Death Stranding Director's Cut
The Baby Delivery Service Is Back Open For Business
Back in August, we took a look at the Director's Cut for Ghost of Tsushima, adding content, 4K, and DualSense support. Among other improvements, Ghost offered players who missed out on last year's Sony darling a chance to play the game the way it was meant. When Death Stranding Director's Cut was announced during E3, a similar sentiment was brought to the table. This time, it would be arguably Sony's most anticipated game in recent history that would receive a next-gen upgrade. Once again, players were to enter the vast mind of Hideo Kojima.
The story of Kojima and what would eventually become Kojima Productions is one for the history books. A man who has given so much for a company he had decades of experience with, only to stab him in the back. Following the fallout between Kojima and Konami, for several reasons, Kojima Productions was born. In collaboration with Sony's funding of the Death Stranding project, Kojima teamed up with actor Norman Reedus to bring his vision to life. Coupled with other cameos featuring friends of Kojima, Death Stranding received praise from critics and players alike. As this will be my first time ever playing the title, I will focus on the game itself and how it plays on the PS5.
Death Stranding Is The Latest In Sony's "Director's Cut" Treatment
Alright, usually I talk about the plot of the games I cover during these First Takes but I won't even attempt with Death Stranding for several reasons. The game forces tons of exposition that the player is not expected to understand completely at first. The player controls Sam, portrayed by Norman Reedus, as a deliveryman for a ruined America. Considered to be one of the best, Sam is caught in a rainstorm and seeks shelter. The rainstorm isn't an average one, as invisible monsters sensitive to sound begin to lurk about.
It's here that some of Sam's traits, a quiet protagonist who hates to be touched. He also doesn't allow himself to get close to anyone, a trope scene from gameplay cues. When Sam is not talking to his allies or getting debriefed, he's transporting goods from one location to the next. Upon release, Death Stranding was considered a "walking simulation" which makes sense. However, there is more to the game than just deliveries and walking. Can't do a service if you're not adept at it, right?
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That is the absolute best description I can provide for the ebb and flow of Death Stranding. As Sam traverses through rough territory, players will need to monitor health and stamina levels. Described as "blood levels," the ailments can cause Sam to become injury prone. This may also affect his stamina bar as low stamina is affected by his actions. Running can cover the ground but without stabilizing your balance, the player will fall a lot. Each hand is represented by the shoulder buttons, with L2 being the left and R2 being the right.
Both buttons can be held to offer a tight grip and ensure proper balance. This comes at a greater amount of stamina being used when crossing raging rivers. Everything that players may take for granted including general movement is highlighted in Death Stranding. Simply going cross country is a journey in itself, while having to avoid BTs.
Death Is Only The Beginning
Early on it is revealed that Sam has the power to "revive" himself, cycling through the wonders of life and close-ups of babies in fetuses. As a joke I've always called Death Stranding "Norman Reedus and The Funky Fetus," but it's understated how the BBs are important. Perhaps it represents the birth of new life in a post-apocalyptic world? Even the environments are lush and full of life, with foliage and greenery standing out on the PS5's advanced hardware. The player models that were already amazing on the PS4 are almost photorealistic on the PS5.
Needless to say, Death Stranding Director's Cut is the best way to experience Kojima Production's inaugural title. While the bonus content appears much later than a first take will allow, the enhancements make the upgrade worth it. Those who already own the game can obtain the upgrade for $10 or the complete package at a discounted price. Whether this is the player's first time or return, Death Stranding is the "genre-defying" game that it always held itself to.
Death Stranding Director's Cut is available on the PS5.