and very somber.
This is a game about isolation, you spend the vast majority of it alone, you vs the elements.
With the occasional smattering of vocal music to set the mood.
The audio is a real treat as well, there is a TON of rain in this game, and it pairs well with simulated Atmos. The ceiling feels huge here, and the surround is well designed.
While it does lack in bass for my liking, the ambient noise in the game is a real treat. In a world so dead, it certainly sounded alive.
Some of the weird shortcomings in the game center a lot around driving.
This is where the Indie side of things starts to show.
There are a few types of vehicles in the game, mainly bikes and trucks.
But my God the bikes are HORRIBLE! Like we are talking 1 out of 10 stars horrible.
It is like something that was designed in the Sony PS1 days. You cant even bump a rock without getting stuck or flipping. It is absolutely terrible. So bad that 90% of the time I avoided them altogether and just walked instead.
That’s right, I would rather spend a dozen extra hours walking than use the provided transportation.
There was also some technical glitches, like the game randomly crashing when a cutscene would start, those type of QA things that could have been fixed with another few weeks of testing.
But I imagine Kojima needed this out in time for holiday 2019.
Had this been any other designer, they likely would have been crucified over the issues. But we all give him a bit of a free pass due to the amazing story telling he does.
All in all Death Stranding was a good game, warts and all.
Not a 10/10 title, but a fantastic 1st attempt for a man who has shaped the gaming industry over the last 30+ years.
A must play for Kojima fan, or for aspiring UPS / postal workers.
A decent 7.5/10.