2019 // Death Stranding
This was a tough one. Legitimately.
All of the games I considered for this spot I really, truly enjoyed. Every single one. They were all great games – in some cases, the best in their respective series.
But Death Stranding has won out for me. All of those other games – they were sequels. Remakes. Continuations of something that came before them. Death Stranding is not.
It’s something new. A brand new IP – something that doesn’t happen too often in the AAA space and is rife with the potential for failure. It can either go really well, or really poorly.
From all of the weird trailers and gameplay showcases – I had no idea what to expect from Death Stranding as a whole. What was all this about BTs and BBs and Bridges and strands and…peeing on mushrooms? Inverted rainbows? What? It made my head hurt.
It still does – I haven’t actually finished the game yet, but I’ve logged close to 30 hours so far (You can follow my escapades in package delivery with ghosts on the channel.) and I’m understanding things a little more now – but still not fully.
That’s why this is my pick for the year. It’s something new. Something different. Something that I need to figure out and something that isn’t relying on previous story to work. Little nods to Kojima Productions’ other works here and there, sure – and some shade as well – whether intentional or not.
It’s a game that reminds me of the early NES days in its concept. Games like Paperboy come to mind. That time when developers where making games about whatever came to mind as opposed to telling engaging stories.
I can’t speak to it being a new genre. Maybe, in the same sense Metal Gear was a new take on the action genre.
It kind of feels like Hideo Kojima has gotten closer to the multiplayer game he’s been wanting to create for a while. The theme of all players being one character in a world has been present in the last few projects Kojima Productions has put out – MGSV, PT and now Death Stranding. And it’s honestly a nice feeling to play a game that’s about working together and not invading/attacking each other.