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"Death Stranding" in the test: as silly as touching


Stranded whales, the rain of time and a lone messenger who reconnects a ruined America: Hideo Kojima's "Death Stranding" is original, political and highly complex - and one of the games of the year.

Spoiler Note: This test roughly reveals what the game is about.

At the end of "Death Stranding" you almost forgot the beginning. Who gave an order why and why you actually set off. In the beginning the game was boring. That's still remembered. Long hikes through the rain, through barren landscapes. Hide in between, dodge monsters, transport packages. Stumbling, if you have too much weight on your back, creeping while wading through rivers. And that was always beautiful to look at.

"Death Stranding" is the new game by Hideo Kojima. With the "Metal Gear" series, the Japanese has become one of the few stars of the developer scene. He has created a new game form between film and game. Long film scenes suggest stories, float in the vague and pregnant with meaning and contrast it with the game sequences, in which "Metal Gear" was about sneaking and camouflaging.

"Death Stranding" is about deliveries. To packages that are to be transported from place to place. It's about the paths in between, about resistance. To the parting and the connecting.

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For a long time, it seems that "Death Stranding" is primarily a project that deals with Kojima himself, his genius, his friends from the film world. Too much pat on the palms with Guillermo del Toro or Norman Reedus, too many hints, too many cryptic messages in social networks and too little actual play. Should that actually consist of directing a fully loaded protagonist through barren landscapes?

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Game by Hideo Kojima: This is "Death Stranding"

A fascinating game

A correct answer would be a short "yes". The long answer begins with a "yes" and the wonder that this simple basic formula has become one of the most intriguing games of recent times.

This is also due to the history, which is filled with allusions to our time, our coexistence. So full of meta-levels, hidden clues, is that you can spend weeks alone decoding them. Basically, the story is a very simple dystopia, which could be a fitting description of the current world when looking at the news.

After a major disaster, there is little life left in the country that was once the US. The protagonist Sam Porter Bridges is a courier who travels between the few places still filled with life and delivers important things. He gets the order to connect these places to a network. He should expand the UCA, the United Cities of America, and make it into a working community.

For this he gets a stored in a mobile incubator baby helper strapped and makes his way. To the west, to the new borders. He meets recluses, pioneers, fearful survivors. Fight bandits or avoid them. Escape creatures that crawl out of oily sludge and have to protect themselves from the rain that makes time run faster and makes things age.

Friend, enemy, sometimes both at the same time

Because the game is of Kojima and the superhero likes, here also beings with supernatural abilities should not be missing. The hot Higgs, Fragile, Heartman, Deadman or Die-Hardman. They are friend, foe, sometimes both at the same time. They talk about the beings from the mud, about the beach from which they come, the strands that connect us. Follow their goals and shape the future according to their ideas. They determine the intermediate films, but hardly occur in the actual game. In fact, you're mostly alone.

Only in boss fights turns a lot. There are sudden trips to spanking games or shooters, but these allow you to appreciate the uniformity of the other game. The errands that take over or take away for over a dozen hours. To provide for people. To satisfy basic needs. Maybe it's about revealing what players like to do: completing orders without asking for meaning. To make sense of oneself. Just like here, where you can go to secret paths, to avoid confrontation or to face the enemies.

Background product tests in the network world department

Where you can build bridges, build shelters or even streets later. Where one sees his tracks in the wilderness and notices how some paths are leaked while others remain a path. This game has a memory.

So you put your own network on the landscape, the game opens up slowly and not only noticed by the words of thanks of the caring, how important cooperation is. More and more, the importance of the online game creeps into the action. Combines your own world with those of other players.

You can feel the others

The online game is essential for "Death Stranding", although you never see the other players, you can feel them. In the beginning, one wonders only about new generators that stand around in the area, about a shelter or about lost packages. Soon you learn to divide things, to finish buildings or even to help in combat. Just like you find ladders or ropes on steep places, roads get built. Networking with the other opens up one's own world.

Thus, "Death Stranding" becomes a game about networks, the desire of people to connect, to live in groups - or at least to feel that way. It maps the strands of a network. Shows different paths to the same goal, does not judge, but lets everything stand side by side. Sometimes you find three private bunkers next to each other, sometimes there are generators in a row.

For the most part, however, everything blends into a world in which people connect, show their idiosyncrasies. In which above all the connecting is important, not the dividing one. But to understand that, you must have wandered long and hard through barren landscapes to enjoy the rescue shelter that a stranger left there.

"Death Stranding" by Kojima Productions, for Playstation 4 and 2020 also for PC, about 70 Euro; USK: From 16 years

Source: spiegel

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