After finishing Death Stranding’s story I set out to make an article of what my experience was with the game. But, I didn’t want to create a review; I wanted to simply talk about what I had felt while playing Death Stranding. It is truly unique, I can genuinely say that I have never played anything quite like it. With that said, Death Stranding is not a game for everyone, and that is okay! Kojima Productions and Hideo Kojima himself clearly wanted to create a brand-new experience, even going so far as to name a genre after it, calling Death Stranding a “strand game”. I surmise that the studio succeeded at creating that unique experience.
New perspectives — the beauty of traversing Death Strandings world
For those who are perhaps unfamiliar with Death Stranding’s core gameplay loop, you take on the role of Sam “Porter” Bridges, tasked with reconnecting America and bringing people onto a national network called the ‘Chiral Network’. For most of the game, you will be quite simply delivering cargo from one place to another with a vast array of equipment; avoiding BT’s and Timefall caused by the phenomenon known as the Death Stranding.
Every moment that I spent trekking across the world I thoroughly enjoyed; there is a simplicity and regularity to the loop. The real reward for me is reaching certain spots along the journey where you honestly have to stop and take in the scenery of the world. In other games, people may accelerate past vistas of the game which are breathtaking but in Death Stranding (most of the time), there is no rush, no urgency and in turn, it lets us appreciate this beauty.
Death Stranding excels at making us slow-down, and just experience life. In our sometimes chaotic and busy lives, we do not have a chance to do that; so when we are given that chance, we feast on it. In our modern society, it may appear that people feed off of any attention but that has been the case for generations. So, we keep trying to be noticed, keep trying to feel like we matter in some small way. It is this cycle that Death Stranding interrupts, in that world; we feel noticed, and we feel like we belong.
Making a difference by helping others
Not only did the scenery make me feel like my time was well-spent playing the roughly fifty-hour story but also the feeling that I was genuinely helping the inhabitants of Death Stranding’s world in some small way. Players can choose to read “mail” and “interviews” which expands upon the people and history of the world. The writers of Death Stranding makes references to all facets of real-life within these; scientific discoveries are talked about, issues of our time, writers such as Franz Kafka are mentioned and much more. The people of the world share their struggles with Sam, and how the player was ultimately able to help them. It gives us a sense of accomplishment after the countless hours of walking.
When talking about helping others, I don’t just mean the NPC’s of the land, alternatively, people can help other players too. In Death Stranding, you can choose to lay down paths for others to use. You can choose to build roads, build structures such as bridges, shelters, postboxes and so much more for others to benefit from. Death Stranding succeeds at making us feel connected; at bringing us closer together.
Along my journey, I always built structures where I thought they would help another. I had no thought of how it would help me, I just wanted to be kind to another, to allow them to continue striding onwards to their destination. In the same way, I frequently benefited from another player. This altruistic nature exhibited, happened once again, and again, and again. That is the beauty of Death Stranding.
The “strand” mentioned in the title of the game is monumental to our understanding of the point of Death Stranding. You see, the strands are those which bind us, connect one strand with another, and you bring more strands closer together until they intertwine. In Death Stranding’s world, all of these strands are amalgamated into one singularity, and when all of those are together, you create a world which is held together by every strand, not just one strand, but every player’s own strand. Death Stranding, I believe is built on the value of kindness, and in turn; creates a world which will most likely thrive for years to come.
Thank you very much for reading and as always, have a brilliant day!