Death Stranding: Director’s Cut

released on Sep 24, 2021

From legendary game creator Hideo Kojima comes a genre-defying experience, now expanded and remastered for PS5 in this definitive DIRECTOR’S CUT.

Experience an extended storyline through new missions in an expanded area. Make use of additional weapons and vehicles, take on new enemy types and explore new locations such as the Firing Range and Racetrack, featuring extra missions and minigames.

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Somewhere in this weird piece of art is an idea for a very good video game, but you have to suffer through monotonous fetch quests, annoying gameplay, and an obtuse story to experience even a hint of that idea.
Death Stranding does that thing that a lot of games do - it throws you into an environment that clearly spells out your limitations before slowly introducing tools to make your journey easier. The difference is it's not like "You could only jump before, but now you can double jump. Isn't that fun!?"
It's more like "You don't know how to walk down a hill because you're a big dumb man baby. Struggle through this for 10 hours and then we'll give you something to make it not suck." Every minute I spent walking around in that world was a constant battle of "Wow this sure looks beautiful I can't wait to explore it more" and "Oh I beefed it again on a pebble while walking up a slight incline".
Every single upgrade or improvement you get in the game isn't to make a fun game more fun, it's to make the game you are playing suck less.
"Walking with a load sure does suck, huh? Here have this"
"Traveling this long distance over and over is boring. Make a road to make it faster"
But you still have to put in a lot of work to even build these structures to make your life easier. So you either struggle to complete your journey or you struggle to collect resources to build a bridge to make it easier to complete your journey. Yay?
The social/"strand" portion of Death Stranding I think is some of the coolest stuff I've experienced in a game. Building bridges, roads, or other structures that you or others can use to make you journey a little easier is a lot of work but also satisfying. The fact that those structures can then be used by other players is very cool, even if it did feel like I was the only one in my world actually contributing to these projects.
I'd spend hours working on these roads and the contributions from others was measly.
I can stomach boring gameplay if the story is at least holding my interest along the way. And while I wouldn't call Death Stranding's story uninteresting, I definitely wouldn't call it good. The vibe of this game consist of characters with goofy names delivering horribly-written lines of dialogue with deadly-serious tone all while Monster energy drinks and ads for Norman Reedus's real life TV show on AMC are in the background. It's a game that simultaneously takes itself so seriously and not seriously at all. Honestly, normally, I think that kind of thing can be kind of funny but every second of this game had me scratching my head and asking "This is the video game mastermind everyone worships?"
+ Gorgeous world
+ Incredible soundtrack
+ Really cool building/social element
- Gameplay loop is just nonstop fetch quests
- Getting around the world is actively not fun until you put the work in to make it suck less
- BT encounters are stressful
- Nonsense story
- Conflicting tone

En mi vida he jugado a bastantes juegos y géneros distintos. Más o menos siempre encuentras algo de esto que ya vi en aquello o reconozco por dónde me quieren llevar en según qué momentos. Entré a Death Stranding bastante virgen. Nunca había tocado nada de Hideo Kojima y tampoco me llamaba especialmente nada suyo. Respecto al juego en sí, había leído de todo, desde obra maestra hasta simulador de repartidor de Amazon; pero tampoco me había involucrado en querer saber más. Por Game Pass le di una oportunidad.
Death Stranding es la cosa más rara, curiosa y original que he probado (fuera de indies) y me ha mantenido enganchado durante las poco más de 40 horas que puede durar. Lo sorprendente es que las primeras 10 horas me sentía como si me estuviera fumando tremendo porro pero que las piezas iban encajando. Empezaba a comprender ese mundo e incluso el qué estaba pasando a mi alrededor. Pero luego volvía a desmoronarse todo. Y no solo con la historia. El propio gameplay era un no parar de introducirme nuevas cosas, palabras que no había oído en mi vida y que, con las horas, ya fluían en mi mente como si siempre hubieran estado ahí.
Para mi este juego ha sido una experiencia. La jugabilidad es rarísima, pero se justifica. Es que debe ser así. En el mundo que se ha construido, es lo que debe ser. Eres simplemente Sam, el transportista... ¿o quizá no?
Lo recomiendo bastante. Es duro, van a haber momentos pesados. Te vas a sentir como un recadero, literalmente. Pero luego todo va teniendo un sentido. Se va tejiendo un porqué y todo ello adrezado con una muy buena banda sonora y la, para mi, mejor interpretación de doblaje en un videojuego.
Considero que la mejor manera de entrarle es sin saber a qué vas a jugar. Te darás cuenta que no eres el único que está intentando entender qué es el Death Stranding. Servirá bastante que leas las entrevistas, que te involucres en su lore. Es un juego que no te va a tratar como un espectador pasivo (y mira que tienes cinemáticas) pero no es para sentarte con tu coca cola, es para que estés prestando atención, que intentes entrar en la mente del fideo.
No sabría cómo puntuarlo. Han habido momentos que me han cabreado, que me he sentido idiota, momentos que estaba dentrísimo, que entendía cómo se movía todo. He fluido con él y eso me basta para decir que, aún sin ser una obra que recomendaría a todo el mundo, vale mucho la pena darle un tiento y ser pacientes con lo que se propone aquí.

I was prepared to throw 5 stars at this game right around chapter 8. However,t he last 5 hours were so much different and worse that what came before that I need to dock a whole star.
Despite being derided as a walking simulator, the core gameplay loop is actually fantastic. I loved creating routes, optimizing my paths between different bases, and integrating my constructions with the other online players. Planning delivery loops, then executing them by foot or vehicle is one of the coziest gameplay loops that I've encountered in a while. The trickle of new equipment is perfectly spaced out to give the player a sense of "oh! I can now put this on the map here, here and here" to optimize routes.
Walking and driving around wouldn't be as fun if it wasn't for the world design, which is top notch. The creepy, otherworldly aspect is contrasted well with the beautiful, scenic landscape.
The initial lore and mystery of the game is also highly compelling. I want to know how the world got like this; I want to know who the hell all of these people are.
Unfortunately, the last few hours of the game tank the overall quality of the whole experience. By chapter 9, walking and delivering is basically done - the player is in for a few boss fights that aren't terribly challenging, but are terribly time consuming. More of the third-person shooter sections appear: not the game's strong suit. It's a shame the game ends with hours of game play that the game really doesn't handle well.
And then the story. Most of the early story and lore is told in the first few hours. Enough to set the tone and get one excited to delve into the mystery. But, the meat of the game really spaces out the focus on the story. A few cutscenes and arcs here and there, but most of the lore is gained from emails and data logs, and even then, in small chunks.
Then the end game dumps the rest of the story on the player all at once. There are emotional moments that don't land, and scenes that should be tense but are more laughable and confusing as meaningless antagonists threaten the player and the plot seems to twist itself for no real reason. There are plot revelations that are like, "This is true. But actually it was this all along! But actually someone else did this! But actually it was really THIS behind everything, but actually this person is good, but actually this person is bad but no wait they're good!" The characters aren't developed enough to give a shit and it feels like Kojima is just making things up at the end. No emotional stakes. Please get an editor, Kojima.
Despite that - the beginning and middle of the game are incredible and those parts will stick with me for a long, long while.