Death Stranding

Like my Half-Glass Gaming compatriot Julian, I played a ton of Death Stranding back when it first came out, but I never ended up finishing it. While I was hooked for a while, I suddenly hit a point where it was feeling too tedious for me to continue any further.

It’s mostly my fault, I admit, since I wouldn’t allow myself to progress the story until I had build every friggin’ road in an area. So I burned myself out. But once I left the game, I found it rapidly fading from memory. Because this was a Hideo Kojima game, I was convinced it would leave a lasting impression, like Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes (or virtually anything else Kojima has made in his long career). But I’ve gone on record to say that the opposite actually happened; I found Death Stranding to be kind of forgettable.

So when Death Stranding Director’s Cut was first announced at E3 2021, I thought to myself, “Yeah, it figures.” Of course this would get a new-gen upgrade, with fresh bells and whistles and a shiny visual overhaul. But I didn’t see myself actually playing it again. Not if I would have to rebuild all those doggone roads again…

Death Stranding

Over the past couple months, I’ve had a change of heart. I don’t really know what it is (it’s possibly largely due to the incredible new trailer), but Death Stranding has its hooks in me again — at least in concept. I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about the game, going so far as to mentally re-plot the best routes between stations so I can make efficient deliveries when the time comes to actually do so.

Now, a lot of the new features feel like non-essentials. While I appreciate that there are now more facial expressions for Norman Reedus, I’m not willing to replay an entire open-world game to make use of these. New music tracks are nice (and Kojima is a master of choosing the right music for any game world), but again, they’re not worth buying a game over.

But some of the new tools — such as the delivery robot companion or the Evolved Stabilizers that allow you to make ludicrously massive jumps without breaking any bones (or presumably any packages) — are actually game-changers that will make replays much less tedious.

And how about those new story missions? I can’t help but be excited about whatever that new stealth mission is. I’m a sucker for a good stealth game, and Kojima is no stranger to making those. And there’s some footage in one of the earlier Death Stranding Director’s Cut trailers that looks like Metal Gear Solid set in Echo Base on Hoth. That sounds amazing.

Death Stranding

So yes, Hideo Kojima, you got me. I will be picking up Death Stranding Director’s Cut when it comes out on September 24 of this year. Somehow, this re-release that I was mostly planning on skipping has become one of my most anticipated games of this year. I can’t wait to get back to it.

You win this round, Kojima. You win this round.

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