What I’m playing now: Death Stranding

death stranding screenshot

What a beautiful game.
I’ve never played any of Kojima’s other games and hadn’t heard of this one at all. A streamer I follow on Twitch has been playing it for a while – at first I was all “wtf is this weird-ass game” but over several days of observing I became eager to try it myself. So when it was on sale for PS4 recently I bought it. On the Pro it’s gorgeous on the 43″ 4k TV and whenever you hit one of the spots where you get a new song to play, it’s the most wonderful visual/auditory experience.  The music tracks at those times are mostly by a group called Low Roar, (YouTube link) and I love all of them. So thanks, game, for introducing me to this musical group, as a side-bonus.

Death Stranding is kind of a walking-sim I suppose, but no more than all the traveling and fetch-questing in open world games like Skyrim, for example. You get vehicles to help out as well. There are elements of strategy, resource and time management, stealth and occasional combat sections. Outside of the main storyline it’s very sand-boxy. It is not an “action” game by any stretch but I feel like just calling it a walking-sim is too extreme. There are enemies and things to deal with – but it’s the type of scenario where most of the time you can avoid it all if you wish. Or you can decide to have fun with raiding the Mule (bandit) camps or the more supernatural BT’s as a break from all the deliveries or story missions.

Still, if one generally likes fast paced action or combat heavy games, Death Stranding probably won’t be a game for you. Myself, I love wandering the world delivering packages, reconnecting people, towns, and a vastly changed US continent, rebuilding the interstate (which takes forrrever if you don’t use the pseudo “online” feature that shares player structures, but I prefer no help). The story is very weird and very long (lots of long cutscenes sometimes, like a movie) but I find it interesting enough. There have been a couple delivery encounter missions that really touched me, re: small character stories, too.

Anyway, I started Feb. 20 and I’ve already put 50 hours into the game (with a couple 10 hr sessions which is a lot for me these days…). Once you hit episode 3 it opens up a lot more and I was completely sucked in. It feels different, it’s chill/meditative at times, and so weirdly addictive. When it comes to Steam/PC in June-ish, I may buy it there if it adds enough stuff (or is moddable). Otherwise this is a game that I’d be fine with never owning on PC.

Funny sidenote: this is exactly what happened to me with FFXV, where I watched someone on Twitch playing it (I had never played a previous FF or heard of FFXV) and the lengthy exposure is what eventually convinced me I had to have/play FFXV.  Sometimes it’s cool to discover a game randomly like that, where you know nothing and have no expectations, so it’s more of a clean feeling of discovery.  Death Stranding is definitely a game I can see myself spending at least 200-300 hours with, maybe more. 😀