'Death Stranding' PC version impression

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Understanding Death Stranding requires understanding the game’s director, Hideo Kojima. Kojima is a video game director unashamed to show his love for the filmmaking industry and reflects this in his creations. His tweets and retweets are full of the movies he saw, directors and actors he met or is following. In fact, his Twitter bio reads: “70% of my body is made of movies”. As such, it doesn’t come as a surprise to learn that he actually wanted to become a movie director but since it was hard to breakout in this competitive industry, he pivoted to the then-infantile, yet promising, gaming industry.

Thus he brought his trademark contribution to video games, that of merging cinematic approaches with video games. This is most notable in his signature Metal Gear Solid series which blended expansive storylines, professional voice acting, cinematic shots with novel gaming mechanics (stealth in this case).

So with Death Stranding, which features a star-studded cast with actors like Norman Reedus, Léa Seydoux and Mads Mikkelsen (to name a few), Hideo Kojima might have gotten closer than ever to blurring the lines between a movie and video game director when it comes to describing himself. Of course, a cast does not make a movie (or a game, in this case), but in Death Stranding, their acting expertise shows, even for a game that is categorically as weird as Death Stranding.

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This feeling of weirdness around the game was more pronounced upon its release in November 2019. Back then, my colleague described its world as “alien” in his review. Indeed, for a game that puts you in charge of a delivery man with divisive controls for hours-long of trekking without any human contact (save for some holograms), it’s not hard to see why it’s not relatable. But oftentimes, Kojima and his creations age better with time. Indeed, understanding Kojima (and his games) isn’t always something easy but it’s safe to say he often comes up with quasi-prophetic creations, even if unintentional. Metal Gear Solid 2 dealt with misinformation and memes at a time these weren’t as widespread as they are daily occurrences today. Death Stranding, however, couldn’t have had a more timely release on PC.

Indeed, in an ongoing pandemic where most are avoiding human contact, Death Stranding puts you in the shoes of Sam Porter Bridges, a delivery man in a physically and politically divided world. It should not comes as a surprise that Kojima draws parallels to the current political climate if you are familiar with his earlier works. He even explicitly said that Death Stranding is a reaction to Trump's Wall and Brexit. But understanding why a postman who gets disinfected upon reaching his delivery destination and does not even make physical contact with the receiver might have been unrelatable to most weren’t it for the current public health crisis.

If Death Stranding felt odd when it initially released on the PS4 in November, one cannot help but relate to it now. At a time where we're compelled to stay indoors, minimize physical contact, disinfect every surfaces and increasingly rely on deliveries, Death Stranding allows you to be on the other side; to explore vast, rocky plains; to enjoy the great outdoors rather than the cramped indoors; and be the light of hope for those who are in home confinement.

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I won’t dismiss the issues my colleague highlighted in his review (even if I would probably give a higher score than the reviewer did, but then again I am not the biggest supporter of scored reviews). Whether you play it on PC or PS4, Death Stranding still is a slow burn with hours of walking and managing your inventory. You are relegated to using Sam’s poor feet for the first 5 hours until you get your first vehicle. And you’ll have to get used to backtracking (mostly by foot) for the first 10 hours or so because you cannot fast travel prior to Episode 3.

Nevertheless, for the most part, I felt an odd sense of serenity while playing Death Stranding; a feeling that I didn’t quite experience before in a game. Sure, there are the occasional BTs and MULEs to fight or sneak past (vestigial mechanics of Metal Gear Solid no less) but for a considerable chunk, I’m on solo hikes. Maybe it’s the fact that I have to limit my outdoors time and I miss hiking, activities that Death Stranding lets me indulge in aplenty. Even completing the missions which are mostly glorified fetch-quests gave a warm, fuzzy feeling when witnessing the joy of recipients who see me as a light of hope in these grim times.

Moreover, the “strand genre” that Kojima claims to have pioneered with this title also adds to the game’s originality. While you travel solo, other players do too and you can help each other without ever seeing each other. You can leave supporting messages, warning signs and even helpful structures from bridges to power generators to help fellow players progress. This online aspect has not been given its due credit but it stands out as it expresses the need for help and unification that is one of the game’s central messages.

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It didn’t hurt that the PC version came with additional features, arguably making it the go-to version to play. Indeed, with compatible GPUs, near-absurd levels of technical prowess are possible. With the GeForce RTX GPU-enabled DLSS 2.0, gamers can experience 100+ FPS at 1440p or a 60+ FPS at 4K. There’s also support for ultra-wide displays and PC-exclusive Half-Life and Portal cross-over content.


Even on my 1070 GTX, Death Stranding is one of the prettiest games I’ve played this year. The vast expanse of rocky mountains, flowing streams, futuristic vehicles and a grunting Norman Reedus are all rendered with near photo realistic detail. In a game where I’m most of the time walking across immense terrains and need to keep track of the protagonists’ stamina, pausing to rest in these beautifully rendered nature-filled environments adds to the serene feeling that characterizes Death Stranding for me.

