In 2016 at E3, Hideo Kojima revealed the new game he was working on in fantastic fashion: a trailer of a naked Norman Reedus waking up next to a crying baby, the baby disappearing and covering Reedus in black tar, and Reedus standing up and looking out over an ocean at five floating figures. Death Stranding.
For the next three years until the game’s release this past November, “what is Death Stranding about?” has been a question continuously asked by enthusiasts in the gaming community. Later trailers did not do much to help clarify: from Mads Mikkelsen commanding troops in a sewer to Reedus witnessing an invisible monster carry another person away, the point and plot of the game was shrouded in complete mystery.
Well after 52 hours I’ve completed the story of Death Stranding so I can tell you what the game is about. I can also tell you, surprisingly, that a lot of the weirdness that was shown off in trailers actually makes sense in the context of the game. Kojima, if nothing else, managed something very few others are capable of: drumming up interest and intrigue for a brand new IP without revealing any of the plot, really.
But did he make a good game?
That’s what I’m about to review. I’m going to spoil some things about the game (although nothing major related to the story), so if you want to go into the game completely blind it’s probably a good idea to skip this. But for the rest of you, read on.
We’ve got a somewhat special episode for this week’s Make Me A Gamer! Since last week was a four-day holiday weekend for TMan and HarveyZ, they recorded a special, slightly shorter than usual episode that focuses specifically on one game: Death Stranding! HarveyZ watched TMan play for an hour or so and then they discussed it for half an hour!
TMan had played through Episode 7 of Death Stranding and spoils gameplay (and minor story elements) throughout the episode, so if you want to know as little as possible about the game feel free to skip this episode. Otherwise, we hope you enjoy! This is a new format we’re trying out and we may do similar, shorter burst episodes focused on a single game in the future!
This weekend TMan is going to be at PAX Unplugged, which means expect another shorter, half-hour episode next week as well which will be numbered as 52-2: together they will be the length of one full episode!
Are you looking for an ear feast before Thanksgiving (if you’re American)? Well Make Me A Gamer has you covered! Enjoy a brand new episode of TMan and HarveyZ doing what they do best: talking about games and getting random facts wrong!
WARNING: The first about 9 minutes contains the spoiler for The Mandalorian that you probably already know about as well as spoilers for Game of Thrones. Skip to 8:58 to miss all the spoiler related discussion.
This Week On Make Me A Gamer
Harvey Z Snaps: Pens vs. Pencils
Main Course #1: E-mail Questions from Overbob & The Google Stadia Launch
Hey everyone! It’s episode 50 of Make Me A Gamer coming live to your earholes! We can’t believe we’ve made it this far, and to celebrate episode 50 we’re doing a throwback episode! Yes, that’s right, this week’s episode goes old-school as we recorded it back during our summer hiatus, and we’re releasing it as our 50th episode because we totally planned it like that, and it didn’t just happen to fall on a week where HarveyZ was busy and couldn’t record. Yup! Totally planned!
So join us for a throwback episode with no HarveyZ Snaps, no Game of the Week, no fun segments. Just unfiltered, chaotic discussion where we talk about weddings, Doctor Who, favorite TV shows, Harry Potter houses and what type of gamer each house would be, D&D alignments, and more! There’s also a fun throwback to TMan & HarveyZ discussing Fire Emblem Three Houses before it took over their lives! Enjoy this blast from the past and we’ll be back with up-to-date episodes next week!
(This episode was recorded on ????? 2019. Somewhere in July, before Fire Emblem came out.)
When I was a kid I talked to myself. I was an only child, but also an introvert with an active imagination. I never created an imaginary friend that I named, but I did talk to myself a lot. A second version of myself displaced; someone I could argue with to solidify my point of view or show off something cool I did. I’m not going to lie – I still do it occasionally as an adult. Not nearly as often, but sometimes yourself is the best company.
Disco Elysium is a game about talking to yourself. You play as a guy who wakes up in a hotel room with complete amnesia. You don’t know your name, who you are, what you’re doing there, or why your tie is hanging from the ceiling fan. But you do have 24 differing voices in your head that talk to you and you can talk back to them. Sometimes you should listen to them – and sometimes they give you very bad advice.
Disco Elysium is also a game about talking to other people. And while the greater story is an interesting and captivating mystery that you have to deduce the answer to through careful interrogations (or brash, depending on your choice), a lot of the charm and fun of the game are the conversations with yourself. And a lot of the uniqueness comes from your actions determining what kind of person these emotions are piloting. Is he a communist? A feminist? A fascist? A hobocop? How you act towards other people shapes your inner thoughts, and then your inner thoughts get more and more of a say in your outer conversations.
Disco Elysium is a game that spoke to me (ha!) on many levels and that I enjoyed my time with immensely. I’ll spoil the ending of this review right now: if you like dialogue-heavy branching RPGs, just go ahead and play this now, you don’t need my review. But if you want to hear more about this game works and more plot details – read on.