Menu

Why I’ve Pre-Ordered Death Stranding

The moment I saw Norman Reedus sprouting forth a mushroom with his urine, I knew I had to pre-order Death Stranding.

This wasn’t a decision I made lightly. Generally speaking, I don’t pre-order many games. The increasing ‘release it now, fix it later’ mentality of game developers has deterred me from purchasing any game unless I was absolutely certain of its quality. Nintendo titles like Zelda, Mario and Smash Brothers were the only games I pre-ordered recently because that good old ‘Nintendo Seal of Quality’ still means something to me. Considering this, it’s a real gamble for me to pre-order Hideo Kojima’s upcoming Death Stranding, a game about maintaining fading connections, male pregnancy and magic piss mushrooms.

 

Speculation Nation

 

At least, that might be what the game is all about. Although Death Stranding has over an hour of collective trailer and gameplay footage, no-one really knows what the hell is actually going on in this game – not even the premise is fully apparent. The best way I can summarize it: a sci-fi epic that combines elements of Inception with The Revenant. Even this could be inaccurate since it’s born from my personal speculations, but when it comes to Death Stranding, boy, it sure is fun to speculate!

Every new piece of media sends people into a frenzy as they scramble to uncover the mysteries of the story and validate the fan theories. Some believe the characters could be analogues for Egyptian Gods, others think the game could be the full release of Kojima’s ill-fated horror game P.T. No theory is too crazy and every new fragment of media offers one more piece to an ever-growing puzzle to try and understand what the game is all about.

Norman Reedus staring into a pit

Pre-ordering the game also comes with an invisible bonus: a set of earplugs and blinders to help block out internet spoilers. The floodgates for Twitter spoilers officially open up on November 8th and I for one will certainly be staying off social media until I’ve seen Death Stranding’s credits roll for myself. I’m keen to play the game and formulate my own thoughts before the Internet hive mind dictates my opinion; pre-ordering permits me this grace and it’ll be a genuine rush to know I’ll be among the first people to play the game.

 

Death Standing Around

 

Though the narrative has got people buzzing, several people think the gameplay looks dull based on the trailers. Most of the current gameplay footage shows shots of Norman Reedus slowly walking across barren, grassy plains with not an awful lot else going on, but I must confess, this slow pace is exactly what appeals to me. It feels like so many open world games recently want to bombard the player with information and checklists instead of giving players the freedom to inhabit the world on their own terms. Shadow of the Colossus used its open spaces expertly to create a sense of isolation and loneliness, now Death Stranding appears to be riffing on that concept. I want to fill my lungs with the air of this world, slowly sink my hands into its soil and lose myself in this fractured version of the USA.

While walking around the world doesn’t scream ‘high octane entertainment’, that doesn’t mean the game will be devoid of original gameplay. Trailers show off moments where we’ll be hiding from invisible monsters and apparently we’ll somehow head back to the trenches of WW1 to fight off ghostly soldiers. The most recent Gamescom trailer also showcased a mechanic where players will need to tenderly cradle their DualShock 4 controller to lull their incubated bridge baby to sleep. Inspired little touches like this are present in almost all of Kojima’s games, they succeed  every time in bringing players deeper into the world of the game and there will undoubtedly be even more surprising mechanics to uncover. It’s been too long since a game truly captured my imagination by bending the rules and I’m eager to see where Death Stranding will take me.

 

Norman Reedus lulling a baby to sleep

 

A Game By Mr Kojima

 

On another level, I’m legitimately excited to play a Hideo Kojima game that’s entirely his own baby (pun intended). Although Metal Gear Solid 4 and 5 weren’t great, there are well documented reasons as to why he wasn’t 100% to blame for those game’s shortcomings. Kojima had been locked into making Metal Gear games for nearly 30 years and Death Stranding has all the qualities of a passion project. I’ve got a lot of faith in the man at this point, he clearly doesn’t want to be the ‘Metal Gear Solid Guy’ anymore and the success of this game will affect not only his career, but it could galvanize his reputation as gaming’s first true auteur. Fact is, nobody makes games like Hideo Kojima. Love him or hate him, his work is always trying to innovate in some category.

