The first thing I have to admit is that I did not have the opportunity to play Death Stranding on PS4 and it was a thorn that I had nailed. I kept hearing and reading true wonders of Hideo Kojima's latest work and felt the need to see for myself if it was true if it was really that good, although I was very much put back on his main mechanics of traveling from one place to another. . I didn't understand why something that seemed so simple on paper could end up hooking so much to the point where the hours flew by without you noticing.
The rain will erase your steps
It may sound like a boring concept, but those of us who have been hiking or mountaineering have a passion for walking that is hard to explain. It's like, if you ask someone what it's like to do it, they can tell you things, but they will most likely come to the conclusion that you have to do it to understand it. The magic, the sensations, what it provokes in your mind at the level of thoughts and reflections, in addition to the views, is something completely ineffable. Therefore, if you have not played Death Stranding and have only seen videos, you do not get even close an idea of what its mechanics imply and what they make you feel while playing.
Physicality, the different animations for loading. Inertia
During its early stages, what catches the attention of Death Stranding are its controls and how it establishes a new code between player and game through rethinking the open world. When you pick up the backpack for the first time, the first response is rejection. This is not well designed, it is too exaggerated, one thinks.
You quickly put those convictions aside and begin to unravel the meaning of those pulsations and how Kojima throws us the first message of the game: we are too absorbed in ourselves and we do not pay attention to every step we take, each one of them is so important like breathing, which is also a mechanic in itself.
In the form of a joke, several videos have emerged parodying the controls and the feeling of load in Death Stranding with young people carrying a stack of boxes behind them and, in a kind of Streissand effect, they have shown how realistic the physicality of the title is.
Action or stealth in a world that is not without threats
The first thing to make clear is that Death Stranding is not an action game or at least it is not the predominant genre, because there will be more than a moment and sometimes it will be inevitable that it will occur. Of course, most of the times it will depend on the way of playing of each one, but we must not forget that Sam is not a superhero and therefore it will not be easy to stand up to the threats that try to upset our journey Hence, it will be up to each one to flee or face these situations.
Either way, Sam is immortal. No matter what ends up happening to us, we will always end up coming back to life if we die. Luckily it is not easy for this event to occur if we are careful, but if it were to happen, it is when we would understand why death has a peculiar role in the plot. More than anything because if we die we will leave a crater in the ground that will remain permanently on the stage, causing other players to see it and incidentally we cannot cross that place.
The greatest threat that we will have to face are EVs, sinister beings that will appear at any moment when it starts to rain. This environmental effect, called decline, is radioactive and capable of deteriorating our entire cargo if we remain exposed to it for too long. At the same time, it will serve as a signal to warn us that at any moment we may come across EVs, so that the only way to get rid of them will be by holding our breath (you can't even imagine the tension it causes), although we will also know from where they are thanks to the BB scanner, the baby that we will carry with us and about which we will learn more details over time.
The game that should have been Metal Gear Solid V
The "excursions" through this open world are structured in a very similar way to Metal Gear Solid 5 The Phantom Pain. Before facing each of the assignments - part of the story and also secondary missions to earn "likes" and level up- we have to prepare in a break room. This is our "mother base" and allows us to customize weapons and equipment, shower, activate fast travel between different BRIDGES stations or play with our baby. At the BRIDGES bases, we accept orders, and we talk to the rest of our team.
The weight distribution is also reminiscent of team selection from his previous game, but now takes on more importance. It is not only about choosing what we are going to take, but where we place it so that it hinders us as little as possible. Cargo, tools and consumables can be carried on the back, or anchored to different parts of the suit and the weight we can carry is limited. At first we may feel lost with baggage management, but we can assign it automatically.
Afterwards, we carry out the missions in an open world. And, as it could not be missing in a Hideo Kojima game, at the end of the installments we witness plot sequences, in which this ambitious story is poured. The truth is that if we do the Death Stranding autopsy, the resemblance between the two games is quite evident. But in this case, Kojima has kept control of his production and they have let him finish it. And it shows: it is a more finished and "round" game than Phantom Pain.
What I think of the game after playing
Graphically it is superb, with an open world that we will always want to go from top to bottom with a gameplay that is difficult to match, because this is a scenario that has been carefully designed and in which nothing has been left to the random. It is different from anything else you have played and it is precisely for that, for its originality and for how surprising it is constantly, that we will always be enjoying a sublime journey in each of the orders.
Hideo Kojima has managed to develop a video game with an amazing story, a splendid and original gameplay, a post-apocalyptic world that has left us speechless and a cast of ten actors, although for certain specific details it does not reach ten, which does not mean that be an epic work of those that for many years that pass it will be very difficult to forget and overcome. A work that deserves that you give it a chance because I never imagined that reconnecting a country would be so satisfying and rewarding.