The review embargo for Death Stranding Director’s Cut has been lifted, but I…have not completed the game yet. Even though I’ve played through the game before on the PS4, I’m never a fan of rushing through games, especially on a story-driven game like Death Stranding.
And I’m glad I’m taking my time. It looks stunning on the PS5, the extra content (even if I haven’t explored all of them yet) give a breath of fresh air to the game, and most importantly, Death Stranding is still one of the most enjoyable games I’ve played – it really is Hideo Kojima’s best masterpiece to date.
Yes, it’s still as bizarre as ever, and I enjoy every bit of it. Well, maybe not some of