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For the most part, the critics have been kind to Death Stranding, but the fan reviews have been very mixed. As of this writing, the Metacritic user score for the game is a 6.2, and out of the 1,700-plus reviews, nearly half of them are negative.
One common theme in the negative reviews is that while the game’s cut-scenes and visuals are good, the gameplay and quests are boring and repetitive. Some have even said that it’s essentially a walking simulator, as players are typically taking an item from point-A to point-B with very little resistance in what’s being described as a relatively empty open-world.
While speaking with PlayStation Access, Hideo Kojima, the game’s creator, said that he expected Death Stranding to get mixed reviews because it’s what happens when you try something new.
Kojima also tried something new when he released the first Metal Gear Solid, a game that focused on stealth and infiltration as opposed to constant action. So, naturally, he compared the release of his newest title to the release of the first MGS back in 1998.
“It was the same with Metal Gear Solid,” said Kojima during his chat with PlayStation Access. “I didn’t name the genre at the beginning. At that time, when I made Metal gear, games were often focussed on combat. So I created a game about avoiding combat and infiltration. Then someone called it the stealth genre.”
Death Stranding is the first game in what Kojima is calling the “strand” genre, and even though the style, as of right now, isn’t mainstream, he hopes that his newest release will help get it there. Also, the ex-Metal Gear Solid developer has said that, if his latest release proves to be successful, he’d love to make a sequel.
Back in 2015, Kojima, along with Konami, released Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, which was another highly-anticipated title that got mixed reviews from the fans. But, that was a completely different situation, as the game’s story felt incomplete upon release, largely due to the friction between Kojima and the series’ publisher Konami.
Of course, Death Stranding received a ton of positive feedback as well. Per usual with a Kojima game, the cut-scenes and story are being praised. However, unlike most of his previous games, the gameplay is being described as boring and repetitive, which, if you think about it, isn’t much different from other open-world titles. But, because the game’s world feels so empty, traveling from point-A to point-B is a bit tedious, according to some of the fan reviews.