Derik Badman's Journal

2019-12-10 21:30

Just, I think, finished Death Stranding. I say, I think, because it is now the second time the credits have rolled, and if showing the credits twice during the game is super weird and annoying, showing them three times seems unbelievable. This game is... a big mess. It's like a game about walking and being a post-apocalyptic postal service mixed with a small amount of fighting game, mixed with a weird (and very bad) motion captured sci-fi movie. I read that Kojima, the director, wants to move into movies and this feels like his really awful attempt to mix what he has become famous for (games) with something he wants to do that he is clearly ill-suited for, making a mix that is... frustrating and annoying, and sometimes fun in between. After the crazy beginning I already mentioned, the ending is endless. There is like an hour or more of "game" that is tons of endless cut scenes with characters talking about stuff that had no real bearing on the actual play of the game, intercut with token elements where you can sort of do stuff with your control. But those parts are all severely limited and, in context, completely pointless, because there is still only one result. In fact, in all of this game there seemed no point where the narrative would actually be different.

This article from IGN does a pretty good job summing up some of the good and bad of the game. I find myself agreeing with a lot of it.

By the end (the endless end), I was just skipping through the cut scenes because they were so slow and it had become obvious they weren't going to really serve any purpose other than letting this narrative about a bunch of NPCs play out. Even from a narrative logic standpoint (as opposed to just a gaming one) much of it made no sense. Not just world building that was never explained, but even the main conflict seems like it could have happened without any of the intervening elements. One of the enemies was built up as this bad boss guy and was in some scenes given inexplicable and seemingly boundless powers and then in the end he wasn't even the end. You defeat him and then there's still endless more, and the story never gets around to explaining why that guy was of any important or served any purpose at all.

By the end it was more like watching a car crash than playing a game. I just got curious to see where it was all going to go even though I stopped caring about any of it. And... of boy, post second rolling of the credits there are... more cut scenes! Oh more credits... And a summary and oh my, it says I spent 34 hours on this game. That seems unbelievable. I wonder how many of those were spent in cut scenes.