Death Stranding Director’s Cut - Review

Death Stranding - It does not matter how to characterize this game today - hundreds of truths were born in countless discussions and disputes, and cultural footprint left by Kojima Productions in different contexts will remind you of itself for a long time.

Death Stranding Director’s Cut - Review
Death Stranding Director's Cut - Walking along old trails, a review of the game on PS5.

There is no longer any aura of mysticism around Death Stranding. The latest project of game designer Hideo Kojima debuted almost two years ago. Simulator of walking, running and driving vehicles. A science fiction movie with big names in the main roles.

In the meantime, the developers themselves decided to remind about the beached whales. Tomorrow, September 24, the premiere of Death Stranding: Director's Cut will take place - an expanded and expanded version of the adventure created for the PlayStation 5 console. In the age of reissues, remakes and restarts, the re-release of even the oldest title is unlikely to cause much surprise. But in fact, the” director's version "of Death Stranding is much easier to compare with the portfolio of Kojima himself, or rather with the releases of "Substance” and "Subsistance", which at one time received the second and third parts of the cult Metal Gear Solid line.

Anticipating the most important question, we will immediately say that Death Stranding: Director's Cut is still the same game. More beautiful, accessible and complete, but not at all giving its essence. Courier Sam Porter Bridges once again embarks on an excruciatingly long and difficult journey through the ruins of a fragmented America, metaphorically and literally connecting the souls and hearts of an isolated society. Which, of course, is achieved by delivering thousands of boxes of cargo, each of which is a promise and a small ray of hope.

The narrative foundation in Death Stranding: Director's Cut has not undergone any changes. The central focus of the story remains the Bridges organization, headed by the last president of America. In an attempt to build a new government on the ruins of the old one, Bridges launches a complex multi-stage mission-stretching the so-called " Chiral Network”, a fantastic analogue of the world Internet, designed to give humanity a chance to survive after an apocalyptic catastrophe known as “The exit of death”.

The realities of the new America, where the worlds of the living and the dead collided, make the deployment of the chiral network an impossible task, which, by the will of fate, falls on the shoulders of the courier Sam, formerly affiliated with Bridges, and now gone awol. The hero's mission is to move step by step from point to point, connecting new people to the chiral network, relying on the help of the only companion - baby BB, who lives in a special vessel and helps Sam avoid encounters with otherworldly threats.

No matter how difficult Death Stranding may seem from the outside, in fact, getting to know it is almost a therapeutic process. On duty, almost every mission of Sam is the delivery of various kinds of cargo to remote corners of the game world. In the complete absence of compromises and conventions, the hero must literally carry the boxes on himself.

Throwing forty extra pounds behind his back, Sam loses stability, every new step turns into a potential risk, and a small hill on the horizon transforms into a potential battle with the boss - it can be quite difficult to conquer it.

Taking into account the difficulties of moving through an inhospitable landscape, Death Stranding organically asks you to use your ingenuity and attention - you can always find the optimal route, minimize risks and gracefully fulfill the most difficult order. If the brilliant plan went wrong, you slipped, and the priceless boxes were washed away by the current of the river in an unknown direction - here is a whole mini-story generated by game mechanics alone.

The composition of the cargo and the route proposed by the orders often determines the upcoming adventure. Some orders are trivial trips through beautiful wide expanses, accompanied by relaxing sounds of nature and musical tracks. Others are full of adrenaline forays into the territory teeming with dead creatures. And the third, for example, will develop into a long trip on a packed truck, where the biggest risk is not to get stuck in the rock.

If you focus your attention exclusively on plot orders, then Death Stranding is perceived as a relatively linear work with a focus on narrative elements. The developers try to offer different situations and change the scenery, filling in the gaps with cutscenes and unique episodes, like collisions with Cliff performed by Mads Mikkelsen.

As for optional orders, here Death Stranding fully reveals itself as a logistics puzzle, especially if you consistently try to earn the maximum rating.

