Not exactly as brilliant as you think.
It’s been exactly 10 days since Hideo Kojima finally unleashed what many are calling his magnum opus, the spooky deliveryman simulator Death Stranding. As some of our readers know, we didn’t really think the game was all that great. One significant weakness of the game is its interesting but ultimately nonsensical and unsatisfying plot.
To shed light on why I think Death Stranding‘s plot is an embarrassingly weak storyline that is far from deserving all the praises that it is getting, I will go through each vital plot point and explain why they either don’t make sense or end up not being all that intriguing or rewarding.
It goes without saying that my analysis could be completely incorrect. There may have been details and clues that I missed or symbolism that I simply did not understand. My intention is to share my thoughts, not cement them as an objective guideline on how to judge the story of Death Stranding.
Similar to most of Kojima’s games, Death Stranding only begins to tie up every single loose end at the very end of the game with a marathon of cutscenes that last for what feels like at least two hours.
Thanks to Kojima’s lack of skill in writing good dialogue and pacing his endings, I would say I was suffering through those cutscenes rather than just simply watching them.
If you’re reading this article then I hope it means that you have already beaten the game and reached the ending. For the sake of making sure we are all on the same page, let’s just do a short recap of everything we found out at the end.
So What Does It All Mean?
So Amelie and Bridget Strand are both the same person, except Amelie is the soul who exists on the Beach and Bridget is her physical body that exists in the real world. She is also an Extinction Entity (EE) who is destined to cause a massive Death Stranding that will supposedly wipe out humanity and reset the clock for new species to emerge on Earth.
Sam is the original BB and son of Clifford Unger. He doesn’t have a belly button because he was killed in the real world and then revived by Amelie on the Beach. Of course, Sam simply accepts that Bridget is his mother and never questions his inability to have an umbilical cord.
Sam is also fine with never questioning why he never sees his sister and mother in the same room simultaneously. A very convenient level of ignorance, basically.
Clifford The Big Red Herring
This man goes on to recreate several historical warzones so that he could be reunited with his son whom he proceeds to shoot with lethal intention and even sicking a squad of skeleton soldiers on him. After exchanging enough bullets to stockpile a small police station, Cliff finally calms down enough to allow Sam to approach him. Father and son reunited at last.
The possibility of Clifford not knowing that Lou wasn’t his BB is very thin thanks to the fact that we see him in the background when Amelie revives Sam’s dead baby body on the Beach. It’s also reinforced by the scene of Cliff aiming guns at both Bridget and Die-Hardman after Sam and Amelie have their little Beachside jog.
So did Cliff know that Sam was his BB all along? If so, why try so hard to harm Sam?
Evil For The Sake Of Evil
Another villain that is only awesome on paper but absolutely stupid when analysed is Higgs Monaghan. So you are telling me this man got his awesome powers after being hired by Amelie and he does everything he can to stop Sam.
However, it’s also revealed that Amelie wants Sam to reconnect America because a complete chiral network would mean that everyone’s Beaches would merge thus making it easier to end humanity.
I’m having a really hard time understanding why Amelie would purposely create an opponent for Sam, making it harder for him to help her trigger the Extinction Event. It seems that Higgs was just another Disney villain who was evil for the sake of being evil.
Heck, most modern Disney villains are better written than Higgs.
Kojima Needs An Editor Who Can Say “No”
In the end, we are basically given a huge exposition infodump to make sure no threads are left hanging. Because no one at Kojima Productions had the balls to say “You better stop right there, Kojima-san.”, we are given more unanswered questions and a bunch of really awkward expository dialogue that feels like they were written by a high school drama club senior.
For those of you shamelessly asking for Kojima to make his own movie or Netflix show, please think twice. This man will spend hours just explaining sh*t instead of showing it on-screen and making us interpret it for ourselves.