Hyped or Afraid? E3 Special: Death Stranding

This has been one of the few exclusives that Sony fans have been dying to get their hands on. But also equally the responses have been “eh”. I can say for myself that while I respect and admire Hideo Kojima for his direction and talents towards the Metal Gear Solid series, I also have a few things I dislike him for. Not in a mean-spirited way but rather how he does take liberties with his fans at times, how he exploits his need to make excessively long cut-scenes and not just make a feature film or even his weird lack of respect for the media, stating gaming is not art. Even though directors such as John Carpenter say it is. But I’m going on without discussing the real elephant in the room, Death Stranding. What’s the problem, well take a look.

Meaningless celebrity additions?

Famous faces … just not with the best voice acting

I’m not having a go at the actors here but it just seems like Hideo is just getting off on adding more celebrities to his “masterpiece”. While Norman Reedus seems like a nice enough guy it’s just he’s not very gripping in his acting chops. Unlike other actors from the Walking Dead, he’s very one note at most times, unlike certain other actors from the show.

I bring this up because Hideo was the one who got rid of David Hater for no good reason other than he wanted a buddy to play the role of Big Boss. I like Kiefer Sutherland and he does a decent job but in the end, it’s basically Hideo pissing on the fans by taking away a fantastic actor and a massive component of the series. Now Mads Mikkelsen is another great actor and I’m sure his presence will add gravitas to the game world of Death Stranding. But my problem is that not all film/TV actors can pull off decent voice acting. I’m fine with the actors and their work but they have done very little to prove their skills in voices acting.

Daniel Craig, Cary Elwes, Anne Hathaway, Nathan Fillion and Christian Bale are talented voice actors with right presence for the job. They have that distinguished vocal pattern which you recognize but could blend in within any form of creation. Then there are those who don’t. I feel that Hideo is using the face of the actor rather than their talents. Personally, Norman Reedus and Léa Seydoux just don’t have the presence to pull off voice acting. Even Scarlet Johnson despite her acting skills has a very good presence for vocal acting.

Equal genius, equal dullard madman?

No, he’s really not…

Hideo has been the forerunner of innovated gameplay and dynamic mechanics within his many series, with Metal Gear Solid inspiring others such as Uncharted and Splinter Cell. Although for every great idea he has for a set piece or mechanic, there’s usually an extremely dull mission objective or tedious cutscene following it. I loved MGS V for its freedom of choice and various tactical gameplay elements, but couldn’t stand the boring mission objectives it had to other or the tedious amounts of traversing in an open world that had plenty of gaps.

From what we saw of the latest trailer there’s plenty of walking, walking, and more walking. Hideo in recent years has developed a thing for walking and I can understand why. If the world around you is stunningly beautiful then sure why not and the game seems to revolve around you being a delivery guy. But if it’s just walking, invading inviable enemies with boring mission objectives, then I don’t see how this could be a winning formula. Also when already he’s using elements from Metal Gear Solid V or boring idea from other games, where you can hold your breath to avoid detection.

Is History repeating itself?

With Hideo’s track record this game could take around 5 or more years to complete with Hideo having an “endless” budget from Sony apparently. Now I don’t like Konami as they do suck in general and treat their licenses like **** but they might’ve had a leg to stand on if Hideo was spending millions of dollars and nearly ten years to develop MGS V. I think most publishers would get a little annoyed if (even they’re golden child) a director came to them and asked for a few more years and more money on a project that was overrunning its course. Not to mention how Hideo was already pissing people off other than David Hater.

Could this be in development for another 5 years? This is very likely as we’ve not seen very much gameplay footage, aside from a couple of minutes of walking and Hideo know this. He’s already placed messages in his trailers to get fans guessing and again from track record he could just be trolling us. It wouldn’t surprise me if Hideo just took another ten years to develop and it equaled to just “fine”. Mainly because his fan’s and loyal followers will hype his up until their dying breathes and the guys at The Game Awards will make sure of this.

But this all leads to my next and final point.

It seems like nothing new

I was genuinely excited for PT and the prospect of Silent Hills. Hideo had gripped me with the PT demo and I thought to myself he had moved on and decided to branch into other realms of the gaming. But then he’s decided to take a step back and repeat MGS V with invisible monsters and his best buddy in the spotlight. Was this a compromise? Or was this his way of giving us all the crap he couldn’t put in MGS V? As said before I love MGS V but there were some major problems, from dull mission structures to bad boss battles and all of that his own doing.

Was that a sign he had lost his touch? Maybe he should just make a feature film instead.

I’m not holding my breath for Death Stranding (unlike Norma Reedus) and will either wait patiently or not be bummed out if this never comes to light of day. Hideo, just either move on with a new genre like an FPS game and reinvent that or make a feature film and say how gaming is not art.

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