Death Stranding AI
The game everyone has been waiting for since the first trailer in 2016 oozes creative freedom, both good and bad.
An art piece with many flaws
After living in a haze of confusing info from various trailers and Twitter messages from creator Hideo Kojima , I can finally say that "Death stranding" is out.
No one quite knew what this was about, but after spending over 40 hours analyzing the game, I can say with all enthusiasm that it offers a game world I've never seen before.
It should be mentioned that this is a game of special interest and some will even find it boring. I, on the other hand, cost me a great deal, despite a somewhat unnecessary obscure storytelling and little inspired boss fights.
A world between the dead and the living is mixed together in an apocalyptic event aptly called " the death stranding". Most of wildlife is extinct and America (or the United Cities of America, as it is now called) is completely unrecognizable.
Buildings are gone, and the landscape you are in has more similarities to something extraterrestrial than to the earth itself.
You play Sam Porter Bridges (played by actor Norman Reedus ), a relatively quiet guy who likes to get the job done. He carries packages from end to end in a landscape that is extremely inaccessible to vehicles.
MULES: One of the game's main enemies, which is literally dependent on packages.
PHOTO: KOJIMA PRODUCTIONS
When characters die in this world, a kind of portal opens to the dead. To avoid this, all corpses must be burned. During an urgent mission to do just that, Sam and his colleagues drive straight into an area that intersects with " Beached Things" or "BTs" - or ghosts, as we call them in good Norwegian.
They are obviously assaulted and one of Sam's colleagues is swallowed up by something resembling a being from an HP Lovecraft story. Then something called a " voidout " is created , which leaves behind an atomic bomb-like crater with a large, black handprint in the middle.
Sam gets back to safety and after a lot of introductions and foreign words we get our main mission: to link post-apocalyptic America to "The Chiral Network", which is a type of "Internet 2.0".
It has to be thought about a bit (since Sam doesn't seem to want it at all) - for personal reasons. A certain event happens, Sam changes his mind, and we're on our way across America.
Strangulation, ghosts and likes
Along the way, pick up packages to be shipped from one person to the next. This is where the bulk of the gameplay happens. There is a lot of stroll in the woods and fields, but fortunately both the forest and the fields are strikingly beautiful and full of challenges.
You are faced with difficult terrain that requires planning, rain that makes time go faster, people who will steal your packages, and not least: ghosts.
The first time I encountered these ghosts I got a horrifying sense of cosmic horror . You are equipped with a Bridge Baby or a "BB", which helps you to pinpoint where the ghosts are.
BRIDGE BABY: It can be a bit annoying with baby crying in intense fights, but BB is clearly a favorite character.
PHOTO: KOJIMA PRODUCTIONS
Sometimes the ghosts can be seen, other times they are a little more shy. But one thing is for sure. They are there. And they can take you. Because before you know it, human-like creatures emerge from nothing that grabs you and holds you tight.
And should you be so unlucky to be dragged under, an even bigger shadow-like creature emerges resembling a blend of whales and squid. Killing this leaves you with a giant crater where the battle took place, which can be difficult to navigate around in the future.
Although the nasty creatures are a disturbing bunch, they are relatively easy to escape. That also applies to the rest of the enemies in the game. The first time I died was 15 hours into the game, and that was because of a river that turned out to be a little too deep.
BEACHED THINGS: Another main enemy of the game. Even if you get stuck on the arm of these creatures, they are relatively easy to escape
PHOTO: KOJIMA PRODUCTIONS
For both experienced and inexperienced players, I would definitely recommend the highest level of difficulty.
Progression happens in the form of "likes" and basically behaves like " experience points / XP", which is a kind of scoring system. At the end of each assignment, you will receive equal clicks and a rating based on, among other things, the speed, quantity and damage of the packages you have delivered.
The system can be overwhelming at first, but is satisfying when you begin to realize it. Especially when you " lift up" and can carry more on your back, or give more clicks to other players.
Alone, but not lonely
In the game, you usually walk nuts alone, with just BB and your packages as a company. Fortunately, the game is partially online.
As you connect people to the web you will have access to bridges, roads and packages that other players have left behind. Other players can also leave tips or alerts about what awaits you, or just a small greeting.
You will also get "likes" from other players if you deliver packages they have lost or dropped.
You can complete buildings that other players have started, which is often worthwhile. For example, building roads requires a lot of resources, but it is definitely worth the effort and you can collaborate on the task.
Suddenly, you can spend a fraction of the time you would normally spend on the same path. Although you never see the other players, there is something cool about finding a rope or ladder and knowing that right here someone else has also figured out how to tackle this ground.
Exciting universe, but want more
The world of Death Stranding is set in feels unique, but not in a tangible way. I want to know everything, and I look forward to delving into various wikis and theories people have around the game.
The main characters are solid and original, and the music creates many goosebump moments as you wander through the landscape. And while it doesn't sound particularly sexy on paper, it is somewhat relaxing and entertaining by trudging up and down the cracks and mountains with a full-backpack.
I only wish we heard more from Sam. He grunts, hums and talks to himself a little while walking around, but I want more. When you have delivered the package and got a boast and pat on the back, Sam just stands there and doesn't say a single word.
I also miss several opportunities. I want greater variety in enemies, and even greater variety in weapons and gadgets . I want more vehicles and exciting ways to get around the world.
And especially; I want to do more cool things with DOOMs , that is Sam's innate ability to know that ghosts are nearby. It would have been cool if we could, for example, develop this sixth sense and use some kind of kinetic force against enemies. I don't know, I just want to do more stuff in this game.
EQUIPMENT: Player offers an incredibly beautiful world, but it requires you to have the right equipment.
PHOTO: KOJIMA PRODUCTIONS
Not deleted for everyone
I do not regret the over 40 hours I have spent so far on this game, but it could have been even better. It can feel a little spasmodic to move around, both in vehicles and on foot.
Towards the middle of the game, several muddy missions show up and the boss fighter fights aren't much to brag about.
You should also consider a lot of reading if you really want to get the whole story with you.
A good deal of information is mentioned in the e-statements in the mail from people you have helped, and of course you have a constantly updated library mounted on your wrist. Personally, I am a slave to the back story of games and other pop culture, so this does nothing to me.
On the other hand, I realize that not everyone is equally keen on reading when they really want to play computer games, and this is where my conclusion lands.
Death Stranding is a love / hate game, which shows up well on the various reviews that have emerged over the past week. Some give Dice 3, others give 6. But despite all the flaws this game has, I land on a Dice 5.
Death Stranding is a work of art, and it is crystal clear that Hideo and everyone else in Kojima Productions have put their soul into this. I never encountered any strange bugs or glitches .
I think about the game about once every two minutes - and I'm left with the same feeling as when I played through Red Dead Redemption 2:
"The deaf seeking this was good. It was a long way. Maybe a little too far. But dope it was good ”.