One of the most fascinating bits about Death Stranding is the multiplayer aspect. While you won’t be seeing other Sams running around the USA with you, you’ll find the remnants of their travels, and vice versa. Ladders or ropes placed by other players in your “session” will be usable for you, as well as any structures they build like generators for your electric based tools, or shelters to hide out from the intense weather. Players interact with these by leaving likes at their choosing on whatever they may find from another player, in which these likes will slowly level up your Sam, increasing his speed and capacity. The level of companionship felt here is strangely touching, and I found myself leaving supplies or ladders behind in places that may help others where I may have needed it myself. Some giant projects like roads or bases require help from others to build, but make massive improvements on the landscape. Where only wasteland resided before, massive roads slowly take form, connecting each city together. While you will never see these players, there is some level of comfort knowing that deep down, they want to help you, and for some reason, you want to help them.
As for the story bits, it is unsurprisingly Kojima in nature. Dialogue is often cheesy and over-explanatory, but I found the characters rather unique and compelling nonetheless. The performances from actors such as Tommie Earl Jenkins as Die-Hardman, and Mads Mikkelsen as Cliff were surprisingly impressive. Without giving away plot significance, many of the scenes in the game’s final chapters were some of the best performances I’ve ever seen, and likely the best capturing of raw emotion ever portrayed in a video game. Kojima stories are well known for being somewhat nonsensical, and while you won’t leave the title with every question answered, I found myself completely satisfied with the conclusion after the title’s nearly 45 hour run-time.
Death Stranding is unlike any game you’ve ever played before, for all the good and bad that comes with that. I would be hard pressed to say that most players will enjoy this game, and I might even be stretching to say that half of players will survive the 35 hours of cut scenes and walking. However, if you’re someone like me, and what I’ve said here sounds like it hits the mark, this game is a must play. I urge every reader to give it a try at some point, even if not for years down the line, snagging from a bargain bin. This game is incredibly unique, and one of the most beautiful titles I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing. Some slight quality of life issues and pacing towards the middle are the cons holding be back from regarding this as a completely fulfilling experience.