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Death Stranding absolutely sold me and you should play it

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I don't actually often play the big AAA games but for Death Stranding, I finally took the plunge and thanks to Steam Play Proton running it on Linux was a fantastic experience overall. Note: spoilers, personal purchase.

With my ancient PlayStation 4 on its last legs, I'm glad I sat on this and waited a little while for any patches and then eventually the Windows release on Steam so it worked out all quite nicely. I'm certainly no stranger to Hideo Kojima, having played through various Metal Gear games and always liked the production value Kojima puts in and Death Stranding delivers constantly. It certainly helps that it has an all-star cast with the likes of Norman Reedus, Mads Mikkelsen, Léa Seydoux, and Lindsay Wagner.

"Sam Bridges must brave a world utterly transformed by the Death Stranding. Carrying the disconnected remnants of our future in his hands, he embarks on a journey to reconnect the shattered world one step at a time."

The official description of it does it absolutely no justice. Then again, going into any sort of detail on the store page would probably give away too much - that's what reviews are for (sometimes - I try never to overly spoil). Not that you would understand a lot of it even with a longer and slightly more detailed look into what the game actually is. Here's the thing, even in the first 10 hours, you're probably still going to be thoroughly confused, but that's okay — it's all about the journey and looking completely ridiculous while carrying an insane amount of cargo on your back.

You run around with a strange baby in a container strapped to your chest called BB, this little one helps alert you to dangers appearing in the form of what they call BTs. Does BB start whining and your little spinning light starts going wild? BTs are near. BB also tends to get a bit annoyed if you keep falling over, so you need to detach them and rock them to sleep too. It's so thoroughly weird but kinda sweet at the same time.

At its core, Death Stranding is an open-world delivery sim set in the post-apocalyptic USA. You travel around between buildings, taking on delivery jobs and completing them gives you Likes. As you explore, you will also find missing packages you can pick up and deliver to gain some extra Likes. These missing packages you find do form quite a big part of the gameplay. You can choose to deliver them in full to their original destination for maximum Likes, or deposit them somewhere else for safety and get a few less.

These Likes form as part of the character statistics system, allowing you to level up your porter grade eventually boosting your abilities to help you push forwards. There's a lot more to the Likes system, as you can also give out Likes to various things in the world that other players put down. While it's a single-player game, there are online elements with you seeing objects from other players like a helpful ladder, a sign and more. There's some lore around the Likes system too, as it serves another purpose. With everything going on, people started getting depressed and some went mad due to all the stress. Scientists discovered what they called "Likecin", a hormone that basically restores your mental state but the body only makes it in response to external stimuli - hence why Likes are everywhere.

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Enjoy slow games? Good. Death Stranding is certainly that. I even spoke to friends about the game, finding myself uncontrollably smiling when talking about just how unique an experience it is. A walking simulator? In many ways yes, but unlike anything else. Even just the basic walking mechanics are darn clever and keep you on your toes, or face-first in the mud if you're not paying enough attention. You can choose to hold the straps on your backpack to keep your balance but reduce your speed, or YOLO it and constantly tap between the straps to keep it centred so you don't trip and fall. It's a simple idea that doesn't sound like much but Death Stranding does it so exceptionally well.

Death Stranding also becomes quite a different game a good few hours in once you get vehicles and weapons, it's not so frightening once you get to that stage. You even get the opportunity to eventually fast-travel too. The thing is, even though you can go faster, you don't always want to and that goes back to why it's a slow game.

If you want to understand more, and you should, you get a constant trickle of mail sent to you by various NPCs you meet. You also get sent various interview texts to read over too. This helps form the lore of the world, with you getting various scientific reports on the history preceding the start of the game. This plays into the whole slowness of the game. It wants you to take a break and look around a bit, and so taking a break in a private room you get in each major building gives you ample time to read through it all. You might also find you need to give Sam a little rest out in the wilds, which also saves the game and restores stamina.

There's a frankly ridiculous amount of info you're supposed to absorb in such a short time in the first 10 or so hours. BB, BTs, people who suffer with DOOMS giving them abilities, rain that accelerates time for anything it touches and a brain-overloading amount more of things to remember.

