Unless you’ve been completely offline for the last three years, you might know that Metal Gear and Zone of the Enders creator Hideo Kojima has a new game coming out very soon. Death Stranding has been one of the most talked-about video games for the last three years, and for good reason – nobody really knew what the hell is was going to be about. Now that the game is due out in just a week’s time, and reviews have just started to hit the web now that the review embargo is lifted, the question has shifted slightly so something else: Is the game actually any good?
If the reviews published so far are to be believed, the answer is…maybe?
Holy moly is this thing divisive. Check out a quick round up of some of the more prominent reviews below (and remember to click the links and actually read the reviews if you want to know more!)
PowerUp! Gaming: 3/10
“Death Stranding is clearly a labour of love for Kojima and his team but I hate it. Games don’t need to be fun, exciting, happy or cool but they should at least be entertaining. Death Stranding is not entertaining. As such, it fails as a video game, it fails as a narrative and it fails overall.”
Press Start Australia: 8/10
“Hideo Kojima has long been a visionary auteur, his feted career stands as proof. With no walls to contain him, he has given birth to Death Stranding. It’s an experience that will be remembered for a long time, from its early hype to the untethered lunacy of its narrative. It’s an art installation of a game that filled me with rage as often as it did joy. It is sweeping in both lustre and purpose, though it wears a few warts on the pleasant, bare bones of a game about deliveries that has no right to be as memorable as it somehow is.”
“The problem with Death Stranding is that Hideo Kojima has become wholly self-indulgent, making something I’m sure he considers a masterpiece. Death Stranding is anything but, with its head so far up its own ass it’s almost funny. It has four title cards in total, popping up as you play, and will roll two complete sets of credits before you’ve finished. It goes on and on and on, thinking — falsely — that you’re enthralled in what’s occuring. If this is the type of project that Kojima insists to make, I suggest he move from games to TV shows or feature films. Being weird for the sake of weirdness isn’t enough — while Kojima hopes to hit the same level of work as David Lynch or Sam Lake (if we want to keep it in the same industry) he falls very short. Even if Death Stranding’s narrative was good — and it’s not — a game needs to have actual gameplay. What you find within is abysmal; frustrating, tedious and beyond repair, it is to be avoided at all costs.”
“Death Stranding is a hard game to absorb. There are many intertwining threads to its plot, and silly names, corny moments, and heavy exposition belie an otherwise very simple message. That comes through much more clearly in the game’s more mundane moments, when you find a desperately-needed ladder left behind by another player or receive a letter from an NPC thanking you for your efforts. It’s positive without ignoring pain; in fact, it argues in both its story and its gameplay that adversity itself is what makes things worth doing and life worth living. It’s a game that requires patience, compassion, and love, and it’s also one we really need right now.”
“Many expect things of Hideo Kojima, but it takes a degree of self-confidence to deliver something else instead. He left Konami because he wasn’t allowed to take the time and spend the money to make the game he wanted, so it is depressing to see Death Stranding make so many mistakes that appear on some level to be dictated by what people expect.”
“Certain landmark games in recent years, like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Red Dead Redemption 2, have managed to successfully tread the line between the rigidity of realism and the exhilaration of pure escapism. But much like its stumbling protagonist, Death Stranding just can’t consistently get the balance right despite possessing equally lofty ambitions and countless inventive ideas. There is a fascinating, fleshed-out world of supernatural science fiction to enjoy across its sprawling and spectacular map, so it’s a real shame that it’s all been saddled on a gameplay backbone that struggles to adequately support its weight over the full course of the journey. It’s fitting that Kojima Productions’ latest is so preoccupied with social media inspired praise, because in some ways I did ‘Like’ Death Stranding. I just didn’t ever love it. ”
“Try as it might, Death Stranding’s story doesn’t shore up its faults. It’s the normal Kojima mix of twists-and-turns, tropes, and overbearing themes, but at least I like that it explores real-world topics like the theory of multiple dimensions and key events in the history of the planet’s biodiversity. Like Sam himself, I often wasn’t sure why I kept going in Death Stranding. Maybe there was a little bit of pride in another task checked off the list, another job done. Unfortunately, this added up to little reward in the end.”
“Be all that as it may, I cannot in good conscience recommend this game to all but the most rabid fans of Hideo Kojima’s work. And even then, I feel like this game may cause some of them to balk and question their devotion. It pains me to say it, but Konami may have been a necessary evil for him, a check and balance against his crazier, more self-indulgent impulses. I mean you’ve gotta love the guy for being one of the few Triple-A devs out there with creative courage to try new things, but such an experiment needs to be anchored to an enjoyable game that doesn’t make you repeatedly look at your watch and wonder when it’s going to get great. ”
“As the credits roll on Death Stranding, heavy with unearned pathos, the impression you’re left with is of a self-congratulatory monument to the ego of a creator who is high on his own supply. Has Kojima always been this full of it? Maybe. But then you return to the game proper, select a humble delivery order, lace up your boots and plan another reckoning with those unforgettable, haunted moors. And you realise that this game has got under your skin in a way few do.”
Polygon: No Score Given
“Death Stranding feels like two games in one, designed for seemingly opposite audiences. One is a wholly unique open-world adventure with asynchronous cooperative multiplayer that allows me to feel like I’m part of a community, building a world from scratch. And the other is a long, confusing, deeply strange movie. The former is pulling most of the weight, but they share equal screen time. And, like a steamer trunk full of sperm, it’s impossible to separate the good from the bad. It’s all in the same box.”
Will the reviews change your plans to buy/not buy Death Stranding? Personally I’m still going to pick up my Collector’s Edition. I can’t resist a beautiful train wreck or a divisive gem, and I really want that light-up BB Pod.