Hero-of-Time

Death Stranding (PS4 Kojima)

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I finally moved on from episode 3! I had a nightmare with it when playing on it yesterday. The area near the farm and weather station are a nightmare to traverse. I was trying to do standard deliveries between the two areas but the terrain was too harsh and timefall was pelting in my face...I figured it was best to leave the area for now.

Spoiler

The story between the couple who thought each other were dead was very heartwarming, especially as they end up getting hitched.

Fragile....that poor woman. What Higgs forced her to do was terrible. :( "I'm Fragile but I'm not that fragile." Brilliant line. I demand vengeance on Higgs!!

What the hell was going on in episode 4?!

Spoiler

A Kojima Call of Duty game! I wasn't expecting that at all and it was a nice change of pace for the game. Seeing Mads rising out of the mud and controlling his army was haunting.

Say what you want about Kojima, the guy knows how to make a good cutscene. 

Edited by Hero-of-Time
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I've decided to not go for the Platinum. Even with the structures you can build to reduce the time from 150h to about 80h I simply can't do it these days. It's not the game's fault, though. I love Death Stranding. I just can't do the grind right now. ::shrug: And since I'll most likely buy Civilization VI tomorrow, finishing Death Stranding and then selling it will only help my finances :D 

@Hero-of-Time Keep me updated on what you think about that lovey-dovey couple :D (that is, if you read all emails you receive)

7 minutes ago, Hero-of-Time said:

What the hell was going on in episode 4?!

Pretty much my thoughts exactly. And it only gets weirder :p 

Still on episode 8 and I need to deliver a very dangerous package. And because I'm a moron I decided to run down a mountain. Didn't see a cliff coming up and needless to say...that very dangerous package literally blew up my progress :laughing: 

Anyway, the various (main) characters you meet are extraordinary. Their design is incredible, they are protrayed by great actors and it's just a joy to see them (usually :D). 

18 minutes ago, Hero-of-Time said:

Say what you want about Kojima, the guy knows how to make a good cutscene. 

Indeed. He apparently wants to make a movie in the near future. Can't wait. Unless, of course, it's a horror movie...

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Spoiler

 

It is over.

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Spoiler

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Death Stranding made a lasting impression on me. A game that changes my perception of what is possible with the medium. A game that breaks conventions, tries something new and creates an experience I've never had before with my favourite pasttime. 

Shuhei Yoshida once mentioned that Death Stranding will make you cry and it sure did. For me, however, not when it intented to. I got emotional during those scenes, yes, but there were two moments that define my emotional connection with the game. One that I already talked about and one that I won't explain, because it is quite a spoilery scene and because I need to think about it some more.
Anyway, so much for that.

As mentioned before: The game is a technical masterpiece on every level. The (art) design, graphics, audio...masterfully crafted and perfectly executed. What makes it even more special is the fact that it's tied to the gameplay. If you tried to judge setting/atmoshere/technology and gameplay separately, you'd do the game a disservice. They are bound together.

Now the story...it takes a while to get going but when it does. Oh boy, are you in for a ride. I won't spoil anything. I will only say that I've been glued to the monitor for almost 9 hours straight today while completing the final episodes.
Once all the pieces fall into place it's just magical.

Oh and something else that's magical: The actors' performances. They bring each character alive and it's evident that they were enjoying every single moment. My favourite has to be Troy Baker as Higgs

Death Stranding is a Kojima game through and through. Cutscenes may take an hour or longer and gameplay is, let's call it...special. The game's divisive, but I don't need to tell you that. There is a reason why it's polarizing, but in my opinion it's something you should experience yourself before writing it off, or before saying it's great. 

The connection aspect is awesome. You feel the world come alive more and more. The feeling of loneliness never really goes away, but there are moments where you feel, well, connected to other players. Walking down the same path as others, picking up their lost cargo, using structures built by others, helping others by building things yourself...it's wonderful.

Did I enjoy the game? I sure did.
Would I recommend it? Yes. Try it. Especially those who are "bored with AAA gaming". Rent it, borrow it, just give it a go. You may not like it, you might love it. Obviously, I'm mostly positive because I enjoyed the game. However, I do understand all the people who don't like it. 

In my opinion, Death Stranding is what video games needed: A big release that took a step away from the mainstream we've seen in the past decade(s). I sincerely hope other developers take inspiration. Try to make something unique. Try to create a new world and come up with new ways to interact with it. Yes, we still need our beloved series and they should never fade away. But we also need something like this.

