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Death Stranding - Kojima at it again

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And done. 50 hours exactly.

 

It’s a flawed masterpiece. A fascinating and crazy blend of a range of sciences (cosmology, evolutionary biology, geophysics, archaeology, extinction theory) and a range of spiritual beliefs and historical sociology, a truly stunning game world, it just feels so solid and real. It’s the best looking game I’ve ever played, incredible detail and craftsmanship throughout, superb soundscape, great music, great performances on the whole, but some patchy writing that labours the point like crazy - but that goes with the Kojima territory.

 

On which note, up to about 46 hours in it was a solid 9/10 or higher. But that was my last meaningful interaction.

Spoiler

Killing the big whale BT near the home base.

 

There then follows a barely interactive series of massively drawn out overblown cutscenes and ‘push forward to launch next cutscene’ sequences that genuinely do last around 4 hours, much of which offers no save points, though I might be autosaving in the background. It’s all plot relevant, but could have been done in 20 minutes max.
 

This makes the ending of Return of the King look like a fucking paragon of directorial self-control. To be honest it broke my spirit - I was praying for it to end. Easily knocked a mark off that score, and left a sour taste from what was otherwise an amazing experience.


A real shame, but of course I would still recommend it based on everything that goes before it. Just know that its closing hours utterly disrespect your time, and will likely test your patience to the very limit.

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Just go back to delivering again and it goes back to a solid 9/10 ^_^

 

I agree though. The last few hours did leave a bit of a sour taste. 
 

Put this in spoilers just in case for anyone who’s finished the story -

 

Spoiler

I just found the whole story quite boring. A bit underwhelming really after all the batshit mental stuff from metal gear. The game was dealing with all kinds of themes but it felt a bit dull and there never felt like was any sense of urgency.

 

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13 hours ago, jonamok said:

There then follows a barely interactive series of massively drawn out overblown cutscenes and ‘push forward to launch next cutscene’ sequences that genuinely do last around 4 hours, much of which offers no save points, though I might be autosaving in the background. It’s all plot relevant, but could have been done in 20 minutes max.
 

This makes the ending of Return of the King look like a fucking paragon of directorial self-control. To be honest it broke my spirit - I was praying for it to end. Easily knocked a mark off that score, and left a sour taste from what was otherwise an amazing experience.


A real shame, but of course I would still recommend it based on everything that goes before it. Just know that its closing hours utterly disrespect your time, and will likely test your patience to the very limit.

 

Not sure that it's 4 hours long and there's plenty of break points (that we found) but you're right. There's too much. There's a few conversations that could have happened earlier and been more spread out so that some of the scenes could have been given time to breathe. Kojima also seems to have this weird thing where he doesn't trust the audience to make the connections, there were at least five times where my partner and I had made the plot connections only to have another character spell it out slowly to us. It's weird, you can tell by the trailers that Kojima knows how to edit, he just needs to wield that knife!

 

It reminds me a lot of another major game from a few years ago where the writer talked in an interview about how they had written and recorded half an hour of dialogue for the end but ended up cutting it back to almost three sentences. Two of which contained one word.

 

For me it was

 

the first credits / fake ending on the beach.

that tried my patience Way way too long.

 

Still we're playing on in post game now, must build those roads!

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Despite the urge to lay more roads and other infrastructure, the fact that it all does (however gradually) get destroyed by 'timefall' puts me off bothering, unless it is genuinely a suuuuper slow degradation.

 

Either way, much as I loved Death Stranding, and found it compulsive, 50 hours is plenty for now, and I'll move onto other stuff that I have on the go. Getting back into Switcher 3 for starters, put about 50 hours into that so far and need to get back, especially with the show due this week, which will potentially add a lot to the experience.

 

I will come back to DS eventually, as that world is a huge draw. And re. the 4-hour ending, check your save file time for the fight against the last BT and the first one in the last Episode. Pretty sure it was about 3-4 hours for me (so yeah, might be a slight exaggeration, but it's actually waaaaay longer than the 2 hours that was reported, itself to some disgruntlement). :)

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Is anyone else playing this without PS Plus? Is the environment just completely empty? Can you still get the 'likes' and other online player interaction things that I've read about?

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5 minutes ago, Jamie John said:

Is anyone else playing this without PS Plus? Is the environment just completely empty? Can you still get the 'likes' and other online player interaction things that I've read about?

 

It's not required for the online element of this game.

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I've only played the first half hour of this but it's made a pretty damn strong impression so far. The opening few cinematics have been really engaging, it sounds great and looks even better. I'm looking forward to spending some more time with it.