One of the best additions (also available on the PS4 version), is the photo mode. You can pose Sam and his BB, and edit to your liking with filters and frames. It’s really a nice-to-have that I wish every game should come with (Panzer Dragoon Remake for instance, even if it didn’t make a good impression, the photo mode was one of its highlights).

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However, Death Standing really, really takes its sweet time to develop its plot in a satisfactory way, often testing the gamer’s patience. Honestly, at least 20 hours of Death Stranding could have been shaved off from its runtime. Kojima and co. is really overestimating gamers’ patience here as many memorable contemporary games can be completed within 10-15 hours and don’t need to stretch twice this amount of time to make a lasting impression. In this way, Death Stranding might appeal better to a niche within a niche: those fans of Kojima’s work who don’t mind experimenting with novel, controversial gameplay.

Indeed, Death Stranding is by and large an experiment of massive scale made possible with the dedicated Kojima Productions team and Hideo Kojima’s influence in the games industry. It's Kojima’s creativeness, borderlining pretentiousness, unrestrictedly let loose but I didn’t mind it a single bit. It was refreshing to see him and his team try something new and at a AAA scale without being bound to MGS. His signature touch is all over the place: novel gaming approach, long cinematics, fourth-wall breaking dialogues and even some aspects of his signature stealth gameplay. It tested my patience, it frustrated me but it also wowed me because it’s a timely game that felt like one I needed right now which I'll grind through with patience as a means of escape from the fever dream that is 2020.

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gameboy

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What is this giant giraffic machine doing there ? I played Horizon Zero Dawn and giant giraffic was in this game. Why here too ?

I got this game for PS4.. backup game fo jailbreak. lol!

To be honest, is that true that PC version is better than PS4 version ? Curious.

i havent played the ps4 version but this game is a trip graphically and how many random peoples things get thrown in with yours. Playing in 4k Ultrawide and I would have to say that it beats out everything (i can think of at the moment) graphically, Detroit Become Human had great graphics and cinematics but not like death stranding.
 

Prans

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What is this giant giraffic machine doing there ? I played Horizon Zero Dawn and giant giraffic was in this game. Why here too ?

It's an Easter egg of sorts as Death Stranding uses the same engine as HZD (decima engine)

To be honest, is that true that PC version is better than PS4 version ? Curious.
I haven't played the PS4 version but with the technical possibilities of PCs (especially newer GPUs, as mentioned in the article), you can achieve visual prowess unknown to this console generation.
 

spotanjo3

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It's an Easter egg of sorts as Death Stranding uses the same engine as HZD (decima engine)


I haven't played the PS4 version but with the technical possibilities of PCs (especially newer GPUs, as mentioned in the article), you can achieve visual prowess unknown to this console generation.

Ahh.. an Easter egg of the same engine, huh ? Cool! Thanks.

i havent played the ps4 version but this game is a trip graphically and how many random peoples things get thrown in with yours. Playing in 4k Ultrawide and I would have to say that it beats out everything (i can think of at the moment) graphically, Detroit Become Human had great graphics and cinematics but not like death stranding.

Yea, I already compared two of them on youtube if there is exist. Pc version seems a little bit better than PS4 pro version but not much of the difference. Nice! Again, thanks you guys.
 
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SuperDan

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dude if you have so little faith in a game youre saying its crap before youve even tried it youre probably better off just not downloading or even pirating the game, and just watching a cutscene movie on youtube
such is the beauty of interactive movies
Your opinion has no meaning to me sir? .. I will do exactly as I like.. Who knows I might just like it for a while... Until Fatgirl Or Codexy flips this flop... Of a game I've better things going on...
 

TheCasualties

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Thanks for this Prans! This has solidified my descision to pick this up soon. I'll probably wait for a sale though. 25% off might do it for me. I've been looking forward to this game for a while, I can wait a little longer.


I'm waiting for Fatgirl Repacks.... Looking forward to trying and Hating this.. Walking simulator.. Who knows it might be beautiful crap.. For a while
We'll probably be waiting for a real long time. Ever since Codex stopped cracking Denuvo, there haven't been any new cracks (except one by Empress). Probably have to wait until they remove Denuvo from the game. All the recent Denuvo cracked games were from a mistake where Denuvo wasn't in a certain version.
 
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Noctosphere

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Thanks for this Prans! This has solidified my descision to pick this up soon. I'll probably wait for a sale though. 25% off might do it for me. I've been looking forward to this game for a while, I can wait a little longer.



We'll probably be waiting for a real long time. Ever since Codex stopped cracking Denuvo, there haven't been any new cracks (except one by Empress). Probably have to wait until they remove Denuvo from the game.
yea I guessed that DS would be hard to crack... i mean, RDR2 is still uncracked after a couple of months
I guess today's AAA games are harder to crack :(
 

64bitmodels

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Your opinion has no meaning to me sir? .. I will do exactly as I like.. Who knows I might just like it for a while... Until Fatgirl Or Codexy flips this flop... Of a game I've better things going on...
whatever you say :P
Im just saying you shouldnt buy it or pirate it
It's a kojima story driven game, you could watch a cutscene movie on youtube and you probably wouldnt be missing out on much compared to if you actually played it.
 
