Death Stranding is a hard game to talk about succinctly, but I’ll try to give out some early impressions. 10 hours in The game starts out with introducing the post-apocalyptic world in a non-descript timeframe. You play as Sam Porter Bridges, a Porter, and in this world, it means he delivers packages. Thanks to the event called the Death Stranding, all forms of airborne communication and transportation have been destroyed. The United States itself is in shambles and (so far) seems to be isolated from the rest of the world. You start out with Sam doing his delivery route which gives you a basic tutorial of the controls. Unlike most open-world games there is a feeling of momentum and weight to each step.
As usual with third-person games, you use the left stick for character movement and the right stick for the camera. Square is to do a melee attack, L2 zooms to an over the shoulder, and R2 attacks with an equipped weapon. The key difference is the mechanic of balance and how it interacts with the encumbrance. When you lose your footing, you have to press L2 to balance left and vice versa. There’s a strategy on how to load cargo/equipment but I will talk about that later. You lose your bike and have to deliver cargo on foot. You are then introduced to the Death Stranding who are invisible creatures that arise from not cremating a dead body. A delivery contractor named Fragile who runs a company of the same name hides out in a cave.
You eventually go to a city called Central Knot City which is now the capital of the United Cities of America (UCA). Your first mission is to deliver drugs to President Bridget Strand who is the first and last female president the United States. The reason why you deliver drugs is to help her with her terminal cancer. She pleads to ask you to reunite America but then passed away.
This leads into the second mission declining her plea, and going on your business as a Porter. Your mission is to deliver a body for the BD (Body Disposal Unit). Things go awry with the Death Stranding killing your crew, and showing the effects time fall on your partner Igor who ages rapidly. The only person that survives is you.
You then agree to President Strand’s dying wish and transport her body to a BD (Body Disposal) facility. Sam is then introduced to Deadman (Whose face is modeled after Guillermo Del Toro) who is a former Coroner but now part of the support team for BRIDGES. BRIDGES is the organization you were once a part of with the President. As I mentioned before about loading cargo, and the game then introduces it to you as a loadout screen. There you can see if your cargo and equipment hit your limit. You also have accounted for formation. This ties into your sense of balance. If you make a cargo loadout that is uneven it will cause you to falter a bit while walking. This happens a lot more if you are sprinting.
Once you deliver and get her body cremated, well you’ll have to find out in our review of Death Stranding. So far it’s a unique and refreshing experience.