Sam Porter Bridges? Look, it's not subtle
November 9, 2019 2:56 AM   Subscribe

Death Stranding is out now. In Hideo Kojima's latest technically-accomplished game for PS4 (PC coming summer 2020), you play a porter named Sam Porter Bridges who builds bridges for the Bridges organization in a post-apocalpytic world filled with ghosts and terrorists. Described as "the most advanced walking simulator the world has seen" (Polygon), "a great movie" (Engadget), and "unashamedly political" (The Guardian), it has received qualified praise from critics despite its army of distracting celebrity cameos. posted by adrianhon (46 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
"And, like a steamer trunk full of sperm, it’s impossible to separate the good from the bad. It’s all in the same box."
I have several questions.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 3:19 AM on November 9, 2019 [24 favorites]

Perhaps you skimmed past the sperm trunk mentions earlier in the review.
posted by thedaniel at 4:12 AM on November 9, 2019

you play a porter named Sam Porter Bridges who builds bridges for the Bridges organization

I'm already confused
posted by um at 4:28 AM on November 9, 2019 [13 favorites]

Really excited for the reviews for this game! Much less so for the game, because while Kojima's good at mechanics, he's one of the worst writers working in the triple-A game space today and he has no idea how to direct a cutscene that doesn't assume the people playing his game are not idiots. And of course, the women in his games (oops, sorry, should have said females!) are only there as fap material.

Tim Rodger's video review is the best I've seen and hilarious to boot (spoiler, he liked it). Also his non-spoiler playthrough showing off the walking mechanics is with Bennett Foddy (I can only dream of what he could come up with given a Kojima-sized budget).
posted by longdaysjourney at 4:51 AM on November 9, 2019 [5 favorites]

I’m a bit...exhausted of Kojima, I’m sad to say. I think MGS 5 burnt me out on him, although I guess there’s an asterisk to that game’s development considering all the Konami drama. The issues with Quiet and representation of women in his games in general leaves a very sour taste in my mouth. The concepts and story presented throughout the Metal Gear Solid series is interesting though, with MGS 2 being the most, I guess intelligent? MGS 1 and its concepts around nuclear proliferation/disarmament, terrorism, genetic technologies and genetic identity, was so well-done, and genuinely felt like a cinematic experience, and MGS 2 basically threw all that to the wind to give us a very postmodern experience. After that though it feels like the series relied on cliches and gags. MGS5 was a big let down, and although it’s basically an unfinished game, it was still part of what I think is a downward trend in quality.

However, this post is about Death Stranding. I’m going to watch some LPs of it and see what it’s like before I buy. I think “humans are disconnected from one another because of reasons” is sort of overdone these days, but I’m willing to see if there are fresh ideas at the table. I like the idea of being able to make new paths for people, and actually the gameplay sounds refreshing to me.

As far as Kojima as director? Oof, I’m not so sure. I think he’s overrated, and his style is so... obvious. He’s not subtle at all. But maybe that’s the point? It’s almost like he’s a cliche and he knows it, but is building his style on the back of himself being a cliché, so it’s like a meta referential feedback loop.

All of this sounds really harsh, but I’m a big fan of most of his work, and at the very least MGS1 showed 9 year old me that the Cold War didn’t really end, which was so eye opening for me. Nuclear proliferation to this day is still not widely discussed.
posted by gucci mane at 5:37 AM on November 9, 2019 [8 favorites]

Watched Elspeth play through for about 15 hours ( she played I did not watch all 15 ). It seems like a weird game where nothing really happens.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 5:57 AM on November 9, 2019

I've long believed that the thing that separates good artists from great artists is constraints. Sometimes it's the limits of the medium the artist is working in, sometimes it's a good editor that can limit the worst excesses of the artist, sometimes it's working as a team and compromising with other artists.

Kojima, with the possible exception of budget, did not have any constraints when he made Death Stranding.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 6:00 AM on November 9, 2019 [7 favorites]

Thanks to adrianhon for making this post. I'm not reading any of these articles because I don't want spoilers. It's also why I urged them to make this post.

Hideo Kojima is not perfect but as I like to say, at least he isnt boring. I'm always intrigued by what he has released to the world. His mind is so weird and wonderful. And there's this passion he brings to his games that I greatly appreciate.

I'm going to be getting a PS4 in the next few months. So I'm holding off on reading anything about this game until then. I've only watched a few of the trailers, enough to be interested by this world he's crafted. I'm so here for Mads and Norman.

