Death Stranding reviews are finally here and critics are calling it all sorts of things. With the review embargo lifting up on Hideo Kojima’s next game, we finally have a chance to see the game for what it is. So, how is it? Well, we didn’t get a review copy so you’ll have to wait for our take on it. However, the people who did get to play the game are hailing it as one of the most surprising games of 2019. Let’s dive deeper into Death Stranding’s reviews.
While the game has been critically well-received, it has also, in classic Kojima fashion, challenged the very notion of “gameplay” as we know it. Described by many as a glorified walking simulator before its release, it turns out the game is just that. Except, most people who’ve played the game are liking it. What’s not clear is the level of nuance that Kojima has put in the game. Over the past week, there were stories of Sony deliberately locking certain reviewers from playing the game in order to maintain secrecy about its plot.
While we understand the intent, we’re also quite confused over just how Sony (and by extension Kojima) wants this game to be received. Being the first in a new “Strand genre”, the game is a good mix of casual gameplay, story-rich cutscenes, and Dark Souls-esque multiplayer components. It’s clear that no one will get the full extent of the experience just by watching or reading reviews. The game has a complicated control system that makes it so that the controller would act as an extension of yourself while playing the game.
As many reviewers have noted, the game presents a unique take on traversal. While in most open-world games traversal is largely an afterthought (with exceptions like Assassin’s Creed), Death Stranding takes a new approach. Sam’s movement mechanics are tied extensively well to the controller. The game runs on the Decima engine, the same which Guerrilla Games used in Horizon Zero Dawn. As such, movement in itself presents itself as a challenge to overcome throughout the majority of the game. While I personally haven’t played the game yet, all the gameplay I’ve seen do point towards that.
Death Stranding reviews on Metacritic are mostly positive, with it holding a score of 84 with 70 reviews. While that number is subject to change as more reviews start coming in, it gives us a nice idea about the game’s overall reception. Many people were predicting that the game will get a free pass because of Hideo Kojima’s involvement, but it seems like that has not come to pass.
We’ll be getting our copy of Death Stranding on launch day, so expect a review soon after.