In some ways, Death Stranding is similar to every other post-apocalyptic game out there. After all, what do you do when the world ends? You go it alone and survive, form a gang of baddies and prey on the weak, or try to establish some semblance of a united society again. The universe this game lives in certainly has all those things. However, the theme here isn’t all about killing the villains and saving the world; it’s about making connections. How much the people you interact with like and respect you, what they think of the choices you make matters. Norman Reedus plays the loner who doesn’t want to save the world. We didn’t add this to the list, but getting to BE Norman Reedus for a short while is definitely one of the cool things you get to do in this game. Here we’ve curated a list of five great things you can do in this game.
1. Take a Swim
Plenty of games have water that the characters can interact with. Sometimes it straight-up kills you, other times you can swim perfectly. That’s about the extent of game characters and water until Death Stranding. Since a river isn’t a single depth or current, this game considers some practical things we don’t ever see. For example, you can lose gear if you lose your footing. Plus, if you’re smart, you can go fish it out of the river or grab it from the shore downstream. Instead of seeing everything disappear into some mysterious digital void of nonexistence, the game deals with a more realistic scenario. When you’re playing as Sam, the reluctant protagonist, you can scan the water and check things like it’s depth. Indicators will tell you if it has zero effect on your motion, penalties or it may sweep you away. Watch your step, or you may spend more time than you’d like paddling for shore, heading downstream to get your gear and backtracking to start over where you were before. The practical and reality like elements are second to none, and when combined with the stellar graphics, it’s easy to get totally immersed in the Death Stranding world.
2. Fight Your Way Back to Life
We’ve all done it. You die in a video game, and the death screen comes up, “Game Over.” That’s not how things happen in Death Stranding. Instead of just dying and starting over from a checkpoint, or the beginning in some particularly tricky games. (We’re looking at you Fire Emblem and XCOM!) Don’t worry; this isn’t a rage-quit after fifty hours because you lost it all situation. Instead, when you die in Death Stranding, you end up in a strange backward and upside-down underwater realm. From the afterlife, you’ll have to find a way to battle back to the land of the living to continue your mission. You’re warned from the very beginning that killing and dying have consequences. It’s rare to see any game that suggests you don’t kill the enemy, but DS feels you should know that you’ll have to face the consequences if you kill in the game. Likewise, death will result in some strange experiences. We enjoyed this unique aspect of gameplay. More games should think outside the box and make players work for every breath rather than spoon-feeding us immortality with a side of minor inconvenience.
3. Reality-Based Carrying System
Most games seem to treat gear like a magical item. You don’t see it, or worry about how and why your PC can pack nine million pounds of ammo, food and other sundries. Typically when you pick something up, it just disappears into a magical land where video game fairies wait to hand you what you need in an instant. Not so in DS. There are no magic bags of holding here. When you choose your gear and start your game, you’ll have to consider things carefully. You have plenty of options on how to carry your equipment, just like you would in life. Whether you tote things around in molle bags strapped to your appendages and belt or sling them over your shoulder, it matters. Make wise choices and think hard about how to take what you need for your journey, or you might end up without some essential item when you need it most. Moreover, when “Sam” is off-balance, you have to stabilize him with your buttons constantly.
4. Very Easy Mode
Perhaps you’re a massive fan of Mads Mikkelsen, Norman Reedus or Léa Seydoux but you don’t regularly play video games. Watching over a better player’s shoulder can be a bit tedious at times. Hence, Death Stranding has taken a different approach to the ever-present problem of fans who aren’t outstanding players. In most video games, you usually find a “Normal” mode and a harder mode (Nightmare/Hell Modes). Most even have a relaxed setting these days. However, that leaves plenty of not-so-savvy players frustrated and frequently mortally challenged. For players who would rather semi-participate in a more movie-like experience, DS has added an unheard of “Very Easy Mode.” The idea is that anyone should be able to pay regardless of skill level or devotion to game playing. Naturally, the rest of the players will find higher difficulty settings. On the other hand, allowing almost literally anyone to complete the game opens up the field to draw in a new audience of people who want to participate, but usually can’t.
5. Asynchronous Multiplayer
MMORPGs have been an enormous source of human online interaction for years. In DS, you can interact with other players, but not in a typical way. You won’t be doing missions with your clan or going PvP head to head. However, you can help and interact with other players in this open-world in a different way. Help each other with supplies and tips if you want to make it and put America back together again.
Hideo Kojima is brilliant and knows how to make great games. What set’s him apart is dedication. Game creators are rarely willing to split off to form a company just because they love a concept so much they won’t let it go. In this case, it paid off. We love everything about Death Stranding and can’t wait to get some serious screen time playing it. Kojima thought out so many problems that other games just skim right past. What are you looking forward to most about playing Death Stranding? Let us know in the comments.