I hear this is a very bizarre but beautifully designed walking simulator with ghosts, babies and ladders. This is not a complaint.
posted by Fizz at 6:19 AM on November 9, 2019 [2 favorites]

It isn't the best Kojima Game, but it is the most Kojima Game.
posted by Reyturner at 6:33 AM on November 9, 2019 [11 favorites]

posted by HeroZero at 6:52 AM on November 9, 2019

I'm loving it so far. High Kojima weirdness in the story, intensely told in the beginning. And hilariously odd game mechanics. Who knew a stumbling simulator would make for compelling gameplay? Ask me again in 30 hours but I'm loving it now. I've often thought that a great formula for games is open world + interesting movement mechanic. Usually the movement is a superhero thing, like jet packs or hang gliders or web slinging. This time it's stumbling around with Pelican cases strapped improbably high on your back.

Really my favorite thing is the asynchronous multiplayer. In one of the early missions of the game you have to flee an area swarming with BTs, scary ghosts you can barely see. It's a tense stealth game in that moment and you are all alone in a desolate landscape. Well alone except for the BTs menacing you. I was plotting my route trying to figure out how to scramble down a cliff when suddenly I found a rope anchored there in the perfect spot to help me escape. It was placed by someone named Igor. Not only was I grateful for the help, but in that moment even knowing another person had been there gave me great solace.

There's a nice quote from Kojima about his goals with the multiplayer.
There are only positive 'likes.' There are no negative interactions. So you can't convey any negative emotions. The attacks and violence seen online these days are out of control. So I designed this for people to take a step back and by connecting, relearn to be kind to others.
It seems to be working well in the game. All the systems are designed to let you help other players but only at a distance, no direct feedback. Or to leave little messages of encouragement, to thank other players.

Also there's a fun feature where you can find lost packages that other players abandoned on their journeys. And pick them up and help deliver them. Each package keeps a record of how many hands it passed through, and the more it travelled the more the bonus everyone gets when it finally makes it to its destination. I'm hoping players end up doing something clever with this, like passing packages around the world to get hundreds of names. Or maybe preserving packages that famous people have helped deliver. Imagine stumbling across a package Kojima himself had balanced on his back.

The one story thematic thing that's bothering me is the BB and
small spoilers for chapter 2the adjacent idea of "stillmothers". I appreciate the three-way pun in the phrase "stillmother" but ugh the reality of it is some Handmaid's Tale level of horror. I think Kojima is treating the topic responsibly, but it's creepy af.

Bonus: this game stars Lindsay Wagner! I love that Kojima brought back her 1970s-era look, like from Bionic Woman. He's revealing his age, the moment his fantasy type was formed in adolescence. Perhaps Cheryl Tiegs or Farrah Fawcett will be in his next game.

Sam Porter Bridges who builds bridges for the Bridges organization

Also the head of Bridges is named Bridget. Bridget Bridges, her organization bridges the country by making bridges. Created and Directed by Hideo Kojima.
posted by Nelson at 7:06 AM on November 9, 2019 [6 favorites]

So the plot of this is the survival aspect of Cast Away, but the twist is this is entirely about the back half package delivery from the same movie? Is there as much product placement in this? Can I get a FedEx uniform?
posted by Nanukthedog at 8:00 AM on November 9, 2019

Is there as much product placement in this?

Your magic self-filling canteen turns rainwater into actual, literal, explicitly branded Monster energy drink.

Tho, as far as I can tell, you'd only know this if you read the description of it on the tool tip.
posted by Reyturner at 8:18 AM on November 9, 2019 [2 favorites]

This seems to be greatly influenced by David Brin's "The Postman"
posted by Sophont at 8:56 AM on November 9, 2019 [2 favorites]

Looking forward to seeing Kojima's "in-game world" reason for the particular ad that appears on Norman Reedus's toilet door. (Not being more specific because it's a spoiler and I already know there's an "out-of-game world" reason for it.) The Monster drink one is easier for me to swallow because people still need to hydrate and presumably there's an underground bottling facility somewhere churning these out.

Anyways, I think Sony did a great thing to ensure detailed and fair reviews for this game that I wish more publishers did (giving reviewers a relatively huge amount of time to play the game before release). The reviews I've seen and read have all seemed fair and have explained the game's mechanics in great detail, and (most importantly) have come out early enough for people to cancel preorders if they think the gameplay won't click for them. I particularly enjoyed Skill-Up's review, Giant Beast's, and Heather Alexander's.

