Death Stranding Review Roundup: A Masterpiece to Some, Boring to Others
It's been a long wait, but Death Stranding reviews are finally here. With them comes a greater understanding of the behemoth Kojima has conjured from the depths of his strangeness.
While we're still hoping to receive a review code from Sony and provide our own thoughts on the game, we wanted to share some of the reviews other outlets have posted so far. For the most part, the game has received positive reviews. Yet as the conjecture grows around Death Stranding, we want to make sure there are as many places to get the info you need.
Sure, you could bounce over to the game's Metacritic page and take a gander, and we encourage you to do so as more reviews get posted. But in the spirit of sharing good information, we decided to provide you with this review round-up, too.
In no particular order, here's what has been said of the game so far:
In the end, Death Stranding’s biggest mystery isn’t any of the elements we’ve had teased in three-plus years of trailers—it’s what people are going to think of it. Even from a man known for making love-them-or-hate-them projects, this may end up being one of the most divisive games ever created. For me, it was an experience that I can truly say was unlike any other I remember. And, if nothing else, Death Stranding makes me respect Hideo Kojima for convincing Sony to invest millions into a game that’s about a man delivering packages to holograms.
Death Stranding is one of the best games I’ve ever played. It’s smart, it’s well-produced, and it just feels good to play. It’s damn cool. I don’t think any other game made me think to myself, “Damn, that was powerful,” as many times as Death Stranding did. Sure, there’s a lot of games that have some point to make. I don’t want to downplay anyone else’s work. However, Death Stranding will get you thinking about some stuff. I’ve played through it twice, and there are still things I’m turning around in my head.
Screen Rant (5/5)
What Death Stranding is, though, is a game that pushes the medium forward. So much of Death Stranding is memorable, from its characters to its gameplay sections to its stellar soundtrack. It genre-hops in the same way that NieR: Automata did so successfully a few years ago. While navigating between stealth, adventure, survival, and gunfighting elements, Kojima’s latest title balances them all into something that feels new. The game is incredibly ambitious, and it is unapologetic about the design elements it feels are integral to telling its story.
Death Stranding is not the overly-strange inaccessible walled garden the marketing has made it out to be. It's weird, don't get me wrong! But anyone with a surface-level understanding of surrealism in art should be able to acclimate to what is essentially a playable Hollywood production.
Game Informer (7/10)
Try as it might, Death Stranding’s story doesn’t shore up its faults. It’s the normal Kojima mix of twists-and-turns, tropes, and overbearing themes, but at least I like that it explores real-world topics like the theory of multiple dimensions and key events in the history of the planet’s biodiversity. Like Sam himself, I often wasn’t sure why I kept going in Death Stranding. Maybe there was a little bit of pride in another task checked off the list, another job done. Unfortunately, this added up to little reward in the end.
Certain landmark games in recent years, like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Red Dead Redemption 2, have managed to successfully tread the line between the rigidity of realism and the exhilaration of pure escapism. But much like its stumbling protagonist, Death Stranding just can’t consistently get the balance right despite possessing equally lofty ambitions and countless inventive ideas. There is a fascinating, fleshed-out world of supernatural science fiction to enjoy across its sprawling and spectacular map, so it’s a real shame that it’s all been saddled on a gameplay backbone that struggles to adequately support its weight over the full course of the journey. It’s fitting that Kojima Productions’ latest is so preoccupied with social media inspired praise, because in some ways I did ‘Like’ Death Stranding. I just didn’t ever love it.
If you do manage to hold out, you will be rewarded with flashes of brilliance, it’s just that those flashes are buried as deep as the core story is buried in the endless dialogue. And as profound as it wants to be, this is still a game in which you can equip and unequip your penis so you can piss out Red Bull. The good stuff is waiting for you beyond that piss, beyond the shit grenades, beyond that Ride with Norman Reedus advert unceremoniously plastered into a game universe where I didn’t see a single television set. It’s just a test of attrition.
Death Stranding will release on Friday, November 8. For more on the game, here's a look at almost a full hour of gameplay. If you still haven't pre-ordered the game and want to see what bonuses are available ahead of launch, be sure to check out our pre-order guide here.
Stay tuned to GameSkinny in the coming weeks for more Death Stranding content, including our review.