“Death Stranding”: A beautiful mess

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“Death Stranding”: A beautiful mess

Courtesy of Kojima Productions

Courtesy of Kojima Productions

Courtesy of Kojima Productions

Story by Will Hanson, Arts and Entertainment Editor

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“Death Stranding” is a video game developed by Hideo Kojima and the first game released by the newly formed Kojima Productions.

“Death Stranding” came to be after Kojima’s long-anticipated project “Silent Hills” was canceled by Konami Studios. “Death Stranding” seems to have evolved from the mood and concept of the never released “Silent Hills.”

On IMDB, the official synopsis of the game reads, “Sam Porter must travel across a ravaged wasteland and save humanity from impending annihilation after mysterious explosions set off a series of supernatural events and otherworldly creatures begin to plague the landscape.”

A star studded cast plays major roles in the game including, Norman Reedus, Mads Mikkelsen, Léa Seydoux and Margaret Qualley. The game even features Oscar-winning director Guillermo Del Toro as the character model for Deadman.

This is a unique, strange and unexpected video game. While anticipating the long-waited release, I was intrigued and excited but knew very little of the actual story. The trailers and gameplay all posted prior to the release showed beautiful visuals, great motion-capture effects and music. The trailers showed audiences close to five percent of the narrative, and barely skimmed the top of the complicated story.

Having now played close to a little over 20 hours of the game, I can say that I have yet to fully understand any large chunk of the story. The graphics present in the game are absolutely gorgeous. The huge, desolate lands are a technical marvel and are quite the sight to behold.

While the story is lacking in terms of cohesion and sense, the fantastic visuals, motion capture effects and voice acting distracted me from all the flaws.

Kojima presents a game with a genre that I cannot define, “Death Stranding” is a horror, action, adventure and quest game all at the same time.

It serves as a somewhat glorified delivery game, large portions of the gameplay consist of taking Sam across vast areas of the apocalyptic United States. A main goal and function of the game is to travel from city to city constantly balancing and delivering packages. The delivery of packages is a means of being able to craft new items and to progress further into the story, or character progression.

The game takes itself very seriously and has some fantastic and memorable moments, but some small details really distracted me from the game at several points. Some of these things are drinking Monster Energy drinks in order to regain stamina, being able to urinate and including posters that feature the name and likeness of Reedus.

These details, while slightly humorous, I found stupid. They did nothing to improve the game and just felt like a dumb joke that took away from all seriousness the game was trying to present alongside a ridiculous story.

While the game has a somewhat ridiculous and un-explained story, the tone, ideas, gameplay, voice acting and visuals save “Death Stranding” from becoming unplayable.