 

Decided to put my thoughts into a spoiler tag, just in case. There aren't really any spoilers but maybe some people might want to go in without impressions.

Edited by drahkon
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1 hour ago, drahkon said:

Try to create a new world and come up with new ways to interact with it.

Great to see games like Breath of the Wild, and now Death Stranding do this. The industry needs new openworld experiences like these games, the Ubisoft model is a bit played out by this point, it's why I didn't think Spiderman was all that last year.

Edited by Ronnie

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I've not finished it yet but I needed to post my thoughts on episode 5 so far...

Spoiler

Mama's backstory is tragic. Her poor baby. :( 

Ziplines, baby! :D 

Delivering the bomb was a tense and fantastic experience that really shows what this game is all about.

I had a bike that I couldn't really use that well. Going too fast would blow up the bomb so I just took it slow. A Timefall broke out and I was worried this may corrode the bomb. Luckily some handy player had left an armored truck for me, so I quickly loaded my gear into it and moved on in that. This came in incredibly handy because it not only protected me from the Timefall but also a Mule camp up ahead. Next was a hill that was causing the truck some trouble. I didn't want to use my boosts in fear of setting off the bomb, so I decided to carry it the rest of the way on foot. It was here that the song Because We Have To kicked in and it made the rest of the journey an absolute joy. The song peaked just as I was reaching the peak of the hill, where I was greeted with a fantastic view of some snowy mountains, before traveling to the nearby base.

What a magical and breathtaking experience. :heart:

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@drahkon...the married couples letters. :( 

Spoiler

I've just cut the cord for her.  :cry:

 

Edited by Hero-of-Time
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I made some good progress on the game today and have started episode 8.

I spent a lot of time just building ziplines across various points of the map. This paid off big time when I had to cross an area full of BTs multiple times. No problem. I just zipped on by them from above. :D 

Getting to the spiritualist NPC was one hell of an adventure. Climbing up that mountain with the wind and snow blasting in Sam's face was very challenging. I tried using a vehicle for some of the journey but that didn't go very well. I just say made it because the containers I was carrying the goods in were completely shot.

Some of the characters I've met are full on Metal Gear standard. Each of them seems to have a weird, wacky and yet sad backstory, just like the bosses from the Metal Gear Solid games. Kojima hasn't lost his touch in create memorable characters, that's for certain.

 

Spoiler

I was gutted when Mama died and was very baffled as to why but then it all got explained. She had really been gone since the collapse of the hospital. :( I love it how her and her sister are now one and the same person. 

Im very happy that little BB now has a name but was sad to find Sam had named it after his unborn child. 

I had a good laugh at the Heartman scene. There he was lying dead, scrambling around the beach for 3 minutes looking for his deceased daughter and wife, and then Sam goes and tries to be a DJ on his record player. Heartman giving the thumbs up was also pretty funny.

Again, moments like these are totally Kojima's kind of style.

 

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So with Fallen Order finished, I was looking at picking either this or the new CoD up and after much deliberation, I ended up going for this as I'm happy enough to wait that little bit more to play CoD's campaign (not fussed for the multiplayer as I think I had had my fill of that style of multiplayer by the time Black Ops 3 turned up).

Managed to play through the opening and have just stopped after getting passed the mission that requires you to go to an incinerator for the first time with the packages. So far, it's not too bad. I think I get why people have fallen in love with the game with regards to just walking for location to location and soaking the world in as I was enjoying myself trying to find the best route so that I wasn't struggling across rough terrain and having that Low Roar soundtrack to compliment it really was the icing on the cake. I can't say whether I'll continue to enjoy it the longer it goes but the was a bit of serenity in doing something so simple in a game and enjoying it (which is very much appreciated by me given I've had a bit of a rough time with mental health recently).

That first section leaving the incinerator and having to make your way passed all the BTs was so tense. At first I didn't think I was supposed to walk while holding my breath and then I realised it was just stupidity on my part and set about slowly making my way through the area, trying to pick opportune moments to regain breath but nearly getting caught as I was too close to them. Was genuinely on the edge of my seat stuff trying to thread a needle but I managed it despite a few scares. A great example of stealth done really well.

