By Alberto Balducci
We Don’t Deserve Death Stranding
I don’t want to write this. I am not ready to write this. I don’t think I deserve to write this.
And surely, I know we don’t deserve Death Stranding. We don’t deserve it simply because we are unable to appreciate or even understand what passion projects are. We immediately gun down anything that is different from the established status quo of the gaming world. We label it as weird, lazy, uninspired; A hoax. Especially if Kojima made it. How could he give us this joke, after gracing us with one of the best and most revolutionizing series in gaming? How could he betray us?
He didn’t. Simply we didn’t want to listen. We didn’t want to play. We didn’t want to be Ludens, because we are Demens.
We saw postman simulator, we saw Norman Fetus, we saw emptiness, we didn’t see any sticks, we didn’t hear any message. How could we? The world is empty. There is no connection to be made with the nothingness. How arrogant of us.
Death Stranding is not for everyone, I admit it willingly, but for those who want to give it a chance, it’s going to be lifechanging. Death Stranding is the game I needed when I needed it, if you’ll allow me to be personal. And without playing it, you will not get this review. You won’t get the same feeling of accomplishment and oxytocin ( as the game puts it) in getting likes by other people; you won’t feel the weight and responsibilities of all those packages, in reality, hopes and dreams; you won’t stop in the middle of a mountain overlooking one of the Knot Cities, exhausted and tired, the same as Sam, just to breathe in the music, masterfully handpicked, and the literal painting in front of your eyes. Because Death Stranding is nothing short of ‘Art’ in terms of aesthetics and musical score.
The gameplay is new, fresh, as arcade as possible without sacrificing any of the story elements. Everything you do serves a purpose. Be it delivering medicines or pizza. You are connecting people, you are using not the stick, but the rope, and every connection you forge, every like you receive, be it from NPCs or other players, connects all of you, ties you together, reconnects you. And the emptiness, the calm, the apparent peace, they all serve that sole purpose: to connect you. Through play. To become Ludens.
I didn’t want to write this. I am not ready to write this. I don’t think I deserve to write this.
But I am.
Because I want to connect with you. I want to connect us through play. And, if by the end of this, you are even a little bit interested in what Death Stranding has to offer, pick up your own rope, and reconnect yourself to one of the most daring and innovative games this year, and connect yourself to other people through it, because Death Stranding, in my opinion, achieved its objective. It reconnected us. Like never before.
It transformed us from Demens to Ludens. It put tomorrow in our hands. Like it promised.
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