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Game review: Death Stranding Director’s Cut (PS5)

By Damian Seeto, Mon 27 Sep 2021

Since game creator Hideo Kojima got fired from Konami, many people were anxious to see what the Metal Gear Solid inventor would work on next. The famous developer then released his new project called Death Stranding for the PS4 console in late 2019. 

Death Stranding was a very unique experience because the game wasn’t a normal action-adventure title like the Metal Gear Solid series. Instead, you played as Sam Porter Bridges (Norman Reedus) as he trekked through the treacherous terrain to deliver lots of packages. 

If you want to read my original review of Death Stranding, you can do so now by clicking here. I talk more about the story and the main game in the previous review. This review is about the new features that have been added to this PS5 Director’s Cut. 

Anyway, when the original game was released, it was met with a very polarizing reception from some gamers that played it. One of the main criticisms about the game was the lack of action set pieces. I played 37 hours of the main game, and most of the time, I was walking from point A to point B. 

Well, this PS5 Director’s Cut adds a few new features that make the game a little bit more enjoyable than the original version from two years ago. The biggest difference that most people might notice at first glance is the improved visuals on PS5. 

Death Stranding on PS4 already looked like a pretty game thanks to its photorealistic backgrounds and detailed character models. This PS5 version looks even better as you can now run the game at 60fps. Playing at 60fps makes the gameplay look much smoother than before. You must play this game on a 4K TV to see its true brilliance. 

The main game can be somewhat boring sometimes, thanks to the action scenes being too few and far between. Sam Porter Bridges can now do many ‘Drills’ that test your combat skills to combat the lack of action. 

The ‘Drills’ are similar to the VR missions from Metal Gear Solid where you have to take out all of the enemies before you can reach the end goal. In some of the missions, you have to defeat all MULEs, Terrorists or even BTs. You do have a combination of weapons to get through all of these drills. 

You can even participate in Ranked Drills that allow you to compete against other players from around the world. The faster you complete the Drills, the higher your rank will be. The Drills actually provide more action than the base game itself, in my opinion!

One cool thing about this Director’s Cut is some new equipment. A new weapon that people will love is the Maser Gun. This looks and performs like a Ghostbuster gun as a beam of electricity shoots out to incapacitate enemies. It’s really fun, although you need to do some missions before you can unlock it. 

Another new thing you can do in Death Stranding Director’s Cut is build your own race track. If you get the right materials, you can go to the special area to race with the game’s motorcycles and cars on the race track. Although you don’t compete with other physical racers, you are racing against the clock to get the best times. Much like the Drills, there are Ranked Races to compete in, so you can see how fast you are against people worldwide. 

A new feature that will be helpful for the main game/missions is that you can now construct a companion called the ‘Buddy Bot’. This ‘Buddy Bot’ can follow Sam mostly everywhere on the map and can carry heavy cargo. It’s really helpful to have the robot around, although it cannot accompany Sam up steep hills and other treacherous terrain. That being said, it made some of the delivery missions much easier this time around. 

Sadly, I don’t think the Director’s Cut offers too many relevant story missions this time around. The only story missions I discovered involved a new area called the ‘Ruined Factory’. There are some enemies to take out in this area, although the missions themselves are pretty short and only ends with only a few new cutscenes. For a game called the ‘Director’s Cut’, I would have thought more relevant missions would have been added. I was a little disappointed that I could finish the extra missions in such a short amount of time. 

I also disliked the complicated way you had to transfer the PS4 save data to the PS5 game. You need to play Death Stranding on PS4 and make sure you don’t have any active missions under your belt. It took me a while to complete the missions in the PS4 version before I could transfer the save data. It would have been less complicated if it was like Ghost of Tsushima, where you could transfer data using the cloud. 

Overall, I don’t think Death Stranding Director’s Cut will convince new players to pick this game up. The majority of the game is still endless walking, and the extra missions in this Director’s Cut don’t offer anything really that substantial. This Director’s Cut is only worth buying if you loved Death Stranding on PS4 and want to experience some new content. 

Verdict: 7.5/10

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