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.
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.
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 …