Death Stranding

Last night I sat down to finish Death Stranding and after beating the final boss it took an additional two hours of story, dream sequences, credit sequences and false endings before it was over. Or not quite over but finished and into the open ended chapter: “Tomorrow is in your Hands.”

I was so pissed off with Kojima for this because I had wanted to go to bed early but he pulled me through it and the entire thing was totally worth the 60+ hours of gameplay I sunk into it. The duration is the thing that creates the gravitas but also I don’t want to invest that much time in a game again any time soon.

It started with me seeing the trailer for the sequel which is incredibly over the top, absurd and wildly promising. It’s a movie—a Gesamtkunstwerk I called it—that I can watch over and over again, especially now that I’ve played the first part.

That got me interested and then I found out that the original game had been ported both to macOS and to iOS (!!). A hefty download later I was off to play my first AAA game in years.

There’s so much to love about Death Stranding and so much that is weird but works: the names of the characters (Heartman, Die Hardman, Deadman etc.), the endless walks across beautiful mountain landscapes, the boredom, the resource management, the likes, the weird cameos, the breaks of the fourth wall, the BB unit, the weird mishmash of lore and mythology. I could go on and on.

I didn’t think all too deeply on what the game is about but the thought that stuck with me while playing is that Bridges and its delivery operation are a pastiche on Amazon, with its expansionism, militarism and overly saccharine insistence on the ‘benefits’ of “connecting everybody.”

Now, I’ll be taking a break and going back to studying in the evenings but if I decide to go play a big game again, I’m thinking it’ll either be Disco Elysium or Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown.

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