This game can be complicated to explain to people, but I’ll try my best. It would be impossible to say I don’t have mixed feeling about it, due to super divisive gameplay. As a whole though, I think I enjoy it more than I loathe it and despite the numerous flaws, I still come back.
The best way to describe this game to someone is “oddly satisfying”. Planning routes through rough terrain, hauling massive amounts of cargo and fighting mules that try to steal it are highlights for me personally, and are what I found to be the most enjoyable. I wish there was more of it. The tedium is unavoidable though. Once the novelty wears off and you start to go through an area time after time hearing the same lines from the prepper’s it gets super repetitive. Once you get a feel for how the BT’s work, it just becomes a roadblock to slow you down. Also the boss fights are extremely easy, but they are
the best the most efficient way to clear an area out of BT’s.
In order to fight this, there are tools and upgrades given to you as you progress through the story. They do things like increase your carrying capacity or give you a speed boost and other cool things. These are welcome, but not enough of an incentive for some to continue. They merely allow you to do the same thing, just faster and perhaps easier.
Giving the player increasingly convenient tools for traversing terrain is something that makes sense, and I’m glad they exist, but all of them come with their own quirks and pitfalls. Setting up a road and using ziplines makes the game feel lifeless for me. It’s like commuting to work everyday in a video game, it just feels bland. Also when you go through an area with BT’s in a vehicle, everything still slows down for the 5 second cutscene. When this happens, it just feels like you hit some traffic on the highway. Vehicles and ziplines are examples of how this can sometimes hurt the gameplay. When you use them you miss out on one of the best parts of this game in my opinion, which is the world and the terrain. In short, they let you skip the game. They let you skip all the hiking, planning, and potential suffering that I find rewarding, although other players may not. Also, almost everything you do besides picking up lost cargo has a cutscene. Some are cool the first time, but they get really annoying by the end. Thankfully, most are skippable, and skip you must.
I think it really comes down to this if you don’t like the walking mechanics, you will have a rough time enjoying this game period. It does not get better. This is intentionally a very slow paced game even with vehicles and ziplines and all the other tools provided.
Death Stranding is a beautiful game and does its best to immerse you in the world, and I have a lot of respect for that. I won’t go into detail about the story, but it is decent and what you would expect from Kojima. Not quite MGS, but good enough.
Overall this is a game where you can relax and become absorbed in the universe. I tend to like those kind of games, even if the gameplay is too repetitive or boring for most. Seeing other people’s structures online is a cool touch and something that works surprisingly well. I also have yet to come across any major bugs, and the game seems very stable on a regular slim PS4. The soundtrack is great, the graphics are awesome, the sound design is excellent and so are the characters.
I wouldn’t say it’s a perfect game, but I enjoyed it. 7/10 stars.