Gamer’s Review: Death Stranding: Director’s Cut

After “Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain” earned praise and made revenue worldwide, Hideo Kojima left Konami over a corporate dispute prompting him to revamp Kojima Productions as an independent video game studio. His first project’s titled, “Death Stranding” starring Norman Reedus. Released in 2019 (same year Mortal Kombat 11 came out) on PS4 and later a Director’s Cut on PS5 in 2021. It received positive reviews from critics and gamers alike. Plus, the game made enough revenue worldwide.

A sequel is in development with Norman Reedus reprising his role as Sam. Before the highly anticipated game comes out in future, I wanna share my thoughts on the Director’s Cut version.

This review contains no SPOILERS. For those who haven’t played Death Stranding, feel free to read my non-spoiler article.

Alive & Dead Qualities

Alive: Norman Reedus did an excellent job for his performance as Sam.

Other Cast Members such as Margaret Qualley, Léa Seydoux, Troy Baker, Mads Mikkelsen & Lindsay Wagner all did a fantastic job for their respective performances.

Notable filmmakers including Guillermo Del Toro, Nicholas Winding Refn, Jordan Vogt-Roberts & Edgar Wright have prominent roles as Sam’s contacts/mission givers.

Conan O’Brien also appears as a contact/mission giver. He visited Kojima Productions. Don’t forget he has a segment called, “Clueless Gamer” reviewing games.

Hideo Kojima did a fantastic job creating a unique intellectual property separate from the “Metar Gear” franchise.

Graphics are fully detailed creating an immersive world, character models, fluid animation, lighting, among other things.

Gameplay/Mechanics is presented as a third-person action-adventure sci-fi horror stealth game set in a post-apocalyptic open-world. You play as Sam. A courier tasked to deliver packages without damaging the goods. As you travel, various obstacles stand in your way. Especially, the environment, acid rain will dissolve a package, structures and your tools.

  • Your handy-dandy tools comes from a 3-D printer. Spending materials allow you to create what you need on your next mission. Choose wisely. You’re gonna need ‘em to traverse the wilderness.
  • Bridge Baby or BB lets you know if you’re close to ghost lookin’ creature known as a Beached Thing or BT. If you attract noise, they’ll get ya. Crouching and cover Sam’s mouth makes less sound. They can only sense a person by sound. Like the creatures from “A Quiet Place.”
  • BB has a meter. If you get hurt or get near a BT, he will cry. Make sure the little guy’s in stable condition.
  • Besides BTs, bandits will try to steal your package and eliminate you. I’d use stealth if I were you.
  • If you don’t own a PlayStation Plus account, you don’t have to pay a monthly fee. I wish every game allows you to play online without spending a dime.
  • You can take down human enemies with stealth takedowns or guns. If you kill an enemy, they’ll slowly become a BT unless you find the nearest place to cremate the body. I went with Batman’s “no killing” rule using rubber bullets, stun grenades and beating baddies unconscious.
  • As you complete orders, Sam levels up, obtains new equipment and stats make traveling a bit easier.
  • Depending on succeeding a mission, you’ll be given likes in a social system increasing your perks.
  • When you arrive at a base’s location for the first set time, your necklace will let contact be a part of an organization trying to rebuild America.
  • Entering a private room will retore your health, endurance and BB’s meter. After an intense mission, give Sam & BB a breather.

Director’s Cut adds a few additions.

  • New Weapons, Structures and Vehicles really come in handy.
  • Sam’s more agile in close combat.
  • Robots can take orders. You can have one to tag-along for the ride. Downside, they’re not programmed to defend themselves against enemies.
  • Target Practice to test out your wonderful toys.
  • You can play the game in Quality Mode or Performance Mode.
  • Replay your favorite Boss Battles.
  • Additional Missions and Mini-Games like race tracks and an underground facility.
  • More locations to explore.
  • Customize Sam’s backpack and BB’s container.
  • Exclusive crossover content from the “Half-Life” series & “Cyberpunk 2077.” Maybe, Death Stranding and the aforementioned games are possibly canon.

Icelandic band, Low Roar has a bunch of awesome songs. They just became one of my favorite bands in recent years. I’m giving each song an Extra Point for giving me chills every time I deliver a package before or after encountering danger. Thank you, Mr. Kojima, for introducing me to a badass band.

It took me 30 Hours to beat the Main Story. If you’re a completionist, additional hours will keep you occupied.

Character Development involving Sam. As the game progresses, he develops a soft spot for BB.

We learn about Sam’s past, BB’s flashbacks of a mysterious man tied to him and a few details of the game’s lore.

Photo Mode is included. It never gets old taking awesome snapshots.

The game’s filled with twist and turns that keep you on the edge of your seat.

Primary Themes are Loneliness, Connection, Survival & Resurrection. Each one’s handled carefully.

The game doesn’t feature microtransactions.

Dead: Mission Structure takes forever walking on foot to deliver a package. Main Missions and Side Missions are repetitive.

Pacing can be a drab when it comes to mission and cutscenes.

Unnecessary Product Placement with Sam drinking Monster Energy. I forgive Hideo for replacing the drink with a fictional brand in the Director’s Cut.

The Final Verdict: B, FOR BEAUTY!

Death Stranding is a unique game that manage to keep me invested. Hideo Kojima made a risky gamble and it paid off. If you’re a fan of Mr. Kojima’s work, I highly recommend the Director’s Cut. I cannot wait for Death Stranding 2.

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