Death Stranding: Delivering Packages with a Twist (Review)

Death Stranding is a third-person adventure game that was released in November 2019 for the PlayStation 4. It was later released in July 2020 for PC. A director’s cut of the game was released in September 2021 for the Playstation 5.

The game follows main character Sam Porter Bridges (Norman Reedus) as he traverses the US after a cataclysmic event that has caused destructive creatures – known as BTs – to roam the earth. As Sam, you are tasked with delivering supplies to isolated settlements and connecting them up to a wireless network so they can work together to rebuild. The game has a stellar cast, including Mads Milkelsen, Troy Baker and Léa Seydoux.

Like most people, when this game was announced, I was still reeling from the cancellation of the Silent Hills project that would see Norman Reedus, Guillermo del Toro, and Hideo Kojima reinvent the series, so I was eager for another project where they would work together. It wasn’t long at this that Death Stranding was announced with possibly the weirdest game trailer I’d ever seen – Reedus naked on a beach holding a creepy looking baby. This being said, there was still something that made me want to play the game. Over the next couple of months, more was released about it, but no one was able to truly explain what it was all about, and I don’t think I found out until I actually played it.

When you start the game, you’re thrown into the decimated landscape that, although it looks beautiful, you know something just isn’t right. From the very beginning, there is a lot going on. You have to learn about the event that caused the destruction, as well as the entities that are tied to it, as well as trying to work out just what the hell you’re supposed to do. I mean, you had a baby (BB) in an artificial womb attached to the front of you that can detect the BTs, which if they catch you will cause a huge explosion and not actually kill you…yeah.

I can understand why many people give up on this game quite early on. You’re not doing a great deal aside from trekking miles to deliver a package, only to have to turn around and deliver one to where you started. I’m guilty of being one of the players that almost gave up on it – the constant walking just didn’t do it for me (just like real life). But once I finally got into it – despite still having no real idea of what was going on – I was drawn into the story, the gorgeous locations and the amazing soundtrack. This is a game that just wants you to keep playing, and if you do, you’ll be rewarded.

After a while, you feel the need to continue playing, even if it’s just because you’ve still got some deliveries to make.

After a couple of months of playing, we ended up getting the platinum trophy and leaving the game behind. As beautiful as it was, there wasn’t anything to come back for after that. However, when a director’s cut of the game was announced, we knew that we wanted to play it again.

We picked up the director’s cut version of the game on release day as there was an upgrade path available to us because we still had our copy of the original. To upgrade our physical PS4 version to PS5, it would only cost us £5 – miles better than having to play nearly £50 for another disc version.

Once the download was done, we were in.

As soon as the game starts, you see that what was an amazingly gorgeous game, to begin with, has gotten even better. The colours are more vibrant, and the textures look altogether more realistic. But this isn’t all the director’s cut has to offer.

This version of the game makes excellent use of the haptic feedback and the adaptive triggers of the DualSense controller. The haptic feedback allows you to feel every bump on your path, and the adaptive triggers allow you to feel just how heavy your cargo is – the heavier your load, the harder you need to press the buttons. All of this just makes you feel more in tune with Sam and BB.

There are a number of new music tracks added to the already brilliant score and extra jobs that Sam can pick up as he makes his way across the country (some of these jobs were previously only available in the PC version).

Another great feature is the fact that you can go on your trophy hunt once again, as all the trophies make a return if you start a new game.

Death Stranding is an excellent game, and if I had reviewed the original, I would have given it 10/10, so the fact that the director’s cut is even better makes me want to break my scale and give it 15/10, it’s just that good.

Have you played Death Stranding? What did are your thoughts of it?

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