Death Stranding: Director’s Cut Review

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Take me down to Capitol Knot City…

Another month, another reissue. This time, it’s Hideo Kojima’s divisive epic that gets the Director’s Cut treatment. Much like the Ghost of Tsushima DC, this won’t be diving too much into the full game’s intricacies. For that, you can find our original review HERE for that one, which we gave a rousing 9.5. This review will, however, focus on the new additions, including missions, graphical options and equipment. As such, it might be a tad shorter, so we’ll focus a little bit on the performance differences as well.

That doesn’t stop a quick recap though. Playing as Sam Porter-Bridges, the game sees you traversing across America, in order to re-establish a communications network and bring the country back online. Of course, it’s not quite that straightforward, as you’ll encounter ghosts, terrorists, flashback sequences and, naturally, a baby in a jar. If that sounds as nonsensical as it reads, then allow me to introduce you to Hideo Kojima. The man’s bonkers. With the moniker of “Director’s Cut”, it obviously sounds like it’s Kojima let loose, and to my mind, he’s been a bit restrained. There are a few neat additions that get thrown in, and a couple that don’t quite hit the mark. So let’s take a look.
I started the game fresh and played around 5 hours or so, before transferring my PS4 save and picking up in the final sequences. The first thing to report is that the PC exclusive content is all here. Yep, the Cyberpunk and Half-Life sidequests are all there. Although this is technically old content, it’s never been released on the PS4, so it was new to me! These are fun little “lost cargo” and fetch quests, which will give you either some Valve themed gear, or some nifty hacks into your Odradek. I’ll let you guess which pack is which!

Secondly, possibly the most bonkers of all of the additions, the race track. Death Stranding isn’t famed for its vehicle physics, I think that’s fair to say. However, you can build a race track (near the Timefall Farm, if you’re curious), which gives you a series of time trial races to burn through, allowing you to bring any of your vehicles along for a spin. The track itself is a permanently charging road, so you won’t lose any battery unless you’re boosting, which becomes a bit of a moot point if you want to get the best times, as you’ll be doing that constantly. However, despite the threat of managing your battery levels throughout all of the races, I managed to complete them all without ever stopping the boost, even with the “standard” levels of vehicle. Looping back round to my original comment, however, it’s a bit of a slog. The races themselves are short and long course variants of the same track, with reverse modes built in for an additional challenge. It’s nothing mind-blowing, and with the handling being as finicky as it is, it does come across as a bit clunky at times. Vehicles snap back into place with an alarming speed, making navigation of tight corners feel very difficult. With that being said, it’s a fun side mode if you’re just looking for something else to do, but it’s not something I’d hang the entire game on.

But what about that Metal Gear inspired mission, I hear you cry. Well… It’s there. It is, ultimately, a very short quest line that provides you with some new gear, but if I’m honest, it left me wanting a lot more. As a long standing Metal Gear fan, there were some wonderful winks and nudges (as well as a few blatant sledgehammers to the cranium) in terms of references, but it all seemed to be over before it began, and it left me wondering if they really showed too much in that initial hype-garnering reveal trailer. There are some further mysteries which unfold once the mission is done, however, but I won’t spoil those here.

It does lead me nicely on to the new equipment, though. There are some new vehicle types (primarily thanks to the previously PC exclusive content), as well as some new buildable items in the world. The most fun of these has to be the cargo catapult, which allows you to fling items across the map with no real downside (as long as you remember to open the parachute). There’s also a new ramp for vehicles, a “Chiral bridge”, which allows only Bridges personnel to cross it, and the Buddy Bot, which allows you to have a robot pal helping you with a bunch of cargo without the risk of toppling over. Oh, and the biggest thing? You can finally link Mountain Knot City and the Delivery Centre in the east, saving you from that arduous journey across the northern route of the central area.

There is also a firing range that’s been added alongside Sam’s personal quarters. This allows you to run through a bunch of missions, akin to the old MGS VR Missions, and compete for the best rankings among your friends. This range will expand the more weapons you accrue, so it’s worth dipping back into it every now and then.

The final new feature is the graphical options. While there are only two of them, they allow you to switch between a native 4k output with a variable frame rate, or a locked 60fps with dynamic resolution scaling. While we don’t have the resources to pixel-count, any dips in resolution were minimal when running in performance mode, and any dips in frame rate were just as minimal in fidelity mode. I was genuinely surprised at how well the frame rate held up on the fidelity mode, Kojima Productions has really excelled in making this the definitive version of the game. There’ll be a full comparison video coming soon, but whichever mode you play it in will be a superb upgrade from the PS4 version of the game, although I’m not a huge fan of locking things like that behind a paywall, even if it is only a fiver. Unless there’s a patch coming for the standard PS4 version to unlock the frame rate, in which case I’ll retract my statement.

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Article Rating
9.5

If you’ve yet to play Death Stranding, check out our original review for a full breakdown of the ins and outs of the game. It’s an absolute stunner, and playing it in close to 4k at a buttery smooth 60fps is a wonderful way to experience it for the first time. At this point I’ve put over 100 hours into the game, and there are still new things for me to uncover. While the new content undoubtedly expands and enhances the majority of the experience, there is a slight feeling of over-egging the pudding when it comes to things like the race track, but it’s all optional. It’s something remarkably different, and something you owe it to yourself to play. If you have already played it, it all comes down to whether you want spend a fiver to dive back into the world and carry on Sam’s journey in a higher frame rate. I didn’t realise I wanted that, but having sunk plenty of hours into it over the review period, I absolutely did.

Editor-In-Chief - NGB. Started writing for NGB in 2013, 3 years later I was running the show. I love what we do here, if you want to get involved, get in touch! PSN/Xbox LIVE/Steam - Winstano

@winstano

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