Kojima Productions' Death Stranding is dividing critics and players on the quality of the experience it provides. While there have been conflicting reviews about past projects from Hideo Kojima, none have been quite this jarring for fans. It's a confusing time for gamers who were once anticipating Death Stranding's release or even those who are still confused by just what Death Stranding actually is.
Still, many gamers are wondering if Death Stranding is right for them. Given the cost of video games in this day and age, that's a fair thing to be curious about. And while opinions are subjective and subject to differ, the 'why' behind this is a murkier topic to wade through. Ultimately, it comes down to a few major factors related to Death Stranding's balance between gameplay and story, both of which present themselves as non-traditional for players. Therein lies the divisive response.
Death Stranding is currently sitting at an 83 on Metacritic with review scores ranging from 100/100 (like Screen Rant's own review of Death Stranding) to one as low as 35/100. The crux of Death Stranding's issues addressed in the more negative reviews is that the world feels empty, the gameplay is uninspired, and the plot is incoherent and muddied by excessive dialogue. However, not all reviewers - and players - feel the same way.
There's no debate that Death Stranding is an out-there game. In fact, comparisons have been drawn of fans of Death Stranding to those of Rick & Morty. which had notoriety within the entertainment industry as a show for "smart people." While that show is more comedic in tone, Death Stranding is being branded as art for the sake of being art. But in gaming, art has to still be fun. Death Stranding's story has been criticized by many critics and players for being pretentious and unnecessarily convoluted, while others have applauded it for its maturity. Considering Death Stranding is a story-driven game, issues with the narrative are a major point of concern.
These issues, unfortunately, extend to the gameplay as well. In an era filled with intense video games, quite a few critics have found Death Stranding's world and gameplay to be rather relaxing, yet still adventurous. It wasn't about satisfying a player for one hour but getting them through the entire journey. So, taking the entire game into account, the gameplay was being praised, though other critics - and certainly players - have fairly condemned Death Stranding for essentially being a "walking simulator". Given how long people spend going from point A to point B, it's a valid interpretation of the gameplay: a walking simulator with brief but huge moments of storytelling.
Death Stranding is fittingly divisive for a number of reasons, but for every positive, there seems to be an equal negative - and both arguments have solid reasons. Overall, Death Stranding appears to be a game people will either love or hate, with very few landing in the middle. It's a daring title, without a doubt, but whether or not it can truly live up to its hype remains to be seen.
Death Stranding is available now for PlayStation 4.