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Death Stranding - Kojima at it again

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9 hours ago, Kevvy Metal said:

This place can sometimes be even worse than Twitter for terrible hot takes. 

I was going to ignore this, but I can't. Prior to your above quoted comment I had already openly admitted my "crap gameplay" comment was a hot take. However, my comments regarding the physics are a genuine and valid criticism of the game's inner workings. Can you produce a counter argument, Kevin? 

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4 minutes ago, Thor said:

I was going to ignore this, but I can't. Prior to your above quoted comment I had already openly admitted my "crap gameplay" comment was a hot take. However, my comments regarding the physics are a genuine and valid criticism of the game's inner workings. Can you produce a counter argument, Kevin? 


Realistic physics that you have to deal with at all times would be utterly unfun and is a terrible idea. The balance prompts that pop up are there to spice up the challenge of having an excess load as it’s all about the act of moving cargo and resources rather than a focus on balance at all times. 
Also yes, you have to work out what you’re going to take with you, the bionic legs makes you move fast with better balance but you can’t carry anything on your legs. The bike is only really useful on roads. The balance game is reduced when using vehicle or bionic leg but it’s at a cost of not being nearly suitable for rocky terrains. 
it’s all about appropriate  prep for the journey ahead. 
The physics aren’t shit or bad, having a constant balancing act as the focal point would be unbelievably tedious. 
 

but yeah, whatever. Feel free to like or dislike what you want LeChuck. 

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2 hours ago, Alex W. said:

Coordinated two overlapping time sensitive missions and a trip in to MULE territory like a boss. I really like the basic Elite-on-foot mechanics of this.


I mentioned Kojima’s trademark bad writing habits before but the lack of sensitive direction on the dialogue shows up constantly too. Wrong stresses on things, like it’s the first time the actor’s seen the line and they’ve not realised how it plays out, or it’s in isolation and they’ve not really understood the context. Lot of the classic bad MGS4 stuff.

 

Elite-on-foot.... that’s an interesting analogy.

 

 I also heard it referred to in a review as the “Gran Turismo of walking simulators”


I love reading comments about this game. I think it’s amazing but I am struggling to explain to friends ( and even myself) exactly why.  I suppose that in itself makes it far more interesting than most games?

 For me it conjures up an atmosphere or a feeling I can’t describe.
Other games I got this off include Elite, Super Metroid, Half Life, and more recently Bloodborne, BotW and Hollow Knight.

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I can't decide what I think about the player generated structures. I think I prefer my first journey to a place when none of it is there if I'm honest. Once it appears I feel like I'm not actually doing much myself anymore because so much of the area becomes instantly mapped out for me. Ladders and ropes and postboxes and signs everywhere to the point where I barely have to craft my own equipment because so much of it is already laid out.

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17 minutes ago, Kevvy Metal said:


Realistic physics that you have to deal with at all times would be utterly unfun and is a terrible idea. The balance prompts that pop up are there to spice up the challenge of having an excess load as it’s all about the act of moving cargo and resources rather than a focus on balance at all times. 
Also yes, you have to work out what you’re going to take with you, the bionic legs makes you move fast with better balance but you can’t carry anything on your legs. The bike is only really useful on roads. The balance game is reduced when using vehicle or bionic leg but it’s at a cost of not being nearly suitable for rocky terrains. 
it’s all about appropriate  prep for the journey ahead. 
The physics aren’t shit or bad, having a constant balancing act as the focal point would be unbelievably tedious. 
 

but yeah, whatever. Feel free to like or dislike what you want LeChuck. 

You haven't paid much attention to my posts, have you? You've just taken the negatives and gone into instant "defence force" mode.

 

11 hours ago, Thor said:

When on foot, taking on too much has you having to manage the weight, and credit where it's due, that's actually pretty well done

 

See that? I'd already agreed with you that the on-foot physics were pretty good. But you chose to ignore that, because it didn't fit your narrative. I'm not after realistic physics at all times (of course that would be tedious), but there should be some semblance of consistency between the game's systems. The issue I have raised is specifically with the reverse trike physics. Notice I haven't grumbled about the truck. Why? Because the physics for that are also reasonably well done. It's the reverse trike I have the issue with, specifically the fact that it should be significantly better over rocky terrain than it actually is. The trike just stops dead when it hits a tiny rock; it's daft, it ruins immersion, and spoils the fun. 

