Hideo Kojima has always been a divisive video game director ever since his rise in popularity. Some think he’s full of himself and his stories have too much dialogue. Others go so far as to suggest he’s a hack. I, however, got into the Metal Gear Solid series at the right time in my life and fell in love with Kojima’s work. I know that he knows what he’s doing. There are many like me, so why is it a common sentiment to feel skeptical about Death Stranding? And why, perhaps, shouldn’t we feel this way?

Kojima Wasn’t Always Difficult To Sell

Kojima’s works have always been difficult to categorize and players can expect the same of Death Stranding. For lack of a better description, his style is akin to a weird love letter to cinema. His works are full of references to Akira, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Blade Runner, and many more films. And while his first hit game on the MSX2, Metal Gear, popularized the idea of a game that focuses on stealth, it wasn’t difficult to see where Kojima was coming from.

Image from Sony.

The series’ first foray into 3D was a lot of people’s first experience with the series. It may have had weird aspects to it, but it was easy enough for people to grasp. Fans who had played the previous two games already had an idea of what to expect. Metal Gear Solid was an spy-thriller action flick that you got to play. Adding clones and cyborg ninjas into the mix couldn’t mess up a formula already proven to work.

When Kojima Does What He Wants

Critics don’t tend to focus on these first games. The games in the Metal Gear series that take the brunt of criticism are Metal Gear Solid 2, Metal Gear Solid 4, and Metal Gear Solid 5. These games get mocked for having more dialogue than gameplay. People criticize them for having convoluted storylines. Gamers were let down when 5 didn’t answer the impossible number of questions the series asked.

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This is where people stand with Death Stranding. While the original Metal Gear series had an entry point that anyone could grasp at first glance, people are at a loss with Death Stranding. Kojima’s style focuses on the complicated world and characters, and we, as players, have barely seen any gameplay — though what we have seen does look really fun.

Image from Sony.

The Only Death Stranding Game Out There

Death Stranding will be the first game in a possible new series. It doesn’t have other games witch which people can compare. Perhaps our lack of reference leads to the fear that it won’t be enjoyable. The concept of the world of the living and the dead crashing together, leaving the living and the dead stranded between two worlds may be too avant-garde.

Metal Gear was a spy thriller. Death Stranding is a… Christopher Nolan movie? People need more to draw them in than abstract concepts and characters. I really believe more hype around the game could be achieved if we were just shown more. We need more than Norman Reedus walking and evading ghost-like creatures to get a package to another location. Kojima should show more enemy types and encounters. We need to see what WE, as the player, will do.

Kojima Needs To Show More and Tell Less

It used to be easy. We could see Snake sneaking past guards, shooting a rocket launcher at a giant robot and we’d understand what was going on. But if the focus of everything we’ve seen of Death Stranding continues to be ‘Norman Reedus: The Delivery Man and His Quirky Friends’, the hype will remain absent.

Image from Sony.

I’ve played Metal Gear Solid 5 and I know that even if a Kojima story leaves a “phantom pain”, the gameplay will still be phenomenal. In the end, only time will tell whether people will actually buy the game or not. But I know I will.

But what do you think? Are you looking forward to Death Stranding? Is there anything you would need to get excited? Let us know in the comments below!

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