Death Stranding, from Kojima Productions and 505 games, the highly anticipated PC port has trekked its way to Steam and the Epic Games Store. As a long time fan of Kojima’s storytelling, and a newer Death Stranding aficionado, I was curious to see if the PC port would surpass expectations. For those on the fence about being a first time or returning porter, let the record state that the PC port is phenomenal. To compare the PC version to such legendary ports like Metal Gear Solid V and Doom 2016 would be apt.
Upon launching, you’re greeted to the beautiful opening cutscene rendered, in my case, in 4K. At times, the landscapes seemed photo-realistic. While I am not one to give undue attention just to graphics, this was something special. When the game re-orients the camera to bask in the grasslands that cover the world, you’re treated to a magical moment. With the photo mode available at launch, you can really take in every detail of this strange world. Kojima Productions effortlessly blends the language of film and gaming. Despite being primarily a third person game, the immersion is next level. Even the UI is designed around keeping the player grounded in the gameworld. Fans of previous games directed by Kojima will appreciate the merging of the game’s reality and ours.
One thing I feel the PS4 version did better was the control scheme, at leasy by default. A controller offers a less complex and more intuitive setup. Meanwhile, the vastness of the keyboard means you occasionally have to make awkward hand movements to facilitate a button press. The lack of feedback also leads to a loss of character weight. If you own a controller, I recommend using it for this title, as the handling is excellent. Vehicle handling can be awkward at times, mainly due to the frequency of obstacles meant for walking around. However, the hover cart, which you can use as a surfboard, makes short work of most of these same hurdles. Usually, the varied toolset counteracts any problems with controls.
In my 50 hours with Death Stranding, I encountered no bugs, and no issues with latency of the asynchronous multiplayer. My lowest frame rate was around 50 fps, and outside of a brief hitch between cutscene and game, never had any steep drops. Performance wise, Death Stranding is a masterpiece of technical design. My average frame rate was 90 from the start, and I’m sure tampering with the numerous options could increase that. In addition, the optional Valve themed questline was a delightful new feature, never feeling out of place.
In conclusion, if you are looking to add a new gem into your library, something that accelerates the genre to new heights, give Death Stranding a go. While the idea of carrying packages long distance is not for everyone, the game’s heart hearkens back to gaming’s core, and its future. It’s certainly not going to be for everyone, and that’s okay. With that in mind, if the idea of Death Stranding even slightly intrigues you, then you won’t be remiss. For another opinion on the game, feel free to look at the PS4 review from our Senior Editor, David Poole.