You gotta keep doing Sam missions. They come up in the story.
I’m gonna role play as Johnny Susaki and leave poop grenades everywhere.
So my favorite game ever is Breath of the Wild, largely because of its systems and how it creates these rewarding feedback loops around organic, methodical exploration.
My dream from the first trailer for this game was that it would scratch that itch at least a bit… and it absolutely does. I am having the time of my life fording rivers and navigating mountains and creeping around spooky ghost things and just taking in all the ~atmosphere~. Just been absolutely nailing my vibe over these first several hours.
Hey, so does anyone know if the standard orders are eventually cleaned out, or are they supposed to be a never ending source of work for you to do alongside the Sam Missions?
Edit - Hah, one story mission after this and I just got the ‘bot controlled’ standard order option.
I’m about 18ish hours in at this point I believe? Still in Episode 3 but it feels like I’m nearing the end. I very sincerely wish there were no cutscenes, no dramatic quest to thwart The Big Bad trying to keep America from remaining whole. I know things are subject to change because Kojima loves twists, but I can’t feel connected to the vague image of America that’s being fought for. I feel especially uneasy about it because of the quipu/dream catcher imagery being tossed around like those things don’t have a deep history in the American continents? I have some small hope there’s some sort of shift in the political tone, but until then I’m trying to ignore it and interested in the story of BB.
Outside of the cutscenes and in the actual gameplay… I’m honestly emotionally moved? Seeing bridges and roads be built over time by people lugging in large hauls of material, maintaining roads for other players, building relationships with the different outposts, leaving & finding signs, the real sense of exploration and danger trekking out to connect a new area to the network… it’s heartwarming in a weird way. It legitimately does feel like you’re building a community, rebuilding the world. I cleared out a MULE camp, saw NPC porters delivering packages to an outpost in that area, called out to them and got a response. I drive around between deliveries with loads of materials to help build what people have started. Even if it’s just an illusion of collaboration, since I’m not sure how much of the building is legitimately being done by players and how much of it is programmed in, it’s convincing. The team has pulled off something incredible and unique. Playing the game feels like performing labor in a way similar to how people talked about Red Dead Redemption 2, but in such a satisfying way. I hope the story doesn’t let down the joy I get from the gameplay, but I love playing it.
I’m really liking the game so far, in a similar way to Red Dead 2 and MGS 5 before it. I think the long laboured approach it has to travel across this open world is absolutely spellbinding. There’s a level of prepartion you can administer which is great - probably one of the best game map interfaces ever a cross between MGS5 and Breath of the Wild. I love the encumberance mechanics - I love how you have to really think about what you should be picking up and prioritising, I love how arranging it all turns it into a mild version of tetris. Seeing your character wobble under a stack of boxes is probably peak Kojima in terms of how ridiculous it all is and how nuanced it all is mechanically.
I’ve been repeating this to everyone who would care to listen, but whilst most games act as power fantasies giving you ease of traversal or lots and lots of guns. The brilliance of this game is how you do labour like a baby learning to walk in the first few hours, the sense of empowerment only comes when you complete a delivery. It’s this accumulation of experience, knowledge of the map and your own technology that actually help you out. Passing this on through all the community built infrastructure does make you feel as if you are taking back the frontier.
However, I would agree that all the story and cutscenes are absolutely rubbish. I’m all for Kojima’s metaphors but I don’t need every single thing explained to me. For a game that actually stars Nicholas Winding Refn and Mads Mikkelsen it’s a wonder why Kojima didn’t take more inspiration from Valhalla Rising which basically threw you into this world with little exposition and dialogue. If the game just dumped you into this mundane thankless role as a courier making deliveries across a hellish post apocalyptic wasteland where the rainfall ages you and the boundaries between life and death have broken down - but people still need to listen to their God of War soundtracks. If you could just piece the metaphors together yourself it would be so more satisfying. I’m almost hating everytime I have to talk to Guillermo Del Toro, and buddy, I looove Guillermo Del Toro.
I’ve listened to people’s discrepancies with the game and it seems as if it lays all this stuff on with a trowel as you run up into the game’s ending. Guess it’s evidence that I should take my sweet ass time with it. I was happy doing this in MGSV even when that game didn’t even have a proper ending.
I’m still in Act 2, everybody on the social media keeps telling me that I need to book it as fast as I can to Act 3 where everything opens up a lot more but I’m enjoying my time with it currently. I got to the wind farm and unlocked the trike, which made short work of all the other deliveries. I’ve been happy going between all the different waystations, providing additional resources to improve infrastructure within the region. I’ll probably head to Fort Knox waystation next. I’m assuming this is when Chapter 3 begins…
It’s always been strange to me that Hideo Kojima’s narratives are all anyone wants to talk about when he’s clearly a better game designer than he is a story teller. (Btw, I mean that generally, y’all seem to know what’s up!) The narrative here isn’t really that strange, or even complicated, despite what the twitterverse has been saying. The metaphors are super on the nose, but most of Kojima’s stuff is that way.
What I’m REALLY enjoying about the game is the way all the systems interact. Late in Chapter 2 I was carrying an awkward and heavy load through rugged terrain when it started to rain. Now, I not only had to manage my center of gravity so I wouldn’t fall and damage the goods, but I had to traverse quickly so the rain wouldn’t degrade the cases. Soon after the BTs arrived. That put even more pressure on me; I had to stop frequently now to see where they were, and pay even closer attention to how I moved because a fall would make BB cry and bring the BTs right to me. The whole sequence was exhilarating and stressful in all the best ways.
I’m a few hours into chapter 3 now, and I’ve had a bunch more interesting scenarios play out with even more cool variables thrown into the mix. People will remember this as the game where you see a lot of Norman Reedus’ butt and Mads Mikkelsen calls himself daddy a lot (and like, show me the lie), but it should be remembered as Kojima’s best game design since MGS3.
