RPS 2020 Advent Calendar, December 18

It took a long time to get here in the RPS Advent Calendar. We conquered mountains, crossed rivers, even built several roads along the way. It was a trip, but at least we didn’t have to do it alone. So please get your holographic signature ready. It’s time to take delivery of door number 18.

It’s Death Stranding!

Katharine: Death Stranding received a tough hand when it first appeared on the console last year. Looking at the critical reception now, a lot of written words about that game were simply puzzled by the fact that it wasn’t Kojima’s next big arrival, the constant engine of hype led them to believe it would be. Instead, it was simply a game about moving boxes from one point to another, and no one could really decide if this is intensely boring or if there is a core of something special that is lingering beneath the surface.

But if Death Stranding teaches us anything, time and distance are great healers. If you were to summarize it in its simplest form, then yes, this is really a game about moving boxes from point A to point B. But what an act of movement it is. In Death Stranding, crossing It is the game. From the way you load your cargo to the route you choose through its rocky, mountainous landscape, this is a game where even the slightest change of gradient can send you down on your knees, destroying your precious supplies. in this process. It is a game in which the weather is your enemy and where the sight of a well-placed road or zip line can bring you to tears. It’s a walking simulator in the best sense of the word and I just couldn’t get enough of it this year.

A screenshot with Death Stranding and BB posing in Death Stranding.

BB Boys does not stop!

It is a game that makes you engage with the landscape of his world like no other, because even the simple fact of crossing a river can be full of dangers. You can’t just upload to your destination, such as Assassin’s Creed or follow the road like Skyrim. Hell, you can’t even climb its walls empty-handed like Breath Of The Wild. Instead, each trip needs to be planned and prepared, balancing the tools you need to get the job done (ladders, ropes and construction kits) in relation to how much cargo you can carry.

After all, it’s not just you who has to look into Death Stranding. You also have a small passenger with you, BB, who is sitting in a jar on his chest. BB is your lifeline in this strange, empty world, because they are the only way to feel where the deadly (and potentially explosive) ghosts of the world are. These beings from another world are the reason why humanity fled underground in the world of Death Stranding, because no one but the porters is equipped to face them.

Death Stranding still falls prey to many of Kojima’s bad habits. A few hours of opening are almost 90% reduced stage, and the way it preloads much of its traditions and the painful names and terminology of the characters in the nose is enough to make anyone reach the uninstall button. But beyond that opening is a really different game than any other – and deliveries are only part of it.

A screenshot of Sam Bridges shivering in Death Stranding.

Finally, Death Stranding is a game about making connections. There are the literal ones you do in the game as you zig-zag through a broken (and very Icelandic-looking) United States to restore the “chiral network” (a kind of proto-internet that has been destroyed). in the titular event Death Stranding a few years ago) which will bring the missing citizens back. There are also personal ones that you will forge between individual characters as you go to deliveries. Sometimes the two go hand in hand, because some people in the bunker will not agree to join the chiral network until you have first given them a few commissions to prove that they can trust you.

But, without a doubt, the connections you make with other players are the ones that leave the biggest and most lasting impression. While Death Stranding is essentially a single player game, its asymmetrical online multiplayer elements will also see the work of other goalkeepers occasionally overlap with yours, whether it’s a good soul picking up and delivering a piece. lost cargo or a helping hand that makes a vital contribution to a bit of construction while you’ve been connected to the last few game sessions. I “made connections” with just shy of another 1600 players, according to my end-of-game statistics, which is actually much less than I expected.

A screenshot of Sam and BB making heart signals in Death Stranding.

I love you BB.

Most importantly, however, even those who went before you do not instantly leave the “completed” world. There’s a bit of shy-shy logic involved, of course, but your first run to every new region you come across is as pure and fresh as the untouched earth beneath your feet. Only after you bring a bunker online does the world suddenly collapse into life, the landmarks left by those early trekkers now visible on your map and in the world around you. However, I had to work hard, mind you, but to tell you, using my zips to join those left by other players in its hilly mountain range is one of my proudest achievements of the year. I didn’t even do it for “likes”, which other players can give you for all reasons. I did it because, deep down, these structures – these connections – are about paying it forward and leaving a world behind that is worth living for those who come after you.

It’s at the heart of everything you do in Death Stranding, a game about much more than just moving boxes from one point to another, and that’s why it’s my personal choice of the year for PC gaming. No matter how disconnected and disinterested you are in the world around you – a main character Sam strives to put him through the game – in the end we are all together and only by embracing the strange strangeness of others (and in turn the weirdness of the game, with its sensitive babies in jars, nuclear ghosts and all sorts of supernatural nonsense) that the Death Stranding cast can begin to gather and build a new life from the ruins of their mistakes. Yes, it might seem weird and ridiculous to have a baby in a jar tied to your chest, but I’ll be damn if I didn’t end up loving BB like it was my own baby until when we reached the final credits. Death Stranding is a weird, weird and sometimes confusing game, but open your heart and you’ll find that there are plenty of reasons to break the “like” button and love it as much as I do.

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