It says a lot about our society (humanity? the patriarchy? racism? fucking Nazis?) and the current state of online communication that the game's designer had to specifically limit the way players interact in the game to insure those interactions can only be positive.
posted by longdaysjourney at 9:00 AM on November 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

This game sounds like 50% something I'd detest and 50% made exactly for me. I love quest games that really want to be walking simulators and the asynchronous cooperating is right up my alley. Everything else sounds boring and silly. I don't have a PS4 so I guess I have several months to decide if it's worth it (or just spoil myself with LPs and call it a day).
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:06 AM on November 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

I'm a gamer. Jim Sterling's review helped me decide it was not a good game for me. For reasons, I had never heard of Kojima until the preposterous amount of hype started building for this game.

It's full of cut scenes. Like very many cut scenes. I've read that some cut scenes are up to an hour (!!!) long. The first couple hours are like 90% cut scenes—again, from what I have read.
posted by SoberHighland at 10:02 AM on November 9, 2019 [3 favorites]

you play a porter named Sam Porter Bridges who builds bridges for the Bridges organization

Kojima's done it again
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 10:02 AM on November 9, 2019 [14 favorites]

Kojima's games kind of happened outside of my gaming periods/platforms so I've never really been exposed to them, nor do they seem like the kind of thing that I'd get into. This game in particular really doesn't interest me and I have no intention of playing it.

So given that, I'm finding Death Stranding to be a remarkably fertile source of entertainment these days.
posted by suetanvil at 11:53 AM on November 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

sad that the $60 this game costs will exceed the gift amount i can give to my mail carrier this holiday season
posted by poffin boffin at 12:14 PM on November 9, 2019 [3 favorites]

sad that the $60 this game costs will exceed the gift amount i can give to my mail carrier this holiday season

merry christmas I’ve got you a busman’s holiday
posted by Special Agent Dale Cooper at 12:44 PM on November 9, 2019 [4 favorites]

i just want her to know it's okay if she needs to throw pee grenades on someone

not me tho. someone else.
posted by poffin boffin at 1:03 PM on November 9, 2019 [3 favorites]

I was quite taken aback with Fizz's comment thag 'Hideo Kojima is not perfect but as I like to say, at least he isnt boring.' Since my recollection was that mgs5 was too boring in its opening hours due to the interminable and largely developing cut scenes. Soberhighland's comment about 1hr cut scenes means this will be a no go for me.

Any one got anything to say about how well the Baldur's Gate ports work on the PS4? How is playability?
posted by biffa at 1:54 PM on November 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

I was quite taken aback with Fizz's comment thag 'Hideo Kojima is not perfect but as I like to say, at least he isnt boring.' Since my recollection was that mgs5 was too boring in its opening hours due to the interminable and largely developing cut scenes.

Hmm, maybe I just went into MGV with a very different mind-set. I also probably have some blinders on because I appreciate his vision, even if his games don't always match what people are expecting from him.

Also, as has been mentioned up above, he is trash at writing women (they are literal objects to be gazed upon by other males).

I heard that his studio is going to attempt to pivot to film-making going forward and to be honest, I think that's probably where he's been wanting to go for a long while. I am not sure that films from him will be any better, but I'm always interested in what he's doing, in how he tries to play out the vision he has in his brain.
posted by Fizz at 2:30 PM on November 9, 2019

That would be interesting to see but he would need an editor with some serious backbone to get anything meaningful under a few hours.
posted by biffa at 2:41 PM on November 9, 2019

some cut scenes are up to an hour (!!!) long. The first couple hours are like 90% cut scenes—again, from what I have read

Yes and no. The ending includes nearly 70 minutes of cutscenes with game play interspersed between scenes. The first couple of hours do include longer cutscenes that establish the premise and backstory. However it's quite an immersive and cinematic experience with very high production values, from the motion-captured acting to the 5.1 surround quality (+a surprisingly great soundtrack) and HDR graphics on a PSPro. Not once did I want to skip the scenes, which isn't always the case.