As part of the natural progression, Death Stranding gradually expands the player's arsenal with additional equipment and devices. Sam can carry split ladders, climb down ropes from a height and create various buildings - storage boxes, observation towers, generators, entire bridges and more sophisticated structures, like futuristic cable cars.

Death Stranding: Director's Cut offers Sam's extended toolkit. In particular, the game has another exoskeleton, a new type of non-lethal weapons, an extra pair of shoes, a small but convenient alternative to bridges, and a huge catapult cannon that allows you to launch loads over long distances, which significantly changes the approach to performing a series of complex deliveries. Amazing singing robo-legs have also been improved - you can now take them with you, use them in the manner of floating couriers and even ride them yourself as a fun alternative to (not too) fast movement.

In addition, the list of body kits for Sam's backpack has been supplemented - you can hang a balancing device behind your back, allowing you to literally soar, jumping from a height at the cost of charging your battery.

Collaborations with Half-Life and Cyberpunk 2077, which previously remained exclusives of the PC version of Death Stranding, also deserve special mention. A set of cosmetic (and not only) items is waiting for you, which are opened for a series of additional orders - get ready to look for the right companion cube and chips from a mysterious hacker.

It is noteworthy that all the additional content in Death Stranding: Director's Cut was carefully and evenly distributed throughout the game. In other words, the global line of character development has changed somewhat. For example, the exoskeleton and weapons mentioned above are unlocked already in the first region, even before arriving at the Port Node. Because of this, some segments and episodes seem easier - you can gather in raids on mule camps in the shortest possible time.

Fortunately, the challenge issue can be leveled by a new level of complexity - the highest. When this option is selected, the game modifies a number of important indicators. For example, Sam's stamina goes much faster, and the rain actively eats away boxes with loads - it's not easy to do without sprays or umbrellas. The behavior of opponents is also changing - mules behave more aggressively, beat more painfully and do not hesitate to surround. The same point is also relevant for bosses - chthonic resin monsters are now more frightening.

Another new way to try out the upgraded arsenal of Death Stranding: Director's Cut is a shooting range, which the game introduces you to almost from the very beginning. In essence, this is an independent series of mini-missions that require you to pass obstacle courses with different equipment and modifiers at speed. Part of the tasks is tied to the rapid destruction of static and moving targets. The other is on the imperceptible destruction of enemies. You get access to them through the progress in the main campaign - when you open a new weapon, the game notifies that it can be tested at the training ground. By the way, all tasks are accompanied by a new dynamic composition from Ludwig Forssell.

Curiously, the shooting range in Death Stranding: Director's Cut feels like an undisguised homage to the VR mission from the Metal Gear Solid franchise. You also travel through an artificial reality and earn points while Sam in his winning pose directly cosplays Solid Snake. An attentive player will find similar references in other content of the” director's " edition of Death Stranding - Hideo Kojima's meta-reflection is not particularly hidden.

In addition to the shooting range, a racing mini-game has appeared in Death Stranding: Director's Cut. Against the background of complaints about the physics of transport from the original release, Kojima Productions, as if jokingly, offers the audience to ride even more. Your attention will be offered a set of tracks in the second region, which you can navigate on different vehicles, including a completely new racing car. Competitions on typewriters are perceived as a small interlude, an island of mindless fun, prepared for those who are tired of heavy boxes. And also for those who were not confused by skateboarding in Metal Gear Solid 2.

The “system of social connections " found its development at the shooting range and races. Traveling through the world of Death Stranding, you, as before, indirectly contact other players around the world. A ladder left on the mountain can be of great help to a stranger for you, and you, in turn, will be saved by someone else's well - placed bridge, the main thing is not to forget to put a “like”.

To dilute the interaction between users with fresh meanings, temporary events appeared in Director's Cut. Special orders are challenges, in which all players can participate. As part of the review period, the shooting range games became the field for the competition-the winner is the one who scores the most points. As a reward, you get both resources (in this case, metal) and a special icon for your banner, so that everyone will remain witnesses of your courier skills.

