Contains very light story spoilers for Death Stranding.
If you’ve been carefully observing the game industry over the last few years, it must have became obvious that a lot of modern gamers tend to leave the more carefully constructed, single player experiences behind. They favor more simplistic and often violent multiplayer video games such as the famous Call Of Duty. Yet no matter how much certain publishers want us to believe that single player games are dying, that is far from the truth. Hideo Kojima proved it once again with Death Stranding. It’s not just a video game – it’s a work of art that tries to spread the message of hope, connections and positivity. Such a message is especially valuable now in our shattered and disconnected world.
Extinction Of Connections
Ever since the advent of the internet, humankind has slowly but surely started to abandon real human connections in favor of the much more simplistic and fun online connections. While there is nothing wrong with being able to connect with the world, it’s vital to understand that a reliance on “technological connections” will inevitably change the course of humanity forever.
Hideo Kojima’s newest masterpiece Death Stranding focuses on many different ideas. Connections being the main, overlying theme of the whole experience. In Death Stranding you play as Sam Porter Bridges (performed by the incredible Norman Reedus) the so called “man who delivers”. Your job is to deliver packages to isolated people and by doing that, slowly start to rebuild the fractured, disconnected world. Each successful order connects the isolated people to the Chiral Network, which could be considered a sort of post apocalyptic sci-fi internet. Sam has to slowly piece together America while facing many foes and hardships, such as B.T’s (Beached Things), Homo-Demens and Mules.
Kojima The Time Traveller
When Hideo Kojima’s critically acclaimed Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons Of Liberty came out, it focused it’s story on the central elements of digital censorship and politics. For games at the time, those themes might have looked futuristic or even “stupid”. The general fan reception at the time proved it. But now, more than 15 years later, MGS2 is regarded as a masterpiece of storytelling that reflects today’s world shockingly well. Death Stranding couldn’t possibly be the same, right? The simple matter of fact is, that it indeed did predict the current state of our world.
People are living in isolation because they’re afraid of the outside world and it’s invisible foe, everyone seemingly relies on internet and technology and couriers became highly regarded. Have I described “Death Stranding” or real life? Who’s to say there’s a difference?
Social Strand System
The core gameplay of Death Stranding also revolves around the brand new and unique “Social Strand System”, which people have amusingly started to refer to as the “S3 Plan” as it was the main plot point of MGS2.
The Social Strand System revolves around the indirect connection of all the players around the world. Every player’s action has some sort of an effect to the overall game world each player gets to experience. Be it, a carefully placed ladder, bridge or a newly built safe house that every player can use. For one of the first times ever, the Social Strand System allowed players to be genuinely good people to each other without expecting nothing in the return. It created a truly nice and healthy playing environment with the goal of helping each other. Maybe the world isn’t all that bad after all.
You Can Take My Heart…
Death Stranding transcends what a video game is and can be, by creating another truly timeless experience about the value of connections and human life. Like it or not, this world is not as it used to be and both inescapable violence and inequality have nested in the most unexpected places. That’s why we need games like Death Stranding, to spark some sort of hope back into the hearts of humans.
Death Stranding is available on PS4 and PC.