Death Stranding: The First Hour

After months of unnerving wait Death Stranding, Hideo Kojima’s latest work is finally in stores. I got the game yesterday in the late afternoon, and I immediately delved into it (well, wife and sone permitting) to finally take a close look at a product that is already known for being … actually, no one knows what!

During all these years Kojima-san has trained us to expect the unexpected, always delivering products that went beyond the established schemes even when they were part of an already existing franchise (Metal Gear Solid 5, anyone?). Also, he is worldwide known to be the one who invents new genres, making each one of his new IPs a milestone of modern gaming. There are people out there who went for early-access options and others (like official magazines and websites) that already published a full game review. If you already read some of those articles it is entirely possible that you have a different opinion on this game but, for what I have personally seen so far, we are here witnessing something that has never been seen before.

The preceding video shows us the first minutes of the game, where full-animated videos and real gameplay blend into each other continuously, making the game almost an interactive movie. Unlike the ones produced by Quantic Dreams though, the gameplay is totally different, yet the narrative style is the typical Kojima’s one. I know I am already confusing you since I am confusing myself as well, but at the moment I have no other way to explain it. What I can tell you for sure is that the game is full of pathos from the very first minutes, but it is also extremely relaxing and prone to environment exploration at the same time. The graphics, by the way, are “simple” but outstanding IMHO.

Your first assignment when you gain player control is to get back to the city and deliver some goods you were asked for: Sam Bridges (the main character, here with the likenesses of Norman Reedus) is a porter; this is what he does for a living. Once in the city, you will immediately be introduced to other to key protagonists, interpreted by famous movie director Guillermo Del Toro (yes, Kojima loves him since the failed attempt at revamping Silent Hill saga) and actress Lindsay Wagner (who probably was my first love when, as a teenager in the late 70s, I used to watch The Bionic Woman TV show).

Lindsay plays the role of the US President on a death-bed vigil, but before encountering her you will have to complete a new assignment, one that will put your life at stakes as you can see in the following pictures and video.

I don’t know about you, but I still personally cannot understand which kind of game this is (action-adventure? horror? just a walking simulator?). For the time being, I just filed it under PS4 and only time will tell. Kojima-san has always surprised me in all his games, and I have a feeling he will do it again. Maybe time will prove me wrong, but for the moment I can’t wait for the next gaming session! Stay tuned for more.

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