Director's Cut time events are a small but entertaining competitive element. If the excitement does not capture you, then you can participate in events at least for the sake of extra resources. In the end, they will still go to the construction of roads or other useful projects - the circle of cyclical selfless assistance will once again be closed.

Apart from other innovations in Death Stranding: Director's Cut, there is a line of new story tasks. Their initiator is Daihardman, who will send Sam to explore the abandoned interiors of one of the old Bridges work bases. Cold corridors are fraught with great danger, a tragic story of the fate of one unhappy family, more details about experiments with BB, and, no doubt, even more quotes from Metal Gear Solid-through sounds, music, camera plans and even the structure of levels. In the same segments, the game allows you to enjoy new compositions of the licensed soundtrack - the songs sound right during the gameplay.

It is important to note that the plot content of Director's Cut takes up a small part of the game. The narrative presented there expands the background of Death Stranding with interesting details, but does not turn the overall narrative upside down - Sam's journey is still of paramount importance.

The passage of missions with the Bridges factory is carried out in a linear manner. Their availability is based on your progress in the central story tasks. At the same time, new orders can be missed or overlooked due to inattention - the game does not put much emphasis on them, just adding them as another order for Sam.

It goes without saying that what you have written is relevant only in the conditions of normal passage. Recall that Death Stranding: Director's Cut implies the possibility of direct transfer of saving from the original version for PlayStation 4. If you use this function, the process of getting acquainted with new content will not require much imagination - just teleport to the desired point and look for orders that appear on the terminals.

Forgetting for a moment about unnecessary reasons to vilify your favorite boxes, in favor of Death Stranding: Director's Cut on the PlayStation 5, there are also numerous pleasant technical improvements. With standard settings, the project runs in performance mode and offers a frame rate of 60 frames per second, as well as reconstruction of the resolution up to 4K. As an alternative, there is a mode in native 4K with a less stable frame rate. Both variants support HDR technology. Another option is the mode for ultra-wide screens, in which the image is framed with black stripes, simulating the aspect ratio of 21:9.

In the promotional materials, Kojima Productions specialists focused on the 3D sound technology, which allows you to evaluate the sound of the game in a new way. In Death Stranding, it is literally necessary to play with good sound equipment - otherwise you risk missing the variety of audio effects that the project boasts. Like the crazy cacophony that sounds when encountering B. T., or the soothing, often barely noticeable ambient of the composer Ludwig Forssell.

The features of the DualSense gamepad have also found a successful application. The tactile vibration is synchronized with the events taking place on the screen, reacting to the movements and actions of the characters. In the gameplay, the controller vibrates situationally - the surface under Sam's feet, stormy rivers and crunchy snow are felt differently.

The king here is adaptive triggers. Given the role that interaction with these elements of the controller plays in the gameplay of Death Stranding, the triggers do not allow themselves to be forgotten. The system is implemented in such a way that the degree of Sam's workload directly affects their progress. In other words, it is extremely easy to adjust the balance in a normal state, and if you take on a heavy load, the triggers actively resist pressing - their course slows down, which causes pleasant discomfort. Well, if you don't want to mock your fingers, imitating Sam, it's easy to disable all the functions of DualSense right in the settings menu.

In the aggregate of its content, Death Stranding in the editorial office of Director's Cut does not try to convince anyone of anything. Through deep reflection, Hideo Kojima reacted to some of the criticism - the” missing " gameplay was filled in - everyone was maliciously given an excuse to run, shoot and ride. Gamers who yearn for solid snakes should also be happy - they were gently waved by the handle, especially if you know where to look.

For those who have not yet met Death Stranding, Director's Cut acts as an ideal entry point - this is the most complete, beautiful and finished edition of the project, which will soon experience the peak of its online activity.

But, perhaps, Death Stranding: Director's Cut is best suited for re-passing to those with whom the game really resonated for the first time. All the paths have been familiar for a long time, and the child in the bank is your best friend. Having chosen the unity of isolation, it is enough just to take the first step along the old roads. Again.