Death Stranding

Action & exploration third person game set in a post-apocalyptic open world. Developed by Kojima Productions and published first on PS4 by Sony Interactive and later on PC by 505 Games.

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Review: glumetzuls Review

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I don't usually review games but if this one will save just one person from enduring this game, it will have been worth it. In my opinion there are three problems with this game: gameplay, story and ending.

When it comes to gameplay this game is all about fetch quests. Not the fetch quests disguised as something else that you're used to from other games. No, your actual role in the world is just bringing things from one point to another and 95% of your gaming time will be spent walking.

You will easily expect to be bored with such a simplistic gameplay but the truth is that walking is a lot more of a challenge than you'd expect. This is not about just pressing a button and watching your character move forward until the destination. No, walking is about avoiding obstacles, keeping your balance, avoiding tripping and generally finding the best way to trek along pretty difficult terrain and some sneaking from time to time. It is a challenge much like shooting is a challenge in FPS games. This is much of what the gameplay is really about.

When it comes to story, there is an artistic side of it that I expect will have some players enjoy it. I wasn't one of them. Not sure how you can decide if it's for you or not. I think that if you liked the ending of Lost because it wasn't your usual happy ending epilogue where you just understand everything, then maybe this could be for you.

The problem that really pissed me off and I think it will piss off even players who like the story is that it is told through incredibly lengthy cut scenes. Actually they are short movies, not cut scenes. Seriously we're talking like 5 to 15 minutes in length and there is no input expected at all from you during these. You know how most games will at least have you choose between two possible replies, even if they don't count to a different outcome, or at least have just one reply but have you push the button to create the illusion that you selected that dialogue line? Not here. Here you just watch them exactly like you'd watch a movie.

So basically this game alternates between moments of gameplay that is pretty tedious and cut scenes that are about as lengthy as the actual game play where you aren't supposed to do anything but just watch it unfold. I'm a fan of story driven games but having to stop playing once an hour to watch 10 or 20 minutes of a CGI movie is not my idea of a game focused on story.

And finally I said that I also have an issue with the ending. Well... Ever since your final boss battle and until the game actually ends, there are another 2 hours or so of cut scenes that are only interrupted by some more walking but the kind where there is none of the previous challenges for you. For the ending, when you do have to walk, you pretty much have to walk across plain terrain and all the walking is done just to advance towards the next cut scene. I'd say that for every minute of walking you get a few minutes of cut scenes. So it's mostly a movie at this point but it's not even a movie that you can just sit laying on a couch and watch because every few minutes you still need to walk a bit. You don't get any choice or anything, but have to do it in order to advance to the next cut scene.

Add to that the fact that by the time you start this ending phase, you get some subtle hints but aren't really sure what was happening all along. And during this ending, everything is explained to you. I'd go as far as say it's not an interesting explanation but even if it were, I like a story where you start to understand things as you get near the end, not one where 95% of the time you are clueless and in the last 5% of your experience everything just gets explained to you for no other reason than the fact that the NPC who actually knew what was happening decides to tell you.

Now there is one extremely positive thing about this game and that is the graphics. I've been playing it on a PC with a pretty old Nvidia 970 GTX card on a 2K monitor with G Sync and it looked amazing. By far the closest thing to Hollywood CGI I've ever seen in a game. There aren't so many characters in this game but those are extremely detailed. About one third of them are modeled about well known actors which makes it even more mind blowing because it makes you forget that you're playing a game and not watching a movie starring those actors. The landscape are also amazing.

So considering this is a game where you'll mostly be walking from one point to another and watch cut scenes with the characters interacting, the fact that the landscapes and the characters look amazing is a great plus. It wasn't enough to make me not wish I played something else entirely or just read a few books in those 40+ hours but it does make the experience almost bearable. And I did push to the end, didn't I?

In the end I have to admit that this is a niche game. And for that small niche of players who enjoy it, they won't just enjoy it, they will love it. Because sets out with a few objectives in mind and it checks those brilliantly. It just happens that most people I don't think are part of that niche, I know for sure that I'm not, so for those of us, this is a case of a game that looks amazing but we simply don't enjoy playing.

Positive points
  • Amazing graphics. The game in general and the cut scenes in particular look amazing. A lot of times it feels like you're watching a movie.
Negative points
  • Gameplay is challenging but not interesting. Cut scenes are incredibly long and tell a story that tries to be too smart for it's own good.

3.010

Total score