Over the years, Kojima’s games have all used cutting edge technology, and Death Stranding is no exception. This is one seriously good looking game bolstered by a celebrity cast including Norman Reedus and Mads Milkkelsen. Death Stranding is looking to deliver a cinematic experience and I’m curious to see just how much performances from professional actors can draw me into the experience. My only fear is that it may lean a little heavy on the cut-scene side of things as a result of this. The last thing I want is another game with a feature length cut-scene in it (yes, I am looking at you MGS4).

mads mikkelsen looking at baby

This leads me to my final concern and biggest cause for hesitation for the game. In pre-ordering a modern game by Hideo Kojima I am signing up to an experience that could be rife with self-indulgence. I’ve since developed a tolerance for Kojima’s own brand of pretentiousness having played all the Metal Gear Solid games, but Death Stranding could be an excuse for Kojima to get drunk on his own sense of self-importance. My concerns for the game taking itself too seriously were washed away as soon as a character called ‘Die Hard Man’ appeared in a recent trailer. Paired with the aforementioned ‘Norman Reedus growing magic piss mushrooms’ mechanic, it’s clear that Kojima’s quirky, fourth-wall-breaking sense of humor is here to stay and that’s only a good thing.

 

The Magic in the Mystique

 

In a modern world full of trailers, leakers and streamers, it’s refreshing to get the opportunity to dive into a real enigma of a game. Pre-ordering has somehow tapped into that magical childhood feeling of your Dad coming home with a brand new game for you to play. Sure, Dad could bring home Bubsy 3D, but sometimes he’d bring home Chrono Trigger. Only fragments of Death Stranding’s gameplay and story are currently understood, but the mystique is all part of the adventure.

Norman Reedus pointing a gun to his temple

Pre-ordering Death Stranding is like ordering take-away from a brand new restaurant with no reviews on Google Maps. While I could spend my hard earned money on something warm and comfortable, when it comes to Hideo Kojima, you can bet your ass I’m gonna take a gamble on Death Stranding.

 

0 comments

1 Pings/Trackbacks for "Why I’ve Pre-Ordered Death Stranding"
  1. […] Kojima’s Death Stranding, one of the most anticipated games of the year, is set to launch on PS4 on Friday, November 8th. It […]

Leave a Reply

Newsletter

Mass Effect 2

92% of Mass Effect Players Chose Paragon

Mass Effect fans apparently error on the side of mercy… yep… this is the big story on Sick Critic for today. As a series, Mass Effect has shipped more than…

February 22, 2020, 62
Animal Crossing New Horizons Rain

Animal Crossing: New Horizons Lets You Customize ALL THE THINGS

Seeing as there’s only a month left until launch, there’s been a curious information drought for Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Thankfully, today’s Nintendo Direct landed just in time to answer…

February 20, 2020, 170
Image Taken from Yacht Club Games website. depicts date and time for their new presentation in white text over an orange background

Shovel Knight Developer Yacht Club Games to Host Live Presentation

The developer of Shovel Knight, Yacht Club Games, will be holding a presentation to show off its upcoming projects. This will mark the second time the developer has made announcements…

February 19, 2020, 130
7th Sector Review

7th Sector Review – The Seventh Circle

“This city is an empty glass. Words do nothing. No one sleeps.”   Y’know what puzzle games need? Visible spectacle! Forget fancy gimmicks and sharp writing, shove it all in…

February 19, 2020, 126
Kingdom Hearts on Xbox One

Kingdom Hearts HD Collections Now Available on Xbox One

Xbox One fans have been deprived of the pre-Kingdom Hearts III games for long enough. Kingdom Hearts is finally arriving on Xbox One in full force, with Kingdom Hearts HD…

February 18, 2020, 131
PlayStation Logo

Sony Reportedly Wrestling With Expensive PlayStation 5 Parts, Uncertain Retail Price

Sony’s silence on their next-generation system has tested the patience of gamers hungry for more information, and this new report from Bloomberg may contextualize the absence of PS5 updates. Due…

February 16, 2020, 229
Pokimane

Pokimane Donates $50,000 to UC Irvine for Esports Scholarship

Pokimane (Imane Anys), a well-known Twitch streamer and YouTube personality, donated $50,000 to University of California Irvine according to an announcement by the university this past Thursday, February 13, to…

February 15, 2020, 305
FF7 Remake Opening Cinematic

Final Fantasy VII Remake’s Opening Movie Will Give You Goosebumps

Despite a lengthy development time and a handful of delays, Final Fantasy VII Remake will finally land in the hands of eager gamers on April 10. With only two months…

February 14, 2020, 151
Stardew Valley 2

Two New Games in the Works from Stardew Valley Creator

Just last month, farming simulation sensation Stardew Valley hit a 10 million units sold milestone, today the game’s creator Eric Barone (Concerned Ape) shared a little tidbit about his future ambitions.…

February 12, 2020, 155
Image of Skellboy Title Menu. Has the text "Skellboy" over a grassy backdrop

Skellboy Review – Malnourished

Skellboy is an action-adventure game that sees you taking control of a freshly risen-from-the-grave skeleton who, of course, is tasked with saving a world in peril. Developed by small studio…

February 10, 2020, 246