Death Stranding - Análisis
Kojima, that mind
Before we dive into Death Stranding itself, we'd like to review where it came from. Let us remember that, for many years, Hideo Kojima was linked to Konami, developing for them, with great success, the different installments of the Metal Gear Solid saga (created by himself), among other things. After Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Kojima teamed up with his colleague Guillermo del Toro to create PT, which recently returned to PC via emulation.
PT was nothing more than a horror demo - with which they managed to make everyone's hair stand on end - that would serve as a preview of Silent Hills, a title in which Kojima and Del toro would collaborate under the supervision of Konami. But everything was cut short when the creative differences between Hideo Kojima and the company's leaders came to light, leading to the departure of the Konami creative and the cancellation of the project.
Thus, Hideo Kojima decided to create Kojima Productions as an independent studio and rely on Sony, a company with which he has maintained an excellent relationship over the years, to find financing that would allow him to develop the game he had always wanted to make. The result is this Death Stranding, a particular adventure for which he has had part of the team that was going to participate in that Silent Hills as Guillermo del Toro himself, who this time only puts his image on one of the characters in the game, or Norman Reedus, who plays the main character of the adventure just like he was going to do in Konami's survival horror.
London Bridge is Falling Down
As is customary in Kojima's works, Death Stranding presents a complex story, difficult to understand at first, but which becomes more meaningful as the game progresses . On this occasion, we find ourselves before a United States totally destroyed by a terrorist attack that caused the separation of the states and the world of the dead invaded that of the living. Thus, EVs (stranded entities) threaten to destroy humanity , always appearing accompanied by rainfall, called declines, which accelerate the passage of time.
In this fractured world, President Bridget has the dream of reuniting the country to form the so-called United Cities of America and for this she needs to establish a chiral network that allows them to exchange data instantly between the different cities of the territory. This is where the figure of the messenger Sam, the protagonist of Death Stranding played by Norman Reedus, comes in . On her deathbed, Bridget instructs Sam to establish said chiral network, connecting each of the cities that still remain standing thanks to her Q-PIDO, a device that she wears around her neck and that has great plot importance, therefore that we will not give more details about it.
As if it were not enough pressure that Sam has to connect the different regions to the chiral network, on his trip he has an even more important mission, to rescue Amelie (Lindsay Wagner), the president's daughter, who has been kidnapped by the terrorists led by Higgs (Troy Baker) . But why choose Sam for this mission? Simple, for its connection with the afterlife.
Sam is a renegade, a name acquired by people who are capable of returning from the dead, and he has DOOMS, a special ability that allows him to perceive the presence of EVs . Therefore, he is the most suitable person to travel across the continent uniting the American people again since he can dodge the EVs and face Higgs, who has a DOOMS even greater than his, to the point that he can summon to the stranded entities.
Luckily for Sam, on this trip he has BB, a tool that consists of an unborn baby placed in a jar that connects to people through an 'umbilical cord' and that allows connecting to the afterlife to detect the presence of EV in the environment . In addition, he also has important allies that help him make his mission more bearable and understand what is happening in the world since the Death stranding occurred and the EVs appeared. They are Deadman (Guillermo del Toro), Fragile (Léa Seydoux), Mama (Margaret Qualley), Heartman (Nicolas Winding Renf), Die-Hardman (Tommie Earl Jenkins) .
And to all this, you may have noticed that we need to talk about the character that Mads Mikkelsen gives life to, but we prefer not to tell anything about him since he is one of the characters with the most interest at the narrative level of Death Stranding and we do not want to spoil the many surprises that this war veteran keeps. In the same way, we do not want to give details about Sam's allies, since each one has their own story within the game and their thing is to discover their secrets as the plot progresses. And the thing is, Hideo Kojima's new work is full of surprises , especially towards the end, where everything begins to intertwine and make sense.
