Death Stranding briefing trailer

Thoughts:

- *Sees character in wacky mask* Yup, it's a Kojima game.

- Reconnecting America while in shackles kinda sounds like a commentary on modern culture's less flattering social issues. Maybe Kojima in his own eccentric way aims to help solve them?!

- I'm hoping the walking sections broken up into more distinct regions with little filler territory. A country-wide map sounds cool but also very tiring.

- Less than two months from release and this title is till shrouded in much secrecy, especially when it comes to gameplay. I still need to see more of that to decide whether this is something I'd want to preorder or wait until it's a free PS Plus game.

I appreciate the fact we now know something about what the game is about and how it's played. Hopefully it works as well in execution as in concept.

I was hoping this game would be Kojima's Silent Hills without being in the Silent Hill universe.

Well, the briefing trailer did, however in poor quality, leak during Gamescom and was the subject of some articles. Honestly, I actually kinda warmed up to the game, now that I know, what its actual goal is. The gameplay presentation actually sealed the deal for me. It looks actually really neat. You know, after seeing the gameplay for MGS V before release I thought "That's nice and all but I really hope that's not the entire game" and then it turned out, that was basically the entire game. Having seen the gameplay demo of Death Stranding, yeah, I wouldn't mind it the whole game was like this. I really like the idea of a game where travelling is the core gameplay. I dunno, some of my favourite movies ever made are road movies and I really like stories like Lord of the Rings that are all about a big, epic journey and Death Stranding does looks like it's gonna deliver that. Those America-but-it-looks-like-Iceland environments are quite gorgeous and I hope the world is big and vast enough to make the game really feel like you're crossing a huge country. Basically, I'm pretty sold on it. I still have my doubts about things like online features (Am I gonna miss out on major mechanics if I decide to play it offline) and the more simulation inspired ideas, mainly I wonder if you're gonna have to do a lot of finicky inventory and equipment management before you actually get to play it. But otherwise... yeah, this looks fucking amazing.

I'd say it's gonna be at the very least the second best game about a courier in post apocalyptic America.

PsychedelicDiamond:
Well, the briefing trailer did, however in poor quality, leak during Gamescom and was the subject of some articles. Honestly, I actually kinda warmed up to the game, now that I know, what its actual goal is. The gameplay presentation actually sealed the deal for me. It looks actually really neat. You know, after seeing the gameplay for MGS V before release I thought "That's nice and all but I really hope that's not the entire game" and then it turned out, that was basically the entire game. Having seen the gameplay demo of Death Stranding, yeah, I wouldn't mind it the whole game was like this. I really like the idea of a game where travelling is the core gameplay. I dunno, some of my favourite movies ever made are road movies and I really like stories like Lord of the Rings that are all about a big, epic journey and Death Stranding does looks like it's gonna deliver that. Those America-but-it-looks-like-Iceland environments are quite gorgeous and I hope the world is big and vast enough to make the game really feel like you're crossing a huge country. Basically, I'm pretty sold on it. I still have my doubts about things like online features (Am I gonna miss out on major mechanics if I decide to play it offline) and the more simulation inspired ideas, mainly I wonder if you're gonna have to do a lot of finicky inventory and equipment management before you actually get to play it. But otherwise... yeah, this looks fucking amazing.

I'd say it's gonna be at the very least the second best game about a courier in post apocalyptic America.

The things that stood out to me most:

- Everything you carry or equip has physical presence and burden rate on your person, which affects your mobility to an appropriate degree (more specifically, right down to having to account for center of gravity as a gameplay dynamic for fuck's sake). No magic inventory bag or whatnot. Other games have done 1:1 item representation, but not to this strategic extent. Sure, RDR2 does an exceptional job of representing interactivity with game objects in painstaking detail, but there is still for instance the satchel that "absorbs" a lot more than something that size ever physically could. Although having said that, the crates that stack neatly onto Sam's back could also be cheating in contents; too early to tell. Also, using a hover-board to haul more stuff or ride on yourself sounds fun.

- Ingenuity seems to really compliment the above, along with beneficial incentives for exploration. This demo probably only scratches the surface of what's possible, but already it's beyond what we've seen in most games. That expandable ladder sure worked well to clear gaps for example, and then it's completely overshadowed after acquiring an exosuit. Kinda Zelda-esque in that its progression system seems to have a satisfying and exciting leapfrog effect.

- The incidental encounters seem to add a very organic fold to the action. I've read that they'll still be there offline, but understandably without as much dynamic flair. The possibilities of strandings seem endless, and could really make for some outstanding self authored type of gameplay stories.

- The game seems to offer a plethora of options no matter the gameplay dynamic. Whether combat, physical traversal or means of exploration. Being able to plot your own specific course based on topography sounds like it could turn what might've been an uninspiring chore in other open world games into a fun puzzle here. Using everything from standard melee, to binding projectile weaponry, to luggage, to human blood makes combat sound like it could be very unpredictable in a very effective, let alone entertaining way.

- The possibilities of other, more varied environments. He's gotta be holding a lot back yet, as the entire former U.S. territory can't be all lush green mountains, as beautiful as they are.

Yeah, the biggest downside to a preorder for me personally is realizing my backlog of other great games would yet again be put on hold for a considerable amount of time, and just when I thought I'd make a good dent in it.

It's Kojima's first game from his own studio so I will absolutely pre-order it just to see how this guy's games have evolved. It does look interesting. Gameplay wise I think it will be atleast decent considering the decades long experience Kojima has. I also don't have a problem with slow paced games(loved RDR2 as well) but these titles do require a narrative hook to keep you engaged and this is where I'm slightly worried. That last interview Kojima gave how he couldn't explain Death Stranding himself, the incoherent babble about the game and other oddities like Geoff Keiley as a holographic NPC almost make me feel like DS just like Kojima is at risk of becoming a parody of itself.

Kojima's best games were self-important and self-indulgent but this was always offset by a lyrical self-awareness and while this was already severely diminished in MGS5; Death Stranding seems to have totally left this element behind. It's no surprise I think considering how much Kojima is admired by fans and press alike and his excessive flirting with movie celebs that is all reciprocated with further admiration and Sony rolling out the red carpet with what seems like unconditional budget; it makes sense you start believing you're this glorified gaming 'auteur'.

That's why I wish Kojima take a few steps back and re-align with what makes his absurd imagination so memorable; the clash of eclectic oddbal tastes with eccentric dramatization and philosophical exploration. Death Stranding seems to only have the last part with even the eccentric parts that are still there maintaining a degree of self-seriousness that make them feel more decidedly ridiculous than self-aware. Unfortunately I don't think Kojima is this great 'auteur' or whatever while I do think his imagination and unique worldview pushes the boundaries of what is possible in enabling wildly contrasting tonal shifts with internal consistency. MGS2 is probably the best example of this and imo still the best game he ever made. To this day it remains the only post-modern videogame ever made.

But well, Death Stranding is without a doubt the game I'm looking forward to the most this fall. His games are always a treat in how they are so unique and unpredictable. But hopefully Kojima hasn't lost his marbles. :p

 

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