A lot of things about the game mechanics are quite surprising, especially when it comes to your cargo. Getting the right weight distribution can mean the difference between running a lot and constantly holding your straps. I remember one specific point really made me stop in my tracks, because it was such a surprise where I was running to deliver cargo, with a hilariously high stack of boxes and I ran underneath some sort of little array tower. While running under it, the dishes sticking out of the tower just clipped a single box on my back and knocked it off. It's these little details that really make you appreciate how thought-out it is.

Death Stranding is equal parts depressive, as it is optimistic in many ways. Practically everything is in ruins, humanity is on the edge and yet, through your gameplay, you're helping to reconnect the world. Perhaps it's as a result of all the issues COVID caused as playing Death Stranding now felt very close to home. I felt like I needed this experience.

Honestly, I thought I wouldn't like it but I was sold pretty quickly on it. Not without faults though. The UI feels like a hot mess and is often confusing, vehicle movement is nowhere near as good as walking and feels a little cheap and other more minor things but overall it's worth it. Do check it out.

Played with Proton Experimental, the Linux experience was practically flawless. It's such a wonderfully weird experience that it has really gotten me to firmly enjoy hours of gaming in my own free time again.

You can buy Death Stranding on Humble Store and Steam.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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26 comments
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slapin 22 Dec, 2021
  • Supporter Plus
Cyberpunk-2077 is cool (in progress), Death Stranding is cool too (just started), but nothing will make me get away from itch.io and dlsite indie treasures. Also Startdew Valley forever! And patreon games all did their releases too. I wonder what yanderedev is doing?
slapin 22 Dec, 2021
  • Supporter Plus
btw I wonder why people either love Death Stranding to the fulest or hate it wholeheartedly, but no "completed game, cool but nothing special" people, where are you?
Mar2ck 22 Dec, 2021
Quoting: Whitewolfe80
Quoting: rustybroomhandle
Quoting: Whitewolfe80For me I refunded this it's DHL the simulator your a courier in a fucked Kojima world. It's basically a real life job as you amble from place to place in real time. I got so bored I actually complied a kernel on laptop to pass the time. But am not the biggest fan of kojima work

Interesting. You could not have seen much of the game in the <2 hours you must have played. And about the game being a courier game where you walk a lot - you would have known this already before purchasing.

Yes but youre a courier in New Vegas the difference is that game is interesting.

In New Vegas being a courier is a an excuse to go on a journey, you don't actually do any couriering. The experiance of walking from point A to B is basically just holding W the whole time while following a waypoint. Death Stranding is explicitly about doing deliveries in a gameplay sense and the act of traversing the world is fun and challenging in and of itself. It's way closer to Euro Truck Simulator in that sense then a game like Fallout.
ZigZag 22 Dec, 2021
I knew DS would be appealing to me from the beginning, I'm always looking for new, interesting and maybe odd game ideas, the games which for the most part are not tailored to the mainstream audience, and this game is right there.

This games has an amazing balance between new game mechanics, story telling and deep thought provoking content about what lives we are living, the society and everything around it, who is important to you or create relationships which can become important to you. DS comes at you at a pace where you will have time to think about stuff, and it is such a nice break from most other "big" games. It is scary how well some of this game deep lore fits to our world, and some times even better now with covid, which was not a thing at the time wen this game was made.

It is clear that Kojima(and his team) went this direction intentionally, the great thing is that no one stopped them, because the game would not appeal top the biggest possible audience, but they had free hands and could create what they wanted, it is amazing and only very few games get close to this.

I can only recommend it.


I played on Proton GE without any issues.


Last edited by ZigZag on 22 December 2021 at 3:09 pm UTC
Rob-Retro 22 Dec, 2021
I got the game a while back, and at first i was amazed by it, but after just over 10 hours i was bored to tears with the Game as it just the same thing over and over, so yeah, if you like rinse and repeat Games with the same graphics/textures/world then your like it.
Mohandevir 22 Dec, 2021
Quoting: Rob-Retro... if you like rinse and repeat Games with the same graphics/textures/world then your like it.

Thing is, I often have this feeling with AAA titles... Rinse and repeat. The only thing that changes is the name of the game. I usually can't keep interrested in the latests AAA games, generally speaking.

As for Death Stranding, I'll keep my conclusions for later, but at least they tried something different.

Edit: Reformulated the last phrase.