Obviously, it's early days but I'm intrigued as to what's happening though I doubt it'll all make sense even by the end, if I get there. But initial impressions are positive and the look of the game is incredible. That Decima engine is phenomenal (though I will say both Sam and Fragile looked like silicon dolls in the opening prologue sections in the face at times. Bordering on uncanny valley) and if it's scaling well for next gen, we can expect some truly beautiful works of art from Guerrilla and presumably Kojima Productions and many of Sony's studios (I wouldn't be surprised if it's been passed around teams with the suggestion to use it if possible to streamline the development process across all of Sony's teams).

So yeah, consider me intrigued and interested in seeing more. To be honest, I'll happily just walk the environment listening to Low Roar and that'll suit me.

As a side note, I really hope Sont decide to put the PSU outside the console for the PS5 because the sound of the fan on the OG PS4 is ridiculous. One of the benefits of the Xbox One is having a quiet hum from the console and a quieter one from the PSU on the power cable, not this at time deafening drone from the PS4.

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@Hero-of-Time Play the game, tell me about your experience. :p I want to know what you think about certain plot developments.

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Haha. It always takes me a while to get back into the swing of things when I go back to work (was on holiday all last week). Yesterday evening I came home, went to the gym and then just plonked myself in front of the TV for the rest of the night as I couldn't be bothered to play anything. I should be back at it soon enough.

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23 minutes ago, Hero-of-Time said:

Haha. It always takes me a while to get back into the swing of things when I go back to work (was on holiday all last week). Yesterday evening I came home, went to the gym and then just plonked myself in front of the TV for the rest of the night as I couldn't be bothered to play anything. I should be back at it soon enough.

I don't want to hear excuses. :p 

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1 minute ago, drahkon said:

I don't want to hear excuses. :p 

I will strive to do better. :( 

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Spoiler

Higgs just took a shot at Lou! I demand revenge for this outrageous action! :nono:

 

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Spoiler

Higgs is down. That's what the SOB gets after taking pot shots at Lou.

The boss fight felt straight out of Metal Gear Solid. The running around and hiding, waiting for an opening before unleashing a melee combo, Higgs throwing the grenades and then the bare knuckles fist fight, all of it was something out of MGS. Brilliant stuff.

The Mario and Princess Peach line after the fight cracked me up! :D 

Also, Troy Baker reminds me very much of Bradley Cooper.

 

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22 hours ago, Hero-of-Time said:
  Episode 9 (Reveal hidden contents)

Higgs just took a shot at Lou! I demand revenge for this outrageous action! :nono:

 

I loved that moment :p 

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I haven't had much chance to play this but I got to the end of episode 2 and started episode 3 last night. I'm still enjoying it but I think I'm enjoying it more for the travelling and delivery aspect. Managing to squeak through an area of BTs on the way to Port Knot City while on the bike was terrifying and properly on the edge of your seat stuff. I'd looked at the map and planned out a route but when the BTs appeared, panic set in and with the odradek going mental, it was all starting to unravel and I beached the bike on an area of rocks. I hammered the accelerator on and off and kept doing sharp turns left and right and thankfully it came loose and I managed to get over the mountain. Phew. My reward was a slow ride down the mountain while Silent Poets played and that made for another great moment. The balance they've struck between those tense moments and the quiet that follows is masterful.

I wasn't so keen on the boss fight that rounded out episode 2 though. It felt a bit clunky and while I had no issue finishing the fight, it just didn't play out well I don't think. I'd have been really interested to see if there were any discussions along the way in development were had about having no combat whatsoever and not having bug fights like that. Bit saying they can't work (I presume there'll be better boss fights later that play out less clunky) but given what they've built up with the strands and connecting things and the tense/calm balance of delivering orders, I think it would have been even more of a bucking of the trend to have forgone combat completely.

As I say, I'm sure there'll be better boss fights later. The combat has been a small part of the bigger picture so far and I think that's what I've enjoyed about the game so far. Hopefully there'll be more moments like the one I mentioned at the start there punctuated with use of music. For that alone, it's easily one of the best games for creating a setting and making you feel in the moment of the year. So excited to experience more of that. I'm definitely enjoying it more than I thought I would given I've never played a MGS title or anything from Kojima so pleasantly surprised.

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Yeah, @Ganepark32 those moments you mentioned are truly special. I've not played any game that has done anything like it. Lovely stuff and very memorable.

It is over, @drahkon. It is done. :cry:

I'll post my full thoughts tomorrow when I'm sat at my laptop at work but what I will say here is that it is one of the most unique games I have ever played and probably the most interesting open world game I have played. :heart:

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I've spent a bit of time today just processing my thoughts on the game. 

