It’s been a little over 5 weeks since I started Death Stranding and what a journey to the end. I felt a true sense of accomplishment when the credits finally rolled after the Death Stranding Ending. 61hrs of gameplay, albeit many spent on optional deliveries and building delivery infrastructure.
Delivering Through Rain, Sleet and Snow
A game about deliveries still sounds crazy, but it is a ton of fun to the end. There were plenty of deliveries in the pouring rain while dodging the BTs that usually dwell in rainy spots. Those drops of timefall wore away at my cargo, rushing me to hurry past those poor dead souls.
Things were even more interesting after reaching the snow capped mountains. Trudging through the snow was an extra challenge between the stamina sucking cold, harder walking and timefall snowstorms. It was a bit easier when I earned an all-terrain exoskeleton (basically the snowshoes). Later, thermal pads helped me from freezing and offered some protection
The mountains were a fun new challenge, but I wasted no time setting up mountaintop networks of zip lines. I did not want to make some of the long treks again through knee deep snow, so it was fun just zipping from mountain to mountain with ease.
Epic Pizza Delivery
Probably one of the perfect examples of ridiculous sounding and perfectly fun gameplay was pizza deliveries. They must lay flat, so vehicles or carriers are a must. One particular pizza delivery required hand carrying a case of champagne. That meant no vehicles and no zip lines. Plus, the delivery point was almost on the opposite side of the map.
I told myself I wouldn’t waste my time on something so ridiculous, but I did it and enjoyed the journey. With vehicles and zip lines useless for the delivery, I knew it was all about the foot race. I equipped my speed skeleton and hooked up my cargo carrier, then off to the races.
I ran straight through a bandit camp as a shortcut, then slowly trudged through a deep river. Took some time to find a shallow enough crossing, then taking time to stop to regain stamina constantly in moving water.
Crossing this challenge while looking at the waterfall above is one of those memorable game moments. It will stick in my memory for years to come.
The whole ordeal was not helped by the short battery life of my exoskeleton. Lucky for me, I spent plenty of time extending roads and other porters built generators. Once I walked up the hill from the river, it was just a foot race on the road I built all the way to the spot near my delivery point.
I don’t remember the reward, but I do remember being happy with the trek. Perfect example of the journey being more important than the destination.
Death Stranding Great Characters to the End
Yeah the story stays weird with strange, skeletal masks and literal character names, but I liked it.
Deadman, played by Director Guillermo Del Toro, consists of parts from cadavers. He serves as the Bridge Baby expert, guiding the way through using the BB. Definitely odd and sorta creepy, but he grew on me like a fungus.
Heartman was born with a heart shaped like a cartoon heart and wore a defibrillator. It was odd to watch him die ever 27 minutes, then stay that way for a few minutes before his machine shocked him back to life. It was comical to see the enhancements in his apartment to facilitate this lifestyle.
His situation was odd, but his scenes helped further explain the science behind many of the strange story points. I love the Sci Fi explanations mixed with sprituality. It’s nice to see the method behind the madness.
Mama was a one of the greatest scientist in the UCA and helped build so many of the gadgets I used on my journey. She did have a very weird relationship with her kid that I won’t ruin, but it’s another of those weird Death Stranding twists.
Amelie was a constant in the game. The goal of connecting everyone was centered around finding her out west. Her special connection with Sam as his “sister” and the beach was strange, but finally explained in the Death Stranding ending. It was odd how she showed up everywhere, but great that whole wrinkle gets an explanation.
Clifford Unger (played by the great Mads Mikkelson) was another constant character throughout Death Stranding. His relationship with BB and the Bridges company took equal turns of hero and villain. Mads is definitely one of the greatest villains.
Die Hardman and his wild skeleton mask always appeared creepy and untrustworthy. I did not particularly like his character much until the game ending. His end game speeches were strong and performance was good. Revealing the face under his mask was a bit of a let down and almost like “that’s it?”.
Lou (aka BB) was the best character by far and that’s without saying a word (he is a baby after all). The cute animations were perfect. Rocking him back and forth, tapping on his pod, it was all magic. The whole baby thing was really weird in the beginner, but it’s such an integral part of the strong story.
Sam Porter Bridges
Sam is the player character, played by Norman Reedus. His performance, voice and motion capture, was great. It was interesting to watch the character (in cutscenes) go from complete loner to connecting everyone. The relationship between him and Lou is a great part of the story.
It was maybe a bit creepy how much Kojima Productions focused on the shower scenes with Norman Reedus. That aside, I can’t imagine another actor playing this character.
Death Stranding Ending is Long
The game was long (61 hours for me to complete) and the ending was long to match. After spending all that time in the game, it’s actually nice that the ending is so long. Nothing worse than a short game ending that doesn’t feel like much of a reward and that doesn’t resolve much. Death Stranding surely does not have that problem.
There are a lot of Death Stranding end game cutscenes, but it was more of a reward than a nuisance. It was interesting how the game designers built credits into the final two missions. They were a nice break from the back to back boss fights I endured. Those boss fights were not particularly hard, but definitely different from other games.
The gameplay and cutscenes at the end really tied up explanations for the game to me. It’s one of the better endings for recent games I’ve played. The story was weird, but it all came together by the end for me. I felt like the game was so good that I owed the developers to sit through all the final credits. I sat there reflecting on what I just finished.
Even after the credits, the game flashes back to 2 weeks prior. This rollback is a chance to complete any additional side deliveries missed. The ending was enough for me, but who knows, I might go back when the Director’s Cut content is out.
Death Stranding was a fantastic game all the way to its ending, possible a top 10 level game. The gameplay and story will stick with me for as long as I play games. It’s a must play game that I highly recommend to everyone. I look forward to whatever Kojima Productions does next. A sequel or remake of Snatchers would be nice (hint, hint Hideo Kojima)
Now I have time to finish up Wanderer VR.