It is November 2019 and the Death Stranding review roundup is finally here. When it was first revealed 3 years ago, several people had the idea that Death stranding isn’t going to be a conventional video game. It features a star-studded cast of Norman Reedus, Gullermo Del Toro, Mad Mikkelsen under the creative direction of Hideo Kojima. After such a long wait, the reviews of Death Stranding are finally in, and despite the game’s intention of uniting a broken America, it has divided game journalists across the industry.
The game has received utterly mediocre scores from some reviewers but others seem to absolutely love it. Here’s a quick round-up of what experts think of the latest Sony PS4 exclusive, Death Stranding.
Death Stranding Review Round-Up:
The initial opening line from Inside Gaming’s review says “This review is not to tell you if the game is good or bad, it’s to tell you if it’s for you or not.”
Death Stranding is a game where you take control of Norman Reedus to deliver packages in a semi-post apocalyptic world. You are basically an Amazon Prime delivery-person of future America, or so the surface of the game would have you believe.
Along your journey, you deliver packages, gain reward points, level up and get access to new equipment.
The thing which irritates the people most about Death Stranding is its tedious initial 12 hours of a campaign. Different people have different opinions about it. Kojima himself has said that Death Stranding doesn’t become fun until the second half of the game.
People who praise the first half of the game, think of it as something refreshing from the videogame industry that is always keen on showering the players with incentives for every small achievement.
People who dislike the initial 12 hours of grind mostly hate the repetitive chore of picking stuff from point A and delivering it to point B.
Commenting on the long and repetitive nature of the core gameplay of Death Stranding, an IGN reviewer said:
“If you think that playing the role of a courier makes it sound as though Death Stranding could be one continent-spanning 40 hours series of glorified fetch quests, tt’s because that’s exactly what it is.”
While applauding the same feature, a reviewer from GameSpot said: “Death Stranding is unrelenting in its earnestness and optimism. It is a dense, complex, slow game with a plot that really goes places but at its core, it never stops being about sheer power and purpose we can find in human connection and that is its most remarkable achievement.”
One of the highlighting features of Death Stranding is the Asynchronous multiplayer system. In several locations within the game, you’ll find several objects like ladders and roads made by other players.
This feature also has critics mostly divided. While some appreciate the helpful tips and objects left behind by other players, other reviewers found that gameplay, particularly boss fights, became really easy after following in the footsteps of other players.
The main enemy in the game called BT’s or “Beached Things” poses some serious challenge during the initial gameplay hours. However, they become easy to avoid after a few encounters, noted one reviewer.
Other hurdles in the game include an age-accelerating rainfall, challenging environmental terrains, rogue delivery guys and an overwhelming sense of repetitiveness.
Most reviewers agree that Death Stranding picks up the pace quite well after the first half and leaves you in awe of its jaw-dropping finale. However, in order to reach up to that point, the game demands a continuous grind from you as it delays the sense of any sort of accomplishment by a lot.
The last game which took a long time to get its pace going was Assassin’s Creed 3. The game was ahead of its time because initially, the audience wasn’t receptive to the game’s 6-hour long prologue but as years went by, the same crowd became more receptive to the slow pacing of the game.
Perhaps the thing which perfectly describes Death Stranding for me is a comic from Calvin and Hobbs.
The way in which Calvin’s dad makes him work relentlessly is similar to how Hideo Kojima wants his fans to grind and put in long hours before they can be greeted with something “fun” in the game.
The money that Calvin’s dad is making, is the excessive product placement in the Death Stranding. Norman Reedus drinks a Monster Energy drink to regain his stamina. And that’s all you need to know about Death Stranding.
Here’s rest of the Death Stranding review Roundup from the critics:
“It is a game that requires patience, compassion and love and it’s also one we really need right now”
Death Stranding has huge ambitions, inventive ideas, and a spectacular map, but it’s all been saddled on a backbone made up of repetitive mission design and arduous traversals that simply can’t support its weight over the full course of its journey.”
“Death Stranding might not be the groundbreaking experience hype that was promised and, ironically, the lengthy, repetitive gameplay means that the good bits are often lost in delivery.”
I’ll repeat again this game may not be for everyone but it is worth giving it a chance. It is a clever, untraditional experience with a lot of intricate moving pieces and ever-expanding systems by a fascinating narrative setup, a compelling storyline with memorable characters and impeccable presentation with some mind-blowing visuals and epic undertones. All of which service the game’s ultimate message, we’re stronger if we work together.