Gamplay wise I think the game has a fantastic loop. The deliveries that you do are such a basic task but each of them come with some weight (quite literally) and responsibility. I always hated falling down and dropping someone else's goods and constantly tried to get to my destination without any bumps or knocks to the packages. You do get better rewards for doing your deliveries in a careful manner but I found it that it was just more that I didn't want to let people down. 

When delivering your goods you can just go straight to your destination and rely on others who have built up the area but if you do spend the time to build in your own world and help others out as well, you will be well rewarded, especially during the latter missions. For me, it just made sense to do this because the more built up your areas, the easier it is to make deliveries and in turn this gives you more tools to play with. There was a great clip someone post on Era the other week of someone doing some hilarious shenanigans with items that most people didn't even know where in the game purely because they didn't attempt to level up facilities and build up areas. It was a good example of just how free you are to play the game how you like.

In terms of combat, outside of certain encounters that forced you to get into a fight, I didn't really do much firing of my weapons and very rarely carried any weaponry with me. I spent a lot of my time just sneaking through areas or finding alternative routes so I didn't have to engage with the enemy. I was playing on the Hard difficulty due to a couple of trophies being tied to that, so it was in my best interest to avoid combat. The times where I did need to engage with the enemy I would usually try and find a vehicle so I could get in and out as quickly as possible or just flat out run the enemies over and pick up what I needed off their corpse. :D Again, show the variety of ways you can actually tackle the tasks at hand, just like MGSV.

While combat is a thing in the game, I often felt like the real enemy was the actual terrain of the world that the game is set in. Some of the conditions you have to travel through really test your skills and endurance. There were multiple times where I found Sam being pushed to his limits and I often had to rethink how I went about things, whether it was the gear I was carrying or the route I was taking. The enemy encounters were actually a pushover when compared to some of the journeys I had to make. There may have been hard but the satisfaction of getting over a rocky peak or traversing through a snow storm was immensely satisfying. 

As most of us have mentioned already, the moments that the game creates are something truly special. Having music kick in at key points during the course of your adventure made for very memorable scenes and moments, all of which will probably stick with me for a very long time. When I first started this game I spoke about how I would often just sit back and take everything in when the music started playing and this continued to be the case all the way through the game. Sure, there were a few points where it actually wasn't possible to do, mainly due to what was going on at the time, but for when I did have the opportunity to just look out at the horizon this was exactly what I done. 

Visually, the game is something else and that's with me just playing on a base PS4. It goes to show the strength of the Decima engine. Guerilla Games should be very proud of that creation and I imagine that it will certainly get some use in the next generation. I can see why Kojima chose to use it for this game. A lot of the times it honestly felt like I was watching a movie due to the quality of the animations and voice work. It's amazing just how good voice over work can really draw you into a game and how bad ones can completely kill the immersion. With Kojima choosing to use film actors and industry voice over veterans the game was in good hands.

Spoiler

What a wild ride. While there was a lot of stuff that was going over my head but the game did a good job of eventually explaining just what the hell was going on. Some of the twists and turns it took were quite shocking and the whole revelation of Sam being Cliff's kid was amazing and made complete sense in terms of the rules of the game. That connection he had was exactly why he was seeing the flashbacks and being pulled in his Beach. Brilliant stuff.

Being pulled into Cliff's Beach made for some good moments and the change of pacing to the more action oriented set pieces made for a nice change of pace.

The final scene between Cliff and Sam was heart breaking. Seeing him talk to his son and then being gunned down in front of him was hard to watch. :cry: 

I loved that the names of certain characters reflected their role in the game.

  • Cliff - an obstacle
  • Strand - trying to connect the world
  • Bridges - the bridge between two worlds and people

All of the characters that Kojima has created for the game were absolutely brilliant, with each of them having a fantastic backstory, most of them being pretty tragic. Out of all of them I think Cliff, Fragile and Heartman are my favourites, with Die-Hardman being the weakest, IMO.

I've finished the game but I wouldn't mind going for the platinum on it. I actually fired the game back up soon after finishing it and started to build up more structures to make my deliveries a lot smoother and allow me to level up the main buildings to their max level. There are 39 to do ( think i've done 5 so far ) so there is plenty of gameplay to be had. I've read that you will also get certain emails sent to you in post game that will further elaborate on certain characters and their motivations during the story. Pretty cool.

