Like any good game, there are dozens of different reasons why someone might like Death Stranding. Its slower pace is refreshing; its script is thematically dense while nowhere near as dry as its AAA counterparts; and the core gameplay loop is downright addicting, tossing players against unseen enemies in high tension environments. Death Stranding is a long game, too, but that just means it’ll be hard to let go. Having a game lined up to play is never a bad thing.
10 Metal Gear Solid
It goes without saying, but Metal Gear Solid as a franchise has a clear influence on Death Stranding. In many respects, Death Stranding feels like a natural evolution of The Phantom Pain’s core gameplay. Stealth and non-lethal vs lethal combat is still very much in play. Anyone who hasn’t played the first MGS owes it to themselves to see how Kojima’s approach to 3D game design has evolved since 1998.
Not just that, Metal Gear Solid is an incredibly cinematic game, more so than just about any “cinematic” game that’s come out this generation. MGS actually manages to emulate the movie feel without feeling like anything but a video game.
9 Silent Hill 2
To think there was a time where Hideo Kojima was actively working on a new Silent Hill game. Silent Hills could have revitalized the franchise, and Death Stranding’s horror elements can be easily tied back to what Kojima accomplished with P.T. That said, it’s not like amazing Silent Hill games don’t already exist, and Silent Hill 2 is a strong contender for one of the best games ever made.
Intelligent, emotionally mature, and home to one of the best scripts in gaming, Silent Hill 2 is everything a video game story should strive for. Really, it’s everything a game should strive for in general. Beyond its story, this is the best iteration of Silent Hill there is, with a balance struck between combat and puzzle solving.
Ico is slow, atmospheric, and all about forging a connection with the characters in the game. Just as players in Death Stranding find themselves growing fond of their BB, so will players grow fond of Yorda as they escort the princess around one of the most immersive worlds in gaming. Ico isn’t a particularly long game, but it’ll never leave those who have played it.
Like Death Stranding, the core gameplay loop requires that players really pay attention and focus. Bursting through will lead to problems, and a little bit of stealth goes a long way. Shadow of the Colossus is another amazing game worth playing, but Ico better scratches that Death Stranding itch.
Or maybe it’s the other way around.
7 The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild
It seems highly likely Breath of the Wild will be seen as one of the defining games of not only this past generation, but of the decade. It was a breath of fresh air not just for The Legend of Zelda and Nintendo, but the open world format. Open worlds haven’t been the same since, with Breath of the Wild setting the bar incredibly high. Every little inch matters.
Thankfully, Death Stranding models itself more off of BotW than it does the Ubisoft formula– albeit Death Stranding is intentionally a bit emptier, emphasizing atmosphere and mood. BotW is like that, too, but it’s the sheer quality of exploration that makes it worth playing.
6 Nier: Automata
Yoko Taro and Hideo Kojima’s don’t have much in common as far as their designs go, but both men are two of the most auteur developers working in the industry right now. Their fingerprints are over everything they work on, regardless of the capacity in which they contribute to the game. Nier: Automata is Taro’s latest game and one of his best.
While the core combat is fast and frantic– unlike Death Stranding– but the story and script are thematically brilliant, and Automata is layered from start to finish. It’s the benchmark modern story driven games should strive to reach for. Say something, or don’t say anything at all.
5 Red Dead Redemption II
For as hostile and oppressive Death Stranding’s depiction of the United States is, it’s a very livable world. There’s so much clear effort put into every facet of the world, from the lore to the actual geography. In a generation where most open worlds are devoid of meaningful content, that’s a big deal.
Red Dead Redemption II makes use of a lot of empty space, but it's in benefit to the tone of the game. The American west is on its way out, and these empty spaces are the last bastion of a way of life that’s slowly being faded away.
Death Stranding is by no means a horror game, but it does have quite a few horror elements, especially when confronting BTs and especially in the first half of the game. Sam is basically defenseless for hours. Weapons unlock very slowly, forcing players to get through their first few BT encounters on stealth alone.
Outlast is horror taken to the extreme. Players cannot fight back whatsoever, creating a gameplay loop that’s conceptually similar to Death Stranding’s opening hours. Outlast’s intense passion for horror can scratch that P.T. itch unlike anything else. For extra scares, play Outlast II after finishing the first.
Journey released to immediate critical acclaim and it’s not hard to see why. In a period where the market was oversaturated with space marines, gloom & doom, and generic flavor of the month games (that’s one trend that hasn’t been kicked), Journey offered something more meaningful and specific to the medium.
Understanding the interconnectivity that comes with gaming, Journey silently pairs strangers to journey together on an introspective mission of self discovery. Considering how often Death Stranding slows itself down to simply let players live in the world and listen to Low Roar, Journey makes a comfortable follow up.
2 Super Mario 64
This might seem like a strange pick, but rest assured it absolutely is. What could Super Mario 64 and Death Stranding have in common? Well, not too much outside the fact that the former laid the groundwork for pretty much all 3D games that have since followed. Death Stranding isn’t a platformer, but it’s all about moving through a 3D environment carefully & thoughtfully.
Death Stranding, like Super Mario 64, has one of the most unique control schemes for a modern AAA game. Between gripping, jumping, dashing, Sam’s cargo, and Sam’s stamina is a game all about moving around that’s not too dissimilar to Super Mario 64, at least conceptually.
1 Metal Gear (1987)
In regards to the “Strand” genre, Hideo Kojima reportedly pointed out that the stealth genre didn’t exist when Metal Gear released for the MSX2 in 1987. Stealth as a video game genre only truly materialized after Metal Gear. It isn’t the first game Kojima worked on, but it’s an important one and a title that often goes ignored.Don’t go into it expecting Metal Gear Solid. Go in expecting an 8-bit game by the man behind Death Stranding. It’s a charming stealth game with great level design and plenty of fun set pieces. Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake is the (much) better game, but there’s no reason not to play both, especially after finishing Death Stranding.