 

And yes, I will dislike and indeed like what I want, and I will discuss this on a discussion forum if I so choose. 

 

Finally, I've changed my mind on my comments being a hot take.

 

Quote

hot take

NOUN

US

a piece of commentary, typically produced quickly in response to a recent event, whose primary purpose is to attract attention.

 

I made my comments when I was up to episode 8, having poured over twenty hours into the game. My comments aren't hot takes at all; they're valid, qualified criticism of the game's systems and gameplay. 

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The physics system will almost certainly be a global system that’s no different dependant on what vehicle you’re driving. You’re likely just mad at the game like you are at most of them. 
There’s no such thing as a valid criticism with something subjective, no matter how long you’ve played something 

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31 minutes ago, Thor said:

 

 

 

I made my comments when I was up to episode 8, having poured over twenty hours into the game. My comments aren't hot takes at all; they're valid, qualified criticism of the game's systems and gameplay. 

Im at about 18 hours and I’m still on episode 3 :D

 

am absolutely loving it . GOTY status confirmed 

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19 minutes ago, Thor said:

The bike physics are objectively bad in this game. 


Right... something only you seem to be complaining about. Seems pretty subjective to me especially from my counter viewpoint world where there’s literally nothing wrong with how the bike handles unless it’s a subjective preference on how the handling is set up, which no one can do anything about. 

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11 hours ago, Thor said:

The bike physics are objectively bad in this game. 


I think you’re mistaking bad physics for game physics.

The physics engine will have stabilisers to help keep you upright otherwise it would be a complete nightmare to ride. As soon as you hit anything it would be lights out under normal physics so the game tries to keep you on track. This is why weird things happen when bumping into the environment.
 

Personally, I find the the whole argument a bit moot. The way I see it, you shouldn’t be riding the bike over awkward ground, you should be looking at the environment and determining how to tackle it.

 

Having successfully built a road I would, for example, rake down the road on the bike, find a place to park it and then traverse the final part on foot. I have the bionic leg supports at level 3 so I can run, jump, double jump and get around terrain much easier then trying to ride a bike over it. 
 

Raking down a road on a bike is super satisfying, especially if you’re boosting. I’m getting pinged by mules as I whizz by and I’m like yea, good luck trying to catch me, fellas.

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Done about 8 hours. Every single comment I’d read before playing this is accurate. It is simultaneously the best thing ever and the most ridiculous and infuriating thing ever. I’m just happy it exists.

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I’ve never known who to ‘single out’ with a strand contract — maybe I should just make some at random to build out a sense of familiarity?

 

Had a nice moment earlier - wondered what absolute legend had put a rope in just the right spot. 
 

Turns out it was me earlier in my travels!

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I'm probably approaching the endgame and it's fair to say that I'm pretty mixed on the whole thing. I kinda wished they leaned harder into fixing up and enhancing things, and toned down the BT encounters. Those aren't scary in the least - they're irritating, intrusive and a boring slog to get through. It wasn't long before I started letting myself get dragged down on purpose just to get it over with so that I could get my vehicle through whatever area they were in.

 

This often had the side effect of my vehicle, which was miles away from where I was grabbed, spewing all my stored items out and having to tediously load everything back into the cargo bed from the immediate area.

 

It does evoke the 'road trip' mindset fairly well, though - even though it's less a trip and more a bitter struggle to get from A to B (though I've never really had any issues with any of my deliveries - I don't think I've ever had less than an S rank). In some ways it brings to mind FFXV in the size of the world, things to gawp at and just going on a nice little journey to take in the sights. It also reminds me on some of Volition's games due to the way vehicles control - some areas gave off Red Faction Guerrilla vibes, and reclaiming chunks of the world reminds me a bit of Saints Row 2 in the way map sections are brought to heel by plonking a road down on them. It's not like the mules suddenly get replaced by your own dudes, but it's a feeling that crossed my mind a few times.

