When Death Stranding was announced at E3 in 2016 it created waves. Since then, nothing changed, Death Stranding is probably the most anticipated title of 2019 and I had the great pleasure to review it.
What drew me to this game is not the all-star cast or the insanely good-looking graphics but the whole setting of the story. It grabs you right off the bat, that first trailer shows you a very little glimpse of what happened to the world and raises so many questions. The game is directed by the legendary Hideo Kojima and is the first title after him leaving Konami. The star-studded cast is insane with the likes of Norman Reedus, Mads Mikkelsen, Troy Baker, Lindsay Wagner and Emily O’Brien just to name a few.
I could not wait to sink my teeth into Death Stranding and waited in anticipation while the game downloaded. Once I started it was bliss… The game starts off with the epic story and even though you are very much in the dark of what is going on it grabs your attention and holds on tight right through.
The game is set in an open world futuristic America, but you will not recognize anything except the shape of the continent in the map view. The tutorial will ease you into the gameplay and teach you everything you will need along the way, it can feel like an information overload at times but there is a great tips/guide section that you can revisited to read about some things you might’ve missed.
You play as Sam Porter a delivery man in this new world, because he is inflicted with DOOMs he can sense BTs but not see them, this gives him the unique ability to traverse the open world much safer than most humans. Now, you might see words here and think WTF am I talking about. BTs are beings that have come with the Death Stranding event and you will learn more about them as you play the game. People inflicted with DOOMs have special abilities which you will also learn more about.
Some of Sam’s abilities includes being able to find his way back to his body after he has died, sensing the BTs and his bodily waste and fluids are unique in a way that will be a positive outcome against the fight with the BTs. This might not be sufficient enough info for you but part of the greatness of the game is to learn about all these things and I do not want to spoil anything of that for you. You also get accompanied by a BB. A Bridge Baby, very little is known about them, but they can actually see BTs and your BB will assist you a lot in your journey especially when facing timefall. Your BB is special and as the game goes on you learn more about your specific BB and the history of them in general.
Part of your job will be to help Bridges (a Corporation in the game) re-establish the UCA (United Cities of America) on the Chiral Network. By doing this you help to reconnect people, restore information on history and data and also unlock new technology in the combat against BTs. The BTs aren’t the only enemies though, you will encounter Mules that want to steal your cargo and there is a type of terrorist group lead by Higgs. You will also partner with a woman, Fragile, who owns Fragile Express. There are some grey lines here if she is good or bad and some history with the terrorists but again more info will be revealed as you play.
While slugging cargo across lands you will have to face challenges like keeping your balance with the cargo as to not fall and damage the cargo. Timefall can happen at any time where BTs will appear to give you another challenge. When you deliver cargo, you will get rated on your performance and the status of the cargo, some missions might even add some extra challenges like time limit and cargo that can’t be damaged more than a certain percentage. With you rating you get likes, this is kind of how famous you become and if people will give you other jobs or unlock some more features from their station. Damaged cargo can be repaired with some repair spray which can help a lot. One cool feature of cargo is that you can pick up lost cargo along your journey and if you are not close to delivering it to the end point, you can entrust it to someone else to complete and still get some of the rewards.
You can easily get distracted from the main mission with side quest deliveries and sometimes there can be a lot of up and down travelling between points, but this is all optional and still great to do. Later on you will get different types of vehicles, bots and machinery that will helps you with your cargo delivery which will allow you to take on a lot of quests at the same time. Just don’t make the mistake like I did. I had about 3 active delivery requests and completed one, then had the opportunity to take two others on. When I accepted it the one delivery’s cargo was so uge I could not load it anywhere and there was a 60 min time limit bound to the delivery. I was then forced to entrust this delivery to another player and hope that I get something in return for it.
Although Death Stranding is a Single Player game, it does feature some Multiplayer aspects. This is in the form where you might meet other players along the journey. As you build or rebuild structures other players can contribute to it, use it and like it. I loved how I started a section of rebuilding a structure and other players came to complete it and it benefitted us all at the end of the day. It is great to deploy ladders or anchor points and see how it not only benefitted you but the community as a whole.
The soundtrack of the game is insane and just adds to the feel of the setting, at certain points set music will start to play to build-up a section of the story and other times you can choose music to play at post boxes, bridges, charge stations and more. This is a great feature and I also enjoy how you unlock more music by reaching certain ranks at stations.
I can go on and on about Death Stranding but instead of me rambling on and keep you here for more time, you should buy Death Stranding and start playing it. This game is definitely the game to beat this year! What are you waiting for get your copy now…