I will end by once again saying that this is one of the most unique games I have ever played. I'm 37 years old and have been playing games across multiple platforms for the best part of my life but i've never experienced a game quite like this. The game won't be to everyone's tastes, as seen by the reviews, but i'm happy to find that I did fall in love with the game. I honestly wasn't expecting this to be this case at all, given my usual dislike of empty open worlds, but Kojima has made something here that really resonated with me and I found myself enthralled with the world that he had created. It's great that he has been able to create something so weird and unique in a market that largely follows trends and cookie cutter formula. I suppose it's not that surprising when you think about it through. Kojima has always tried and pushed his games in different ways and he's done it again here. Also, I think Sony themselves deserve some credit for giving him the time and support he wanted for his project. Not many publishers, if any, would have given Kojima the freedom he has had when creating this game.

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Great review @Hero-of-Time, thanks.

I honestly can't wait to play this game, I think I'll love it too. A long wait until it drops on Steam though...

Edited by Nicktendo
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My time on this last night felt like it should've been an opening to an old episode of Top Gear.

"On tonight's show, a truck full of resources gets stuck. A rescue truck gets stuck. And a man falls over."

It went a bit pear shaped doing orders last night. Still on Episode 3 so in the area immediately around Lake Knot City but I've just managed to get blueprints to make bikes (thank god for that after everything else happened last night). I managed to steal a truck from the big Mule base at the foot of the mountain and so happily loaded it up with resources and went off trundling about doing orders. Unfortunately for me, I went off to collect an elegant pen from a Mule post box for someone and ended up getting my truck stuck on a rock in a river, both sets of wheels on either side of the rock. I then feel over trying to get to the river bank because the current was too strong.

I'd remembered seeing another truck back at the big Mule base so I ran off to deliver an order up the mountain and then back to said base, jumped in the truck and thought, "The rescue mission is on. I'll get all my stuff back." Well about 5 seconds after that, I tried going down a gully and beached the rescue truck :blank: there wasn't another one around and it was shortly after that the message popped saying that all the resources were now collectable for other players:cry:

I had to hot foot it back to Lake Knot City with my orders in tow only to be given the blueprints for bikes. Ended up going back to the location of the first truck and managed to get it unstuck. Sadly, no resources and there were so many of them. Yet I'm not annoyed. I found it immensely funny, especially after I beached the truck I was beelining to try and rescue my loot. A small insignificant moment that had nothing to do with the events of the game or world has ended up being one of the best moments in a game all year.

I imagine this is what many got from Breath of the Wild; that sense of the smaller moments and things you do along the way and how they might not seem like much in the grand scheme of things. While that game didn't do anything for me, this has definitely hit all the right notes and is giving me, as I say, what many clearly saw in that game. That feeling of not knowing what will happen when I next jump on is a big draw for me and because of these moments, it's quickly becoming one of my favourite games of the year.

I'm set to push the story forward a bit now but I can't wait to see where that goes and what I'll end up doing. Just hopefully I won't lose a truck full of resources this time :laughing:

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I've been continuing to play the game over the past couple of days, just setting up means and ways to get parcels delivered in a more safe and speedy fashion. I've cleared the first area completely, with me maxing the rank of all of the facilities around there. I think i'll just keep picking away at it between other games.

@drahkon Did you happen to find this on your travels...

Spoiler

Higgs's home? I came across it when I was looking to travel to places I had not discovered during the main adventure. The place looked like this...

tumblr_o16n2kBlpX1ta3qyvo1_1280.jpg

You get a memory file that in turn gives you his diary. Some of the entries are a dent read and give insight into his backstory.

 

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41 minutes ago, Hero-of-Time said:

Did you happen to find this on your travels...

Nope. I knew it was a thing, though, because there's a trophy for finding it. I did, however, look up some pictures of his place. You're image in the spoiler tag immediately sprung to mind :D 

42 minutes ago, Ganepark32 said:

I imagine this is what many got from Breath of the Wild; that sense of the smaller moments and things you do along the way and how they might not seem like much in the grand scheme of things.

This is exactly what I didn't get from BotW. All those little things in that game felt out of place because there was no "grand scheme of things". BotW was "full of" (a term that is weird, because the game was very empty) inconsequential moments. 
In Death Stranding, even losing one piece of cargo has some kind of impact. Not for you, but for others. They can pick it up and deliver it to get some thumbs up. It is very minor but not inconsequential.

Edited by drahkon
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