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34 minutes ago, Jamie John said:

I've only played the first half hour of this but it's made a pretty damn strong impression so far. The opening few cinematics have been really engaging, it sounds great and looks even better. I'm looking forward to spending some more time with it.

Yeah just done the first couple of hours and so far so good. Wasn't the first 8 or so hours meant to be painful to play? 

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Not for me. It’s mechanics are mostly great from the off. The menus take a wee while to click, but the bigger text now helps.

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Currently at 65hours and still in chapter 8 . Every now and again I will advance the story , but mostly I am collecting stars and making sure I don’t have any gaps in the map . There is something very satisfying about increasing the chiral network so you can

link up across the mountains with zip lines . I can go from the weather station to the roboticist to mountain knot city , to the mountaineer , to the spiritualist to the distro centre north of mountain knot with my feet barely touching the ground

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Oh man, I’ve been playing other games for a few weeks, but really keen to jump back in and immerse myself in DS again over Christmas. 

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20 hours ago, Parappa said:

Yeah just done the first couple of hours and so far so good. Wasn't the first 8 or so hours meant to be painful to play? 

 

Indeed. Tbh, I don't know where that came from. The game got my full attention from the very start.

 

 

The sad thing will be that while the absolutely overrated TLoU got universally praised for being "the most riveting, emotionally resonant story-driven epic of this console generation" (lol. I suppose they mean the cheap emotional tricks story-based corridor shooter with -even by 2013 standards- outdated cover-mechanics), this is already seen as a Kojima curio, and much overhyped walking simulator by some reviewers. While personally, I think DS has got TLoU beaten in just about every department.

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What The Last of Us has over Death Stranding is much better editing. I felt sometimes that Kojima didn’t trust the audience to get some of the story beats and often follow up the perfect scene with another character clumsily explaining what just happened.

 

Even so, it doesn’t matter how clunky the plot gets most of the headline actors put in amazing performances. Mads Mikkelson especially.

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I cannot wait to sit down Xmas day with this with a large amount of alcohol and cigars.  And I don't care if I have to watch hours of bonkers Kojima cut scenes. 

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On 19/12/2019 at 19:51, Keyboard Koala said:

 

 While personally, I think DS has got TLoU beaten in just about every department.

 

I don't usually like completely writing off someone's opinion but if you think DS has better written dialogue than TLOU you're a complete madman. 

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I honestly do. I was playing them both at the same time - was, because I gave up on TLoU after a few hours in (I did play through the whole thing back in 2015), and while Kojima never tried to hide the fact that he wants to blur the lines between movies and games with his work, and is often criticized for it, he still loves to toy with the gameplay elements to the point of ridicule and cliché. Yet it is exactly this intentional and sometimes clumsy acknowledgement and implementation of the limitations of this medium versus films that makes it all the more endearing in my eyes. As opposed to the all too serious approach of Naughty Dog's effort where -imo- they keep trying but never quite succeed in reaching what has been described as emotionally resonant storytelling. To me it was just one hackneyed line and setting after the other.

 

I do think Kojima's sometimes clumsy and lighthearted approach when trying to emulate a more cinematic experience is much more preferable than the overwrought and all too serious approach of Naughty Dog. But that's just my opinion of course.

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I'm a couple of hours more in now. I'm still enjoying it, but so far it really is a walking simulator with lots of cut-scenes. It's still all very compelling, however.

 

Do you find out what the hell is going on anytime soon? I'm up to the bit where you agree 

Spoiler

to reconnect all the cities after you speak to the hologram of Amelie, who I think is supposed to be Sam's sister, but then is voiced by the same actress who voiced his mother (I think), before you hauled her corpse up a mountain and burnt her in an incinerator, anyway.

 

I've figured out some stuff, but I've no idea where the BBs come from, or what's actually happened to the world, or where everyone is, or what Sam was doing prior to the beginning of the game, or why he didn't realise that his mother, who he hadn't seen in years, was the president of the country.

 

Do you find the answers to this stuff later, or is it all just left to your own imagination?

 

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And done, total play time around the 70 hour mark  . Easily my GOTY by some distance . And it’s probably going on my games of the decade list.
 

@Jamie John everything gets answered . Eventually , but you are a long long way from that . And the delivery aspect doesn’t change , but your methods of traversal do . 

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Am I supposed to be putting the lost cargo I find in the letter boxes or not. It says something like 'Entrust to another player', but I'm playing offline. I still seem to get likes for posting them, however. I can't say I understand the Likes system at all.

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