So, if you have entered this analysis of Death Stranding looking for a place to better understand its history, we are sorry to tell you that you have come to the wrong place, because we will not shed any light on what happens beyond the main presentation of the world created by Kojima. Believe us when we say that Death Stranding is a trip that is worth doing without knowing too much in advance at the plot level because its script will make you sleep every night thinking about why certain things happen and when you discover it, you will end up clapping your ears.
That said, this is a slow, very slow development title, so don't expect its story to hook you from the beginning. Death Stranding is a special game that is much more about action and narrative . The title consists of a total of 14 episodes plus a prologue and its true story does not start until after 15-20 hours of play, having a total duration of about 40.5 hours without counting the secondary missions (they can be completed quietly at finish the main adventure, although we will not advance you in what way so as not to spoil the experience).
At this point it should not be something that surprises you since Hideo Kojima himself warned that Death Stranding could be fun from the middle of the game. And, to be honest, although it can be boring and monotonous at first (indeed, more than one may be tempted to leave it before the good starts), but we recommend being patient. Starting in the middle, the plot changes and the arrival of the action make the above almost forgotten, and the last 10 hours of play are simply masterful at the narrative level .
Kojima in search of the Nobel Peace Prize
If you are followers of the work of Hideo Kojima, you will know that when he developed Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, he created an achievement in his multiplayer that would jump to deactivate all the nuclear bombs in the world with the aim of applying for the Nobel Peace Prize . Well, in Death Stranding it is not that he has done anything of the kind, or at least we have not discovered it yet, but the whole game seems an ode to world peace .
Throughout the adventure, special emphasis is placed on the importance of the world being connected and that there are strong ties between people so that everything works in order. In addition, as we have already advanced, the true story of Death Stranding does not start until after 15 hours of play and this is because, until that moment, we did not have weapons or vehicles.
During the first three chapters of the game, Kojima presents us with enough cinematics to introduce us to the basics of his story and our missions are limited to walking from one place to another, handing out packages to convince different stations and cities to join the Network. Chiral. Thus, we become familiar with the controls and the exploration mechanics, which are a real delight. Sam has many challenges to overcome during his long journeys and for this he can use tools such as ladders to cross streams with ease or climb to otherwise inaccessible places, or climbing ropes, to ascend and descend ravines without risk of injury. or to damage the load with blows.
In addition, as we advance in the story we can also manufacture other pieces of equipment such as boots, gloves or special exoskeletons that help to move through certain terrain or that allow us to spend less energy (recoverable by drinking Monster cans), although they work with a battery that can be consumed very fast if we don't manage it well. But then we will talk more in depth about crafting gear and structures in Death Stranding.
In this first section of the campaign is where we understand that our main concern during the adventure will be to keep the cargo in good condition . To do this, as we say, we must be very careful that it does not suffer blows, so you have to think well how to organize it (you can choose to organize it automatically). We can put the main load to be transported in the backpack that Sam carries on his back, but also attach it to the suit (in arms and legs), or carry it in the hand (where we can protect it with our body if we fall).
Of course, the way we position the box and its weight makes Sam's point of gravity change . Luckily, one of the most remarkable exploration mechanics comes into play here. Using R2 and L2, we can control Sam's balance, which is essential when going up and down slopes or walking through stony terrain and streams. Of course, once we start to have vehicles, we can place cargo on them, although if we carry fragile materials it is not always the best thing to do since the rattling of the vehicles can damage them and make us fail in our mission.
And it is that, every time we arrive at our destination, we receive an assessment when making the delivery and depending on it, our synchronization with the destination increases in one way or another. Of course, the higher the level of synchronization, the greater rewards we can obtain from the bases and cities in question , so it is important to take care of the loads as much as possible and, on special occasions, the delivery time.
Returning to the vehicles, it should be noted that they are quite scarce (trucks, tri-wheeled motorcycles and a flying platform on which we can deposit cargo or go up if we have little) and that they are not always very useful since many times they cannot climb certain slopes, so they do not serve to quickly reach all sides. In addition, vehicles stop automatically when entering areas with a decline, making us have to continue on foot. And this is where we find another of the most interesting mechanics of Death Stranding.