With that said, this game isn't for everyone. In my last session, I felt like an Uber Eats driver compelled to deliver 10 orders on foot after my car broke down in the Scottish Moor, with a tinge of Crazy Taxi and Horizon Zero Dawn elements. There's a ton of walking, scrambling over Rocky terrain, climbing up steep slopes and ladders, belaying off cliffs to reach the mission objectives. But again, when you're in the world, it seems to offer enough originality, atmosphere and challenges to trek on. 15 hours in, we'll see if the story and character development keeps me engaged through the finale.
posted by prinado at 4:14 PM on November 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

I watched about 10 minutes of the 2-hour(!) preview from Tim Rodgers. Getting Bennett Foddy to demonstrate the walking "system" was genius.

Just watching the menu UI was enough to convince me that the game was Not For Me. I couldn't even make it through the trailer from last year, so I'm not sure the pivot-to-movies is a good idea.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 8:08 PM on November 9, 2019

I'm a gamer (...) I had never heard of Kojima

I mean how
posted by Baldons at 2:46 AM on November 10, 2019 [4 favorites]

Playing more but slowly, still enjoying it.

The emphasis on moving material from point A to B is reminding me of Eve Online. That's a core game mechanic in Eve too. The key thing is there's no magic way to teleport stuff from one place to another. You have to move things. If you want a bunch of metal at some far-flung outpost you have to carry it there yourself, whether in an industrial hauler spaceship or in a bunch of boxes balanced on your back.

Eve mostly uses this limitation as a way to sculpt economic activity, to create markets. Also as a way to have player-led activities; you'll find ice convoy operations to move valuable ice from one place to another, well guarded and scouted from an enemy faction of players who might try to raid the ice convoy.

I haven't played Death Stranding enough yet to see what the point of all this couriering stuff back and forth will be. I have a feeling it's way more scripted and one-time. But the game has this promise that one way to play would be as a humble steward of just one route between two stations, trodding back and forth every day repairing bridges and tending to the signs and other equipment that mark the route. I find that idea very appealing.
posted by Nelson at 6:43 AM on November 10, 2019

In Skyrim/Fallout/etc. people spend a lot of time 1) carrying as much loot as possible 2) hopping around steep mountain slopes trying to find shortcuts through the wilderness. But this stuff is not thoughtfully designed into those games, the inventory system doesn't make any sense, neither does the collision detection and terrain. It all feels pretty janky and broken, despite being a famously big part of the gameplay.

Death Stranding is basically an entire game about just those two things, where this entire huge budget goes into giving them mechanics that feel complex and interesting.

I'm not generally on board with Kojima as genius auteur but I am impressed with this. In a way it is similar to the Metal Gear series being the first real stealth games -- of course in other action games you could try to avoid enemies but Kojima actually built the systems to make a real game out of it.

I am also impressed that he chose not to go for the Shadow of the Colossus/Breath of the Wild approach of having a guy who constantly free climbs up big rock faces, which would have been the obvious and well-established choice.
posted by vogon_poet at 1:42 PM on November 10, 2019 [4 favorites]

mgs5 was too boring in its opening hours due to the interminable and largely developing cut scenes

I just bought MGS5 to see if I liked Kojima's work and I just rode a horse with Spermatazoa Ocenfroth after escaping a hospital where I was repeatedly. Forced. To. Watch. Slow. Motion. Gun. Massacres. And also there's a red-headed gas-mask wearing person who just keeps repeating the same float-up-into-space motion, who is maybe not trying to kill me but is definitely boring me.

And after all of that I'm suddenly rebuilding my private army (!?!!?!) and dramatically putting on my Cool Dude Clothes.

It's like an 11-year-old's idea of the Ultimate Jon Woo Film. So, no, I don't think Death Stranding is for me. I'll wait for Kevin Costner to adapt The Postman for next-gen consoles, as long as I get to play Ford Lincoln Mercury.
posted by grumpybear69 at 11:32 AM on November 11, 2019

I just bought MGS5 to see if I liked Kojima's work

Talk about jumping in at the end! Worse, that's actually part 2 of the fifth, err, sixth, (seventh?) instalment of the series. It's not even the craziest. (4,2,5,3,1 from most to least insane)

Personally I have a lot of respect for Kojima's technical production values, and his attention to detail, but the actual story he's telling? Eh.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 11:44 AM on November 11, 2019

I've played the MGS series because they have excellent gaming mechanics, i'm a huge fan of stealth games, i really like that they provided ways to play most of them non-lethally, and they all provide a high degree of interactivity, typically of the "screwing around with the game engine" variety. The games have been quite good about considering and allowing for all sorts of possibilities and edge cases, and they all show a high degree of polish.

