Death Stranding is so good that it should have no follow-up

The most incredible thing about it Death Stranding is that it exists at all. Hideo Kojima, the writer and director, has said he wants to stop making Metal Gear Solid games for as long as he makes it Metal Gear Solid spell. Now, with a new independent Kojima Productions that seems to have become some carte blanche from Sony to make it what it wanted, as long as it was a PS4 game, Kojima & # 39; s first non-Metal Gear government project in decades is here.


And while I love Metal Gear, the one thing Death Stranding especially gave me the feeling that I wish Kojima had left the series before.

Death Stranding drips positively with Kojima & # 39; s aesthetics, from the suggestive not-quite-English terminology to the willingness to break through the fourth wall and confuse your expectations. Although the setting is completely different, play Death Stranding often feels like an alternative universe Metal Gear spin-off where characters still stop doing what they do for long-lasting Codec calls. And yes, there are many cut-scenes in it Death Stranding, directed with Kojima & # 39; s distinctive, less than subtle flair.

Much of the fame comes not only from Kojima, but from the people he works with. Yoji Shinkawa's undeniable character design, which effortlessly combines the organic and the mechanical Metal Gear series, is the most obvious line here, with instantly iconic creations such as the fluttering floral-like Odradek sensor and the surrealistic BB tank. Shinkawa has even found a way to incorporate some bipedal mech designs Death StrandingThe post-apocalyptic world.

DNA is also shared with the ill-fated Silent hills project that left Kojima Konami in the first place. It starts with his star, Norman Reedus, while the intended co-director Guillermo del Toro has been given a facial performance for an important dubbed role. It is also easy to see echoes of the cult favorite PT demo Death StrandingThe ethereal, disturbing view of horror, even if certain fan theories may have gone a bit too far.

Occasionally an incident Metal Gear games, Kojima's tendency to drop name is Death StrandingThe biggest treat. The core performances of Reedus and others such as Margaret Qualley and Mads Mikkelsen are nothing short of excellent, make the most of an awkward script and the game is all the better for them. But did we really have to see Geoff Keighley and Conan O & # 39; Brien in hologram form? The inclusion of so many of the famous acquaintances of Kojima does not detract much from the idea that Death Stranding is a vanity project.

The game has its similarities with Metal Gear Solid, in particular the fifth and most recent entry. Structurally it usually consists of performing tasks from a long list in a large open world. If there are enemies, it is usually better to be covert. You can hide in tall grass and be encouraged to take a non-lethal approach. There are boss fights.


Different, Death Stranding sees Kojima Productions free from the buoys that the Metal Gear series had imposed so long. The design, storyline and pace of the game are all equally important elements that work in an instant to create an experience like no other. Death Stranding is a game where you have to roam for dozens of hours through isolated mountains, just to communicate that it would suck dozens of hours of wandering through isolated mountains. Often it really sucks when you are trudging around. But the crucial factor is that, often, the simple act of entering Death Stranding is incredible.

Walking is everything. The detailed landscapes and realistic physics together create a dynamic in which you are constantly thinking about whether – and how – you can reach that river or that edge. You must account for every object that you hoist on your long-suffering back, balancing the desire to defend yourself against your need to reach your goal. With a full load you have to micro-manage your grip on your backpack straps if you don't want to slip and your precious load drops hundreds of meters off a cliff.

It's getting easier. You get access to equipment, vehicles and the opportunity to build on the terrain around you. There is even a fast travel system, although you don't want to use it often. It is not only that you cannot take items with you. Death Stranding is a game about a man walking coast to coast, and it is nothing without the feeling that you have taken every step for yourself. But there is also a satisfying feeling that you control your environment as the story begins to accelerate halfway, and the journey is choreographed in such a way that reaching the top of a hill can sometimes be intensely emotional.

Compare this with Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, one of the least structurally coherent games ever made, or Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, an incredible stealth game in the open world that was clearly not completed from a narrative perspective. The Metal Gear spell that Death Stranding reminiscent of is Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, the vast Cold War jungle adventure from 2004. It was the last one Metal Gear Solid game that is dedicated to inhabiting an environment, populating with bizarre characters and using wild mechanical ideas to propel an unexpected plot. Death Stranding has all this and more.

Death Stranding is not perfect. But I like it so much that I don't want it to get a sequel. It is not that it completes everything around his story, that there is no room for expansion, or even that the end makes sense. (Let's say I'm looking forward to reading Reddit and wikis once this game is in the wild.) But it shows what Kojima Productions can do with a clean slate, a lot of money and a mandate to create something truly unique. It is of course not for everyone a game, and I expect that many players will not make the opening hours. Nothing left Death Stranding however, it is a coincidence. It exudes confidence in what it is.

"Hopefully they come to a sort of agreement and that happens, or we do something very similar that is different." I don't know, & Norman Reedus said later Silent hills got cancelled. "I'm confident we're going to do something because it just seems like it's one of those things that needs to happen."

Death Stranding was revealed only six months after Reedus' comments and released just over three years later. That is a stunning turnaround for a project of this size, ambition and originality. What could the new Kojima productions have achieved in the past 15 years if Kojima had succeeded in stopping Metal Gear Solid 3?


There is an alternative dimension in which that happened and we got several new games as weird, divided and brilliant as Death Stranding. But instead of what was possible, Death StrandingThe release and likely commercial success point to an exciting new future for Kojima Productions, one in which the studio can continue to push the boundaries of what is possible in blockbuster game development – as long as Kojima is not trapped in another franchise, that is.