On reflection, I never fully reviewed the original Death Stranding.
I had the cool “I am reviewing it” announcement. I had impressions. And I even gave it Game Of The Year. But a review? I don’t know if all of those came together to even resemble something looking like a review. Or maybe they did? I suspect it never came to life thanks to being blown away by the astounding Girlfriend Reviews piece at the time.
Quotes like “Kojima doesn’t want you to suffer, he wants you to reduce the suffering of others” and “It’s a revelation that the weight you carry is not yours alone. Everyone is walking the same difficult paths and everyone feels over-encumbered” capturing the essence of the “silly mailman”/”walking simulator” game. Which may be the best place to pick up with the Director’s Cut release.
“You are not alone.” But in every sense you are alone in the game. Your only companion being that of a small baby in a pod attached to your chest. This a necessitation of the fractured lands of America you roam. With a BB-Unit, you have the ability to perceive ‘Beached Things’ (BTs). Ghostly beings of tar and ash, BTs threaten you with a good time should they catch you. And if they catch you, they’ll drag you across an ocean of black hoping to introduce you to something much more terrifying.
“Are the BT’s, or the destruction of them, the end goal?”. Hilariously no. They’re just the things that get in your way. Along with rain, which has been rebranded to ‘Timefall’, and environmental obstacles along your path, it’s the world which is out to stop you. But stopping you from what exactly?
Connecting the fractured land.
Connection is key to existing in this new world. Thanks to the inception of the BTs, they bring with them a technology which only grows stronger with each connection it gathers. And with this technology comes ways to connect. Yes you are alone, but holograms of people underground will appear as you continue on your journey. Echoes of other players will call to you if you call for them. You can build stuff out of…something! And each way you help yourself, will help others.
Which is why I spent my time in the Director’s Cut building roads!
If you haven’t played Death Stranding, it’s probably still a quirky looking title to you. But for those of you who have, Director’s Cut allows you to do more quirky things with a few more missions for good measure. And because Kojima loves a VR Mission, those are here too! For me, Director’s Cut was the dessert to a meal I already loved. The biggest improvement coming from faster load times and visuals. An already gorgeous game cranked up, with a world ready to be explored just as quickly, was the crème brûlée for me. Yes, new construction items and weapons are all good and well, but like I said: Main meal < Dessert.
I don’t know how you convince people to play a game which is parts horror, sci-fi and walking simulator. But I understand if even people are convinced, they still might not enjoy it. But I do. Which is how I almost put another 40 hours on top of the previous 70 I had from my original play-through. While it was built on the continuation of rebuilding America, it also tasted like the conclusion of a feast. While I’d love more from this universe, I can see how Kojima could move on to something else. But for now, I have a few more roads to build, and some new ways to connect people.
And one final pizza to deliver.
Death Stranding: Director's Cut is the refined version of a good meal. The pace and world may not be for everyone, but this road-building reviewer lived for the chance to revisit the land of beached things. Better load times and visuals allow you to sink into the story of "Norman Reedus and a fetus" even faster, while you prepare yourself to throw $hit and pi$$ grenades once again.
I love this dumb game.
XENOJAY.COM was supplied with a digital copy for review by Sony, and this was played on the Playstation 5 console.