Last edited by Mohandevir on 22 December 2021 at 3:59 pm UTC
rustybroomhandle 22 Dec, 2021
Quoting: slapinbtw I wonder why people either love Death Stranding to the fulest or hate it wholeheartedly, but no "completed game, cool but nothing special" people, where are you?

This is how you know it's art. It knows what it is and goes for it hard. There was no focus group involved that tried to figure out how to make it appeal to as many people as possible.
Homedread 22 Dec, 2021
I'm desperately waiting to say all the good I think about this game. Thank for this review.
If you tell : death & reborn, baby, society question, social network, whale, dream, super power, useless daily actions, mega corps, way of life aside society, beautiful landscape; and you mix all these items into a game and "boom" there it is. Mostly improbable but what a deep rich story and multi level of question the game put in your face. Long time I didn't find a so good balance. As you walk, you can stand about all the existential questions game make you think about
Purple Library Guy 22 Dec, 2021
Quoting: Mar2ck
Quoting: Whitewolfe80
Quoting: rustybroomhandle
Quoting: Whitewolfe80For me I refunded this it's DHL the simulator your a courier in a fucked Kojima world. It's basically a real life job as you amble from place to place in real time. I got so bored I actually complied a kernel on laptop to pass the time. But am not the biggest fan of kojima work

Interesting. You could not have seen much of the game in the <2 hours you must have played. And about the game being a courier game where you walk a lot - you would have known this already before purchasing.

Yes but youre a courier in New Vegas the difference is that game is interesting.

In New Vegas being a courier is a an excuse to go on a journey, you don't actually do any couriering. The experiance of walking from point A to B is basically just holding W the whole time while following a waypoint. Death Stranding is explicitly about doing deliveries in a gameplay sense and the act of traversing the world is fun and challenging in and of itself. It's way closer to Euro Truck Simulator in that sense then a game like Fallout.
That is actually true, but Whitewolfe80's point was that both represent themselves as being about couriers, hence it was not foolish to buy the game just because it was about being a courier--it could still have been a game that suited his taste.

For me it's more the reverse--it sounds like I might enjoy this, but I almost certainly wouldn't have been any good at New Vegas.


Last edited by Purple Library Guy on 22 December 2021 at 5:35 pm UTC
TheSHEEEP 22 Dec, 2021
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  • Supporter Plus
Quoting: Mar2ckthe act of traversing the world is fun and challenging in and of itself
This has to be a joke.
It is practically impossible to fail in this game. You don't die (unless you count that one scene). You just respawn a bit back with all of your stuff.
Except if human enemies kill you - in which case you lose some packages, but can just go look for them again.
But dying to human enemies is likewise basically impossible, given the inane state of enemy AI - unless you have two left hands and your eyes at the back of your head.
And even then, sorry, but that's not a fail state. A challenge requires the realistic possibility to fail at it and some kind of stake.

So only the terrain and the "challenge" of traversing it remains.
In my 7-9 hours of trying to get from cutscene to cutscene, as the "gameplay" itself certainly was no motivation, I did not manage to fall even once (after the tutorial).

At some point, I gave up on the repetitive and entirely-devoid-of-challenge gameplay and instead just watched the story unfold on YouTube.
Which is cool - felt a bit like watching an overpriced arthouse movie.

Other than that, this game is the very best example of The Emperor's New Clothes in game form.
I read a review once that pretty much goes like this and I found it very fitting:
"It feels like some vernissage, famous people, expensive food, ... - and nobody really understands what’s the point of the paintings but you are semi-intimidated into praising the masterpieces, while no one wants to admit they are bored."

I can really only assume some people enter a kind of zen-like trance when meandering through the nothingness of the game, which then counts as "fun" for them.
Somewhat similar to people who waste their time away play Animal Crossing and somehow find enjoyment in that.

Beats me how that works, but more power to them, I guess!
Believe me, I wish I could be entertained in that manner. I'd spend a lot less money on games.

PS: Yes, yes, I know. "Players work together to achieve a goal!" "Inspires altruism!" "Such a brave premise!" yadda yadda, bla bla,... all fine and dandy, but none of that makes the gameplay better.


Last edited by TheSHEEEP on 22 December 2021 at 6:47 pm UTC
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