 

I wish it leaned harder into the rebuilding aspect though - sure, roads and various methods of zipping around the place are nice, but once the road pops up the area feels 'done'. The drive's nice for a little bit, but ten hours later it's less appealing. I'd like to see burger stands and shit popping up, nail that American feel that the script ab-so-lutely loves to impose every chance it ever gets in a land that doesn't exactly evoke images of America.

 

Unlike, say, Metal Wolf Chaos XD which was the most American thing since the American Flag was taped eating a burger and fries while riding around on horseback blasting a shotgun into the air last week. Seriously, screw Sam Bridges. Michael Wilson should have been the main character of this, and he's building a mech to reclaim the White House. Why? Because he is the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

 

Sorry. I think my time in the wilderness has caused my mind to go places. Wonderful, exceptional places.

 

Oh, and having to skip cutscene three or more times to skip Sam taking a shower, going to sleep, etc is downright excessive.

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I don't think this is really what I expected to be honest. When I got hold of the ladder and anchor I thought that would lead into gameplay akin to a sandbox puzzler where you use your equipment to carefully pick routes through rocky terrain while managing your stamina but that hasn't really materialised. Probably because you can only really carry a couple of ladders and anchors with you at any one time so they feel less like essential gameplay elements and more like a 'nice to have'. 

 

Obviously there's a lot of navigating but it's not really thoughtful navigating. It's usually quite clear where you have to go and there's no real challenge to it. For all the talk pre-release of falling over a lot there's really no need to given how all-powerful L2+R2 is, and using that button combination is certainly preferable to the tedium of watching him sway around like a drunk stumbling through the Peak District.

 

It's definitely absorbing and full of interesting ideas (conceptually at least, I detest the writing and storytelling and already couldn't care less about the plot and its cast of exposition machines) but I'd struggle to say it's much else other than busywork. Immaculately produced, satisfying, conceptually fascinating busywork, but busywork all the same.

 

From the mash square combat to the boring BT sections to the trivial environment navigation, it rarely demands anything of players other than an input of time and patience. It certainly scratches an itch and can be very beautiful and atmospheric but it feels akin to something like a deviously addictive clicker game with a blockbuster budget. 

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Kojima needs to get help from someone who can actually write a coherent tale. 
 

He’s absolutely brim full of ideas, and a whole load of them seem to be fantastic in the game, but he’s absolutely appalling at controlling himself. He’s marginally better at it than David sodding Cage, but that’s mainly because his ideas are actually interesting.

 

He needs an editor, and he needs someone there to force him in this, because the whole last few hours of Death Stranding are so over indulgent it’s almost painful to watch. Literally none of it was necessary and felt like someone who just does not know when to say ‘cut’.

 

 

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If you crouch when decending steep inclines you don't slip. Also obvious but if you auto Arrange your cargo it maximises the balance, so rather than having a crazy tall selection of cargo it pops them all over you. 

 

Spent a week with this and as bizarre as it is I think its my GOTY

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Yeah, this is easily my GOTY and one of the strangest and most compelling games I’ve ever played. I’m really pushing for 5 star ratings on every depot so even though I’ve been playing it solidly since it came out, I’m still on chapter 3. 
I’ve e been really enjoying adding more components and buildings to the first few opening areas and it’s really satisfying getting feedback from other players when they use them. 
There’s some maddeningly reductive comments in here a couple posts up, but alas... I don’t understand why. It’s a weird and unique experience and I’m so thankful it was made. 

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Yeah I'm having a good time playing this today, but none of the criticism in this thread seems unjustified.

 

Ridiculous levels of satisfaction gained from building roads though :D

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The contrast between me blasting through MULE territory on my bike flipping them off as I selflessly risk my life for my customers’ precious cargo, and me internally screaming “fuck your parcels” and flailing empty-handed towards the horizon the second the black goo appears is a real pleasure in this.

 

I can’t figure out whether Kojima should have made a simple systems based online parcel game  and released it a year ago for a fraction of the budget, or if the extremely expensive Hollywood A/V branding extravaganza is genuinely elevating things.

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24 minutes ago, Alex W. said:

I can’t figure out whether Kojima should have made a simple systems based online parcel game  and released it a year ago for a fraction of the budget, or if the extremely expensive Hollywood A/V branding extravaganza is genuinely elevating things.

