Death Stranding is a sci-fi third-person open-world action-adventure game developed by Kojima Productions and released by Sony for the PlayStation 4 on November 8, 2019.
The first game by the reformed Kojima Productions (now an independent studio unaffiliated with Konami), Death Stranding takes place in the near-future as the world is ravaged by a cataclysmic supernatural phenomenon known as "death stranding", leaving cities isolated and the landscape both barren and plagued with spectral creatures. The game's main plot revolves around creating connections, or "strands," linking isolated survivors and cities to each other in an effort to rebuild society.
The game features the performances (including voice acting, likenesses, and dialogue motion capture) of numerous veteran actors for its central characters, most notably Norman Reedus as the playable protagonist and Mads Mikkelsen as the central antagonist. Other notable actors include Léa Seydoux, Lindsay Wagner, Margaret Qualley, Tommie Earl Jenkins, and Troy Baker. Film directors Guillermo del Toro and Nicolas Winding Refn are also featured, though in likeness only.
At some point in the future, a wave of supernatural phenomena has shattered the bonds that held America together. Most of the population has holed up in their own cities as multiple threats including terrorists, BTs, dead bodies, and a mysterious supernatural rain known as Timefall have all warped the country into something very different. Sam Porter Bridges, a Repatriate with DOOMS, works as a Porter, entrusted with personally carrying containers to various destinations across the country. When a catastrophe wipes out the Central Knot City, Sam is called into action by the last President of the United Cities of America (UCA) to reconnect the Cities across the country and put America back together through the Chiral Network.
Similar to the Internet, the chiral network is a wireless communications network that connects individuals and cities across the UCA. Links to the chiral network can be established by Bridges members to bring more people and locations online.
The chiral network contains many of the features previously introduced by the Internet, like instantaneous communication and data sharing. It also allows for extensive hologram communication (called "chiralgrams") in which multiple people are realistically portrayed in a shared space.
Regions of the map that are connected to the chiral network allows players to see and use player-made structures and signs.
In Death Stranding, players head west across the former United States of America, transporting cargo to fulfill orders and linking people and cities to the chiral network.
During transit, cargo can be damaged by falls, during combat, or, in the case of "chilled deliveries," high temperatures. Players must maintain their balance on rough terrain by gripping the shoulder straps on Sam's backpack, accomplished by holding the triggers. This centers the point of gravity and keeps Sam stable.
To aid in transportation, Sam has access to two types of vehicles. Trikes are fast three-wheel motorcycles that can hold small cargo in addition to whatever Sam has on his back. Trucks are slower but can hold large amounts of cargo and have the added benefit of keeping cargo safe from the weather. With both vehicle types, cargo can be damaged by rough driving.
In addition, players have access to three different types of exo-skeletons. Power skeletons increase the amount of weight Sam can carry. Speed skeletons allow for faster travel on foot. All-terrain skeletons allow Sam to travel faster through terrain that normally slows him down, like snow and mud.
In the world of Death Stranding, a dangerous type of precipitation called timefall occurs frequently. Timefall rapidly ages anything that hasn't been made timefall-resistant, such as the uniforms that Bridges operatives wear. Timefall will age cargo containers after prolonged exposure, weakening their integrity and making the cargo inside more vulnerable to damage.
Structures and Construction
Sam can carry with him ladders and climbing anchors to overcome obstacles. Ladders can be placed vertically to ascend and descend, or horizontally to cross chasms and deep rivers. Climbing ropes have a maximum length of 30 meters and serve a similar purpose as ladders, but with more flexibility.
Portable Chiral Constructors (PCC) are devices that can print complex structures.
- Bridge: An arched structure that allows for safe traversal over rivers and chasms.
- Generator: A tower that recharges batteries of all battery-powered devices within range.
- Postbox: A storage device that allows players to access private and shared storage.
- Safehouse: A structure that provides players with access to their private room and garage.
- Timefall Shelter: An overhead structure that provides shelter from the effects of timefall and restores the condition of cargo containers damaged by timefall.
- Watchtower: A tower that allows players to scan the environment and mark locations from a heightened position.
- Zipline: A device that can transport Sam to any connected zipline. Ziplines have a maximum distance of 300 meters.
PCC structures can only be built in regions connected to the chiral network.
In regions connected to the chiral network, structures, signs, cargo, and vehicles left behind by other players can be seen and interacted with. Everything that previously belonged to another player or, in the case of structures, was built by another player can be Liked to show affirmation and appreciation. Furthermore, cargo that was dropped by someone else can be delivered to its destination.
Players can contribute materials to player-made structures for repairs and upgrades. Similarly, in the Central Region roadways can be constructed at designated points by contributing materials to the associated terminals.
During his travels, Sam will encounter two types of hostile opponents.
- BTs: Otherworldly foes known as beached things, BTs represent souls stranded in the living world. They are difficulty to detect but extremely dangerous. A BT that manages to consume a living person will trigger an event called a voidout, a devastating explosion that has the power to destroy cities.
- MULEs: Human opponents that are found outside of civilization. MULEs are obsessed with cargo and will try to kill Sam to steal whatever he is carrying. MULEs have encampments that can be raided for their supplies. They also drive trucks with open beds that can be hijacked or stolen for transportation.
- Sam Porter Bridges (portrayed and voiced by Norman Reedus)
- Clifford Unger (portrayed and voiced by Mads Mikkelsen)
- Deadman (portrayed by Guillermo del Toro)
- Fragile (portrayed and voiced by Léa Seydoux)
- Amelie (portrayed and voiced by Lindsay Wagner)
- Higgs (portrayed and voiced by Troy Baker)
- Die-Hardman (portrayed and voiced by Tommie Earl Jenkins)
- Mama (portrayed and voiced by Margaret Qualley)
- Heartman (portrayed and voiced by Nicolas Winding Refn)
- Bridget (portrayed and voiced by Lindsay Wagner)