Death Stranding

I really enjoyed my time with Death Stranding when it originally released back in November of 2019. I didn’t actually finish it, and probably only got about halfway through the main story, but I did log an ungodly amount of time mopping up every delivery on the board in each of the areas I did get around to.

And speaking of mopping up side content, this is no doubt what led to me burning out before seeing the credits roll. I wasn’t all that interested in the intricacies of the storyline to begin with, so I spent my time doing what I enjoyed the most: delivering packages and contributing to the Chiral Network for the betterment of all. With that in mind, I figure I got more than my money’s worth.

I did plan to return to that game world at some point, but the timing never felt right.

So with the announcement of the upcoming director’s cut (which, as everyone else on the internet has pointed out, seems at odds with the concept of a “director’s cut” in the first place), it started looking like I finally had the impetus to jump back in and slam another couple dozen cases of mysteriously abundant Monster energy drinks.

The initial teaser trailer was a bit of the old Kojima wankery (in my opinion), and offered nothing more than fodder for speculation. However, with the release of an almost nine-minute gameplay trailer at the Gamescom 2021 Opening Night Live stream, we now have more info and a better idea of what to expect. Which, it turns out, is a bit of content to streamline package deliveries, some fleshed-out world lore, and a number of minigame-like experiences. 

Death Stranding

And look, if this new content speaks to you, good on ya. My opinions won’t in any way lessen your enjoyment of this new director’s cut. And for an extra $10, I will most certainly get the PS5 upgrade — if not for the additional content, then certainly for the improved visuals and performance, the Dual Sense and 3D audio features, and, of course, the truncated loading times. But of the new content that will be included, there’s only a handful that I feel might improve my experience in any meaningful way.

The evolved stabilizers, for example, will be a friggin’ Godsend. Like I said earlier, delivering the packages in Death Stranding was what I enjoyed the most. I got really into the puzzle-like elements of traversing the landscape in order to make those deliveries in a timely manner and with as little damage as possible. But at the end of the day, I have an actual job and other time-consuming obligations, which encourage me to get my rush on, oftentimes leading to disaster when clambering down a craggy cliff face. But now with these stabilizers, you better believe I’m gonna be jumping from the highest ledges I can find, slowly sailing to safety.

I also think the increased capabilities of the Buddy Bot will be a positive new asset. Having the option, at least as the trailer seems to suggest, to climb aboard the buddy bot and have them carry you to the destination — while you run to the kitchen to get a snack or run to take a bathroom break, or even just sit back and enjoy the scenery — is just awesome. I liken this to the cinematic camera mode in Red Dead Redemption 2, which causes your horse to auto ride to any highlighted map marker once you get them up to speed. This will most certainly come in handy.

Death Stranding

I also think the new action-packed deliveries missions look like an interesting direction to take Death Stranding in. Interiors were noticeably sparse in Death Stranding — at least, those other than the lobbies of delivery centers or outposts. Seeing these new almost dungeon-like locations, with a focus on stealth and maybe a little bit of combat, has me intrigued. The one shown in the trailer almost felt like a completely different, darker game, which I think could be a great juxtaposition from the rest of the game’s original content, as well as a new approach to using the combat system, which I mostly avoided in my original playthrough. This new addition also seems like it adds more context to the game world and its lore, while maybe also doling out more story content.

I think all of this content looks promising at worst, and really cool at best. It’s the rest of the offering that I am pretty lukewarm about. In fact, I doubt I will ever engage with any of it.

Which is fine. For the extra $10, the above stated content, in tandem with the general performance and tech enhancements the PS5 will offer, looks like it will more than satisfy my consumer demands. But so many of these new additions — things like the catapult, being able to replay past boss battles, listening to the in-game music tracks (although the music itself is great), the gun range and combat arenas, and a bunch of new animations of Norman Reedus goofing off — kind of feel like weird additions, more padding than anything truly meaningful.

But then, with the context of whom said director actually is (Hideo Kojima himself), maybe it does make some semblance of sense.

Death Stranding

At the end of the day, I will most likely buy Death Stranding Director’s Cut. I will probably, at the very least, pay for the upgrade for the content I listed above (and for the reasons I listed above). It will be a nice way to revisit a game that I truly did have a great time with. I guess I mostly just feel like the content that doesn’t really speak to me could’ve been jettisoned for even more meaningful story content. Then again, there might very well still be a bevy of meaningful story content that just hasn’t been made public yet. 

And who knows? Maybe this time we’ll get a surprise cameo from Jimmy Fallon…

You can check out the Gamescom preview trailer for Death Stranding Director’s Cut below.

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1 year ago

My truck ran out of battery once and I had no PCC for a generator. Really made me wonder why you couldn’t ask your robot to bring you a PCC. I suppose the issue is it’s slow speed

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