 

The first one. Kojima's good at concepts, he's good at directing scenes, but he's woefully inadequate when it comes to writing them or showing any semblance of restraint whatsoever. All the people in this game are walking Wikipedia articles, and you're gonna have to read every single line on each particular entry unless you're willing to outright skip cutscenes.

 

I've gotten a bit further still since my last post and I'm... man, this is a slog now. I was pretty 'up' on the experience for a while, but it absolutely has an expiration date once you've built the roads. It's like climbing a mountain, getting to the top and suddenly realizing that there's no more mountain to climb. Just the long, slow descent with Kojima babbling bullshit in your ear the whole way down.

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4 hours ago, JoeK said:

Kojima needs to get help from someone who can actually write a coherent tale. 
 

He’s absolutely brim full of ideas, and a whole load of them seem to be fantastic in the game, but he’s absolutely appalling at controlling himself. He’s marginally better at it than David sodding Cage, but that’s mainly because his ideas are actually interesting.

 

He needs an editor, and he needs someone there to force him in this, because the whole last few hours of Death Stranding are so over indulgent it’s almost painful to watch. Literally none of it was necessary and felt like someone who just does not know when to say ‘cut’.

 

 

 

I've not got that far, but the constant inane chitchat from the depot personnel gets really old too. It's always the same overly enthusiastic message written slightly differently. "Sam you're a hero, lets connect America, lets bring everyone together, you've inspired me to go out and do stuff". It's the same for making deliveries and Diehardman won't shut up about it either. Look at the stuff that's in the emails from the very same people, that content is way more interesting. Have them thank Sam briefly, and then drop tidbits about other subjects instead of the same old tired "you're great, lets connect America together!". I have actually started skipping the dialogue at depots because it's so stale. Sometimes the dialogue is good, others its just awful, whether its Kojima who wrote it or his team, someone needed to take a step back and look at the overall thing and start making changes. It's not a big issue but it makes it much harder to be invested in the themes and story when its rammed down your throat constantly.

 

Minor mechanical spoilers ahead:

 

Anyway, back in the game I'm having a blast on Episode 5, don't have time to talk about it now but remember how I was worried about ziplines being everywhere? Well it isn't the case (yet) and I spent about an hour last night making an epic set of connecting zipwires from a waystation in the mountains all the way down to a depot in the flatlands, with some segments where you're like inches from craggy rocks beneath your feet. It's awesome!

 

I think our fears of new areas being already built up by players (either now or in a months time) are unfounded. It seems clear by now that the game has some balancing systems in place to make sure that the road networks are not completed too fast or all at once, same with zip wires and other structures. For example I have only seen other players complete a road in a few spots, most of them I've had to either build from scratch myself or put the finishing touches to. Same with the zip wires, I have only found a few random zip wire stations around, and only one already connected so far. I'm sure the game is deliberately only putting a few in there so you don't just have finished zip wire routes going all over the place, which would trivialise the experience. It's cleverly filtering other player structures to make sure you have to do work yourself. Its only vehicles they seem to have dropped the ball on this as they're still everywhere, to the point it actually gets annoying as they can be parked in roads or obstucting entrances so you have to move them. So far I can't find any way to delete them so I'm hoping the timefall will eventually get rid of them.

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What drives me mad the most are the the repeated instructions. Seconds after one NPC tells you you can do x you get a call saying the same damned thing. The game fucking trolls you at times. I really think the traversal, exploration and social aspect of the game is great, like genuinely could have been Breath of the Wild great, but it needed an editor man. Fuck.

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2 hours ago, Thor said:

They're not reductive, at all. People are playing the game, and have genuine issues with it. It's an enjoyable game that has inherent flaws. It's baffling that you fail to understand this. 


It wasn’t actually directed at you. Flaws are subjective and I understand that people can feel that way so why the bafflement? 
I don’t, and no one has to respect “flaws” that other people have when from my point of view it’s all moot and not a real issue. 

My actual real issue with the game is the Barely readable tiny UI that was obviously made by a UI dev with their nose pressed up against the screen. Other stuff is just complaining that the game isn’t something else that that person has preconceived in their head, which seems really futile. 

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