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Prans

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Thanks for this Prans! This has solidified my descision to pick this up soon. I'll probably wait for a sale though. 25% off might do it for me. I've been looking forward to this game for a while, I can wait a little longer.

Glad you liked it! A sale would likely attract more players and if you can wait for one, mods might be ready to improve certain aspects by that time!
 
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Noctosphere

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codezer0

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what wasnt coherent about the game?
Lack of cohesion (and a tendency to play fast and loose with established canon) are some big recurring sins for Kojima directed games. Though, even this being its own singular entry, isn't without its own fair share of sins. This video goes into it better than I could.

 
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Lazyboss

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whatever you say :P
Im just saying you shouldnt buy it or pirate it
It's a kojima story driven game, you could watch a cutscene movie on youtube and you probably wouldnt be missing out on much compared to if you actually played it.
Wait, there is a big difference in playing a game and watching cutscenes, now specially for Death Stranding it's a huge difference.
The meaning behind this game is the journey and the people who helped you along the way, only then you can feel and understand the story, now this could not happen if you watch cutscenes or even play it offline.
 
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Yep I got it from there. I figured even if I hated it, it might help to get future Kojima games on the PC

--------------------- MERGED ---------------------------

But I actually really like the game so far. 5 hours in, but I feel like that stupid baby and boot durability are going to become a true pain in the ass in the near future.
 
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gameboy

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i didnt agree with gbatemps official review of the game

death stranding gives you access to vehicles very early on(steal it from mules, get bike early), why anyone chooses to walk was/is entirely up to them. If the player decided to take 2 climbing robes, 3 ladders and packages, of course Sam would get bogged down, it was the players choice to bring them. I think so many people are used to the idea of Link's Magic Pouch, from the legend of zelda, that they get mad when you cant just hoard everything.

my gripe is that you can not recruit hidden bunkers at anytime and you can only listen to the music in his room. they should have given Sam a music player that runs on batteries or something. And for everyone complaining about rain in zelda, its much worse where some areas rain all day.
 

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whatever you say :P
Im just saying you shouldnt buy it or pirate it
It's a kojima story driven game, you could watch a cutscene movie on youtube and you probably wouldnt be missing out on much compared to if you actually played it.
Ah you never know it's a random type game.. I might just get hooked?!

--------------------- MERGED ---------------------------

Thanks for this Prans! This has solidified my descision to pick this up soon. I'll probably wait for a sale though. 25% off might do it for me. I've been looking forward to this game for a while, I can wait a little longer.



We'll probably be waiting for a real long time. Ever since Codex stopped cracking Denuvo, there haven't been any new cracks (except one by Empress). Probably have to wait until they remove Denuvo from the game. All the recent Denuvo cracked games were from a mistake where Denuvo wasn't in a certain version.
That's certainly true it's no big loss.. If the time comes I will try it out..
 

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Yep I got it from there. I figured even if I hated it, it might help to get future Kojima games on the PC

--------------------- MERGED ---------------------------

But I actually really like the game so far. 5 hours in, but I feel like that stupid baby and boot durability are going to become a true pain in the ass in the near future.
Keep playing and the game will become even better after each piece of equipment you get, you will get access to vehicle which will save your time and boots durability, later on deliveries won't take 5 minutes to finish thanks to roads and zip lines.
My advice is to hurry up to chapter 3 where the map will be more open and you get access to many useful equipments to make your life easier, you can always go back to the previous map anytime with fast travel.
And BB is the best companion .
 

TheCasualties

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My advice is to hurry up to chapter 3 where the map will be more open and you get access to many useful equipments to make your life easier, you can always go back to the previous map anytime with fast travel.
And BB is the best companion .

Always good to know this kind of information! There are so many games where you only get the QoL stuff after several hours. Those first few hours can be very tedious and might make someone stop playing. It's a hard timeline to get right, and many games make this kind of mistake.

So rush to chapter 3 then do whatever. Thanks!
 
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Lazyboss

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Always good to know this kind of information! There are so many games where you only get the QoL stuff after several hours. Those first few hours can be very tedious and might make someone stop playing. It's a hard timeline to get right, and many games make this kind of mistake.

So rush to chapter 3 then do whatever. Thanks!
After the first mission in chapter 3 you will get a power skeleton that will make walking and balancing much easier, and of course you will get the upgraded versions later on, i can't imagine walking without it after that point.
What I like about this game is it keeps you updated with new useful tools until the end, it's sad to see people play for 2 hours and then quit because they think they are going to walk like that the whole time, but i guess the point of suffering at the beginning is to make us appreciate every tools we will get later on, and it will give meaning to connect with others to help us during the journey, because that's the whole point of the game.
 
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