When I first played MGS1, I was all about a good espionage game and was really thrown by the more supernatural aspects of it at first, but loved it once I embraced it for what it truly was instead of what I thought it might have been. I didn't really get a lot of how Kojima was screwing with us until well after MGS2 - being one of the best examples of games that are actively doing this and also deliberately subverting tropes and expectations.

MGS5 has some of my favorite open world gameplay ever. There's something just so satisfying about going through compounds, stealing everything, and leaving every guard asleep without being seen once - and learning to adapt to some of the precautions that the guards be in place. There's just as much satisfaction that can be taken from just wrecking a bunch of tanks with a rocket launcher as well.

I gave almost zero shits about the storyline in MGS5, it seemed typically Kojima. But there is a lot of really troubling writing, and the whole thing with Quiet was so typical of the worst aspects of Kojima, but he took it to a lot of other horrible places, including one particularly memorable and offensive human bomb - and I'm having a really hard time looking past any of that to give this a closer look, especially as I realize how much of this I've overlooked or brushed aside in many of his prior games. In many ways, this game seems like it would really appeal to me, but for everything I've enjoyed in past Kojima games, there's been just as much awfulness that I really don't have any more tolerance for at this point in my life. I do love a lot of his vision and his willingness to take chances with the medium, but I definitely don't always love what he has done with that.
posted by MysticMCJ at 2:13 PM on November 11, 2019

BDG unravels a Kojima name generator. I do not give any shits about Hideo Kojima or his games but this video entertained me greatly.
posted by soren_lorensen at 3:49 PM on November 11, 2019

The BBU from 4 is peak problematic. Quiet might actually be progress after, err, well I'll let you do that research, I'm at work.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 4:45 PM on November 11, 2019

I've played MGS 1-3 (couldn't muster up the energy to play 4 and 5) and I would count them as some of my favorites. Kojima is definitely full of himself and unable to focus but he does make a Decent Game from time to time.

I've found the first 10 or so hours of DS to be far far better than I expected. The cutscenes can be long but only at the beginning. The acquisition of new tech to help you make your deliveries is gradual but fairly speedy. And the walking mechanic is quite engaging - making you really feel like you've accomplished something great when you make the delivery.

It's not without its problems though.... (I don't really consider the below spoilers but read at your own risk).
1) The combat with BTs is BAD and unnecessary. The punishment of losing half your packages and being dragged half a km from where you dropped them is AWFUL. The BTs don't just 'move along' after a while so you can't wait them out. You have to get past them and there's no way to avoid it. No matter what path you take, they always show up directly on you - forcing you to engage them each time. And for the first 10 hours, each encounter is no different. No thanks.

2) LADDERS - you can't pick them up and use them again despite the fact that you were carrying them in the first place. You can only dismantle them - which means they disappear forever. That makes zero sense. Let me take my ladder back. What is this - Ladder by Gilette? These things aren't disposable. And if they are magically disappearing in to the ether when I dismantle them, let me make them reappear.. Rules exist for a reason.

3) Areas you can't climb even though they appear very climbable. If this is a climbing sim, don't put up invisible walls.

Anyway, its good. I'd play it if I were me.
posted by RobertFrost at 6:09 AM on November 12, 2019

I skipped mgs4, as it seemed too much of the worst of the series. The BBU was definitely sort of that decision.

So is death standing full of the same sort of issue? It’s hard to get an answer to that at this point...
posted by MysticMCJ at 9:51 AM on November 12, 2019

I'm at Episode 3 in DS and still mostly compelled by it, but of all the bits that strain credulity the only one that's really bothering me is the way that the entire North American continent is apparently literally only tens of kilometers wide. I'd prefer a contrivance involving janky plot points and cutscenes to convey the distance being covered rather than being shown that my ~4km trek to the Wind Farm has brought me all the way from the east coast to the game-contemporary equivalent of Illinois.
posted by invitapriore at 11:59 AM on November 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

^^^^ this. The cataclysmic event apparently also shrank the shit out of the US
posted by RobertFrost at 2:08 PM on November 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

(also hot tip that maybe makes the whole affair less interesting is that if you just do the "hold L2+R2 to balance" thing the whole time you're walking, you're pretty much good)
posted by invitapriore at 7:00 PM on November 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

Still liking this game, particularly the asynchronous multiplayer / living world stuff. I took a break for one day and when I came back in my game I found my world was suddenly populated with roads! Real solid blacktop highways, causeways and bridges, very easy travelling. Just two days ago it was all difficult rocky terrain with streams in the way and scary MULEs. The roads are player-built but I believe the layout of the road is part of the map's design.

It almost makes the game too easy; part of me wonders if it'd be more fun with more of a challenge. OTOH the game's design admits for this. The first time you visit somewhere new there's no pre-built infrastructure at all, you have to make that first journey to link up the area to the chiral network and see other player's structures.

Structures degrade. I'm very curious what this world will look like in a few months when the game stops being the new hotness and people play less. Will the roads crumble back to rubble? Are we experiencing only a brief renaissance?

The economics are a bit strange too. You get roughly 150 likes for completing a basic mission, like delivering a package from A to B. (Likes act more or less experience points.) You also get about 1-100 likes from people who use one of your structures and choose to manually hit the "like" button. But then you also get automated likes for contributing to structures. I dropped off maybe 20kg worth of metal at a road construction unit two days ago. When I logged in today that'd generated 20,000 likes. Nominally from other players but they're automated, not manually given. Feels sort of out of balance, although the consequences of having lots of likes aren't that significant.
posted by Nelson at 8:49 AM on November 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

Dunkey finally reviews the first strand-type game.

OMG how did this get made
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 11:02 PM on November 24, 2019

I am deeply, deeply into this game now. 40 hours in, Chapter 7, and I definitely feel like I've seen the main gameplay loops of delivery and rebuilding. I absolutely love it. I've just finished a couple of epic trips across the United States that felt like real accomplishments. Improving infrastructure along the way.

What's funny is the UI for a lot of this stuff is pretty awkward. Lots of little 3-5 second cutscene animations for everything you do. Awkward menu interfaces. So much inventory juggling. You can get a sense of that in this short video clip (minor spoilers) I recorded. For most games this kind of UI fiddling is just terrible and wrecks the game. Somehow with Death Stranding it is the game, and I find it appealing and kind of relaxing.

The world is really beautifully realized. I can't wait to have some time just to go exploring in the mountains. So far there's too many scary ghosts to do that comfortably.
posted by Nelson at 8:15 AM on November 25, 2019

It's Like Death Stranding, But For Real. A little bit of info and video on Japan's "step cargo" porters.

I'm still really liking the game and am getting sad as I'm getting relatively close to journey's end. I'm totally in love with the game mechanics of being a porter, there's something very relaxed and chill about it. Nice alternative to Man Shooter 6: More Explosions!
posted by Nelson at 4:20 PM on December 4, 2019

I'm almost done with the game. I love it. Also the cinematic part, the grand story telling, is total crap. I know this kind of thing is Kojima's ambition and his kooky stories are part of why fans love him. But having played both MGSV and Death Stranding and followed the stories carefully, I'm prepared to say Kojima doesn't know how to write a movie. I won't go into details because it's spoilers, but I was super unsatisfied with how all these grand themes in Death Stranding resolved. It's a incomprehensible mishmash of Big Ideas that make no sense together. (See this spoiler video clip for an example of how incoherent it is.)

OTOH Kojima's gameplay, that's masterful. I loved the moment to moment game of transporting cargo. The broader theme of what you do in the game, knitting America back together, that also was hugely compelling. And where videogames are great; your actions in the videogame are reinforcing the story being told. Ludonarrative consonance! I give full credit to Kojima here. I'm looking forward to post-game revisiting my delivery ro utes.

Also the cinematic techniques in the game are great. The motion capture really is next level here, the actors' performances shine through. I even like all the characters. It's just the story doesn't come together. Part of the problem is the length of the medium; This game is 60 hours, fully 30x the length of a movie. Not sure how you do movie-like storytelling in that context. In fact it really breaks down at the end of the game.

Death Stranding took my console hostage for 90 minutes last night as I watched a variety of cut scenes, scripted action, and time-wasting walking nowhere while Kojima got the story he was trying to tell out and forced me to watch the credits. Literally 90 minutes without any meaningful player choices or game inputs. That is not a video game. It's a movie. And a badly written one at that. Harumph.

In summary, the game is magnificent and a real triumph. I admire what Kojima has accomplished. But he needs to work with someone who knows how to write movies.
posted by Nelson at 8:19 AM on December 8, 2019

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