It has been said before, and it will most certainly be said many more times before the end of the year. Death Stranding is a divisive game and may have the most split reactions of 2019. We love it flaws and all, but there were a lot of things we wished were done better.
It is not known yet if this will get a sequel, but the way it ends makes us think there won't be. Just in case Hideo Kojima wants to start again, we have a few ideas to make the overall experience a better one.
10 Better Fast Travel
The whole point of Death Stranding is to walk. We get that. However, it would be nice to see a better fast travel element in the sequel. Having to rely on Fragile every time can be annoying, as you need to find a safe house first. Unless you build one, or are lucky enough to find one built by another player, these places can be far and few between.
9 Equipment Carrying Over
Another part of fast travel that can be cumbersome is having put everything away before warping. Being able to warp around the map to deliver assigned packages would be too easy. We get that. However, having to restock oneself every time they fast travel somewhere else for things like extra boots, blood packs, climbing gear, and so on is a real bore. If Sam has no quest packages then the game shouldn’t punish players when warping. What about at least implementing some kind of weight limit where Sam can only carry so much after each warp? There has to be a better way.
8 Collapsing Equipment Easier
Another problem with equipment comes in the field. For example, using a ladder to get somewhere and not being able to grab and collapse it at the top is illogical. Dismantling equipment does grant players repackaged gear, but it does them no good when said ladder collapses at the bottom. We suppose, being able to infinitely reuse one ladder would be too easy, but as it is now, it is doesn’t make sense. Pick a lane, Kojima! This is just one example of many where gear is problematic.
7 True Co-Op
One of the best elements of this game are the social interactions. We honestly don’t have anything to complain about in this regard. Seeing a bridge built by someone else is always an amazing moment, like a gift from the gods. However, that doesn’t mean we don’t have ideas to improve it.
Having some way to play with friends would be great whether that be in the main game, or in an extra mode. Traveling with buddies across vast plains and snow-topped mountains would make it even more like Journey and we would wholeheartedly love that experience.
6 Boss Battles
No matter how much he tries to distance himself from his past with Konami and Metal Gear, those two things will always be ingrained in Kojima’s DNA and in the minds of gamers. For example, as a longtime runner of Metal Gear, Kojima became known for interesting albeit sometimes crazy boss battles. Fatman, The End, the various Metal Gears, and the list goes on. While there are boss encounters in this game, none of them hold the depth one would expect. In general, the combat isn’t that tight so an improvement to both would be grand.
5 Better Pacing
The pacing is probably the most detrimental element in Death Stranding that will keep players away completely, or force others to quit. The beginning is front loaded with somewhat linear quests and tons of cutscenes that make up about the first six hours. After that it starts to open up more and the deluge of story bits gets doused. This all depends on how much side stuff one does, but new, big moments don’t come knocking for five, sometimes ten hours in-between. Basically we think it could have been a tighter experience if the whole thing wasn’t fifty plus hours.
4 Skipping The Skipping
One of the most miraculous things about Death Stranding is that even on a base PS4 it runs great, which is to say the load times are pretty much nonexistent. Here is the odd part about that though. There are a lot of small repetitive scenes that slow things down from putting packages in the machine to going down to Sam’s bedroom. One could assume these are here to hide load screens, but that simply cannot be since they can be skipped. Why then are there three scenes one has to skip through when taking a shower? Just allow us to skip everything, please!
3 More Compelling Side Stories
There are two problems with the main crux of the game. For one, most missions are pretty straightforward deliveries. Sometimes a wrench is thrown into the works and Sam has to deliver a bomb without shaking it up too bad, or maybe even a body has to be transported. There is very little in terms of variety though. The other issue is that most missions, even the main ones dealing with restoring links to cities are pretty bland. That is to say the people in each city, or isolated stations don’t have interesting stories to tell.
2 More Discovering
For an open-world game, there really isn’t much to see off the beaten path. That is to say unless one is delivering a package, there isn’t going to be a lot of cool things to discover in the wild.
Something like a cave may look interesting and should seemingingly have something in it, but more often than not our searches have turned out to be false leads. Discovering structures players built was always fun to see, but we want more crafted experiences in a sequel.
1 Let Sam Talk
One of the biggest issues with Death Stranding is with its lead protagonist Sam Strand, portrayed by Norman Reedus. He’s a fine actor, but they don’t give his character much to say. Even by the end after we knew why he was quiet we still didn’t feel a connection to him. That is awful for a lead. This is because he was stoic through most story bits, making every interaction feel out of place. Why isn’t Sam reacting to this? Is he a robot? Did Reedus ask for too much money per line, or what? These were the thoughts that crossed our minds.