So, I agree, I think actual main plot sucks. But I really like Sam and all these people he meets out in the wastes. I feel sorry for Sam, he has all these people he’s actually connecting with out in the wasteland, and they make sure to send him mail and thank him for all his help, but then he has to deal with weirdos like Deadman, Amelie, Fragile, and Die Hardman who all repeat the same company slogans at him and keep trying to touch him.
And it shows on Sam’s body language too! He HATES talking to everyone and shrinks away from them. Whenever Fragile invades his personal space, or HOW MANY TIMES everyone tries to shake his hand. I think in actuality, he craves the outdoors and being alone while walking about, because he has to deal with these fucking psychopaths that may or not be his mother, sister, or ex-lover.
One of my favorite developments is seeing the regular porters walking around. Though I’m not sure how they work. Sometimes they give Sam stuff, other times they just wave at him. I think it’d be cool if those porters were represented by other players though.
Yesterday as I was doing the story mission to get to the waystation West of Knot City, I had this epic bit of emergent play. I had encountered my first MULEs and frantically dashed to evade them, finding a rope to repel down a rock cliff face thanks to some friendly player, once I descended I was sprinting at full pelt to freedom with all my ridiculous packages attached to every appendage. Then it started raining and I had to sneak past the BTs. At this point my BB had basically lost all it’s juice, it’s cries coming from my controller. I was exhausted and had no monster energy drink and my shoes were degrading and I stupidly had picked up more cargo as I stealthed through the BT area.
I can finally see the waystation, it’s not far - thank god, but in between it and I is a huge river. I scan the river to find a safer crossing point. I can see some rocky out crops and use my ladders to make a makeshift bridge. I don’t have enough to make it all the way across. I jump into the water, instantly get wiped out, all my packages come loose and float down the river and I’m scrurrying helplessly in the water. Eventually I make it out. I see the majority of packages float down the river but some of the mission critical ones have been caught on rocks. I wade out again get wiped out. I try again and again. Getting nowhere. Eventually I just had to go to the waystation and get some rest.
It just felt like this grand mythical parable of man against river or man beaten by river.
Eventually later on in the game I find all my other packages got washed up further down river. But now, in my planning I always take note about what side of the river I’m on. Granted there are a lot more bridges now.
So it came out that Kojima’s studio is planning to make movies
So far (and I’m not deep, the US map claims I’m in Tennessee which is only like a twenty minute jog from the sea), I really like just walking and carrying stuff, I really like the peaceful quiet of going on a big hike. I don’t care at all about the stealth and kinda wish the game was just a cutscene after walking a mile or so with indie music.
Especially since it’s now late Fall in my part of the world and it’s getting too cold to walk IRL.
I have a tin foil hat theory that the game doesn’t actually take place in the U.S.
These corporations are using the teary eyed flag waving patriotism of the United States’ image to influence their workers in their goals to connect all their way stations together for better productivity rather than some lusty idea of a connected America. This corporation is probably in the blasted remnants of Iceland or something.
Everyone seems to listen to the Icelandic indie band Low Roar, so you might just be right.
I got a mail a while ago that was like “have you heard of this band Low Roar? They’re good!” I laughed out loud.
If it actually isn’t America I will laugh, a lot, and be so happy.
I think the only landscape feature to carry over might be that there’s some serious mountains in the West.
Is anyone getting a weird sense of class solidarity from these cutscenes?
I LOVE the cutscenes of Sam interacting with the working class porters and people living in the underground, but hate every time Sam has to talk to one of these weirdos spouting off their vision of 'what America could be." AT me.
And the way Sam physically retreats from these people make me think this MIGHT be the intention, but I don’t think Kojima is smart enough to see it. I feel like this is a meta narrative I’ve dreamed up in a ‘death of the author’ kind of way.
I hope we’re meant to, at least, think everyone at Bridges HQ is fuckin weird.
Don’t get me wrong, Sam is weird too. He LOVES monster energy and his toy collection, but at least those are relatable.
I don’t know WHY Die Hardman, a dude dressed like a 18th century aristocrat in a weird mask, gives a FUCK about America.
Fragile at least told me she doesn’t care, but I don’t really believe her.
I’ve been thinking about the mechanics of “necrosis” and “voidouts” and how they result in the world of Death Stranding doesn’t make sense. As of right now over half the world’s population lives in “urban” centers and in 30 years that will rise to 2/3rds the worlds population and even if you’re in a small town of a few thousand you’re never more than a few miles from a recently deceased body… There would have been constant voidouts for a day or two until almost nothing was left and any chance of anyone discovering what caused entire cities to crater in order to stop it would be unlikely as no evidence remains after since it blinks out of existence.
If the world presented something like people being kept alive by uber-quantum-science trying to fix the world so humanity could come back… I can buy that. If Kojima made this game to make me think, I’ve thought about it and it doesn’t make since and he explained everything he conceived in this mile-wide story only to reveal that the story is an inch deep.
Even though I kinda like delivering stuff across this dangerous land from distribution center to distribution center (something that stops making sense when the Chiral Network can duplicate things across vast distances in your private locker). It’s being overshadowed by how much of the world doesn’t make sense, its rules don’t work to explain the state of the world unless you specifically don’t think about them but the game demands you think about it so it ruins it.
Long story short: Kojima hasn’t crafted a good and cohesive world since Snatcher.
I seriously wonder how someone can die in this universe and it go undetected in a major population center for 48 hours.
If they have these cuffs that can communicate with ANYONE across the U.S., surely they would have embedded a heart rate monitor to keep track of when a person dies.
I mean, yeah having that constantly on you may be an invasion of privacy, but if a nuke goes off basically when you die, I can understand making that MANDATORY.