Thoughts on Death Stranding (consider entire post spoilers)
Posted: Posted November 30th, 2019 by Cruinn-Annuin
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Probably have more things to say about it later, after I think about it more.

Fatherland, Work, Justice
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I thiiiink I like the game? I'm not so sure I think Kojima is a particularly good writer, and it seems pretty obvious that he really wants to make a movie.

There's a lot that I appreciate about the game. I like that players kinda leave stuff around so it gets easier for everyone to traverse the terrain (which feels intentionally poorly designed to be tedious and time consuming). I'm kinda into that more indirect "co-op." It's a bit more practical than notes being left in Dark Souls. I enjoy when games do that kind of thing, where everyone is sort of in this challenging or slog of a game, but other players via the internet make it tangibly more doable. And the thing I appreciate about the "Likes" is just the encouragement of positive feedback to other players. It's still silly and doesn't seem to add anything except maybe some stats for players. I dunno, I'm into utilizing some internet engagement for positivity of even small degrees. I haven't played enough to tell if there's any type of narrative reason for Likes though. It came up in a cutscene I just got, but...I really have no idea why.

I also appreciate that Kojima tried to make a game that wasn't fundamentally built around violence. Any other game like this, it would probably focus on some form of melee or gun combat. I get it; it's easy. And I like violent video games! But it's always interesting to see how developers try to make a game that isn't centered on it (that isn't an indie platformer or puzzle game). Does it work here? I'm...not sure. The walking is tedious (and there were times I tumbled and really have no idea why). The vehicles handle like drunk refrigerators. There's not really a cohesive design with the gameplay and terrain. (My first vehicle came amidst super rocky terrain that it couldn't get over. Like, why do that?) But I also do find it weirdly almost meditative, I guess? So...I thiiiink I enjoy it?

BTs are kinda whatever. I find that at times, it feels tense. Other times, it's really not difficult to avoid them. Like, they are designed to have so much space that you kinda have to try to run into them.

I've had a couple of void outs, but mostly from dumb mistakes or just not being exactly sure what I'm supposed to do. One thing I know they're supposed to fix in a patch that I will find super helpful is increasing the size of the font. I really just can*not* read the menus or tutorials. There was some text that was colored dark blue that I literally couldn't read. I even got up and moved closer to the screen and I could only read it from about a foot and a half. This would definitely help with my confusion on what to do or how to make stuff if I could actually read any of the instructions. Totally agree about the insane number of tutorials.

I'm not particularly invested in the narrative. It's sorta meh. I get it. Cryptic and weird. Fun! But I do think Kojima's strength is definitely in the imagery he conjures up. While I'm not finding the story or characters compelling, the visual storytelling is. It's strange to me that he cast all his friend actors and directors. I like the cast a lot! But only Mads Mikkelsen seems allowed to act. It's all subdued and monotone. Everything else is mostly just direction-dictating holograms. It's sort of pointless.

I do think I like it, but it's more "interesting" than "good" or "fun." Definitely a hard game to recommend to others.

Posted December 2nd, 2019 by Jet Presto
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I forgot that there's this weird point in the game where you deliver packages for Edgar Wright, but for whatever reason, they don't use Edgar Wright to voice the character that is clearly modeled after Edgar Wright. It's...very weird and a little off-putting.

On some level, I also appreciate that - however accidental or intentional - the game seems to be singing the value of a working infrastructure system! But, it's also glorifying the gig economy in a weird way. I don't know if I've ever played a video game that felt as much like having a job as Death Stranding.

Posted December 2nd, 2019 by Jet Presto
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