BY BRYAN HAVOC: Some adult gamers grew up in a different time, a time when games were simpler and quicker to the point. They could pick up any game, push the start button, and play for however long they wanted to. Now, it’s a little more difficult to just pick up a game without getting bombarded with an elongated tutorial to force-feed complex gameplay mechanics and to explain the flood of modern intricacies like microtransactions. It’s also difficult to pick up a game without having more of a time commitment than many adult gamers have with all their real-world responsibilities.
Enter Death Stranding.
Death Stranding has received mixed reviews since its release. Even professional game critics had a hard time figuring out exactly what was going on. That’s not good news for those looking for a game that just makes sense. It’s also not exactly a pick-up-and-play type game as you’ll need significant time commitment just to get through the almost cinematic-length cutscenes alone.
When you’re not standing there confused by what exactly you’re doing, you’re spending hours traversing the environment by carrying the weight of the world on your back and a newborn baby on your front (that you also need to comfort due to your lack of understanding simple physics). Even a seasoned gamer such as myself, who easily transitioned from collecting coins on Sonic the Hedgehog to the complex puzzles of Resident Evil, had a hard time figuring out how Death Stranding even calculates its portal grade evaluations after stumbling my way through the wilderness.
That’s right, you aren’t just being a chiropractor’s nightmare by moving boxes from point A to point B. Those who try Death Stranding will be sitting there with their brains frying as numbers are crunched on the screen to evaluate how poorly you walked across the boring, expansive landscape. Hideo Kojima told us himself that Americans are probably not going to appreciate his work, but it isn’t just an American or even a Western problem – Death Stranding is everything that video games weren’t a few decades ago. Most of the time, it’s just a walking simulator with a dose of childcare. It’s you, BB and a seemingly never-ending map to traverse.
Fortunately, once you get over the initial hurdle of figuring out just what the heck is going on, you might come to appreciate what Kojima has created. If you accept that it will take a significant time commitment and persevere, it can be a very entertaining game. It demands time that many of us adult gamers don’t have these days, but it may be exactly what some are looking for as the year draws to an end and the nights get longer. Learning by doing and sharing that information with others is a part of the overall experience, which rewards those who are content with the gradual discovery of mechanics and the world in general.
If you’re an adult gamer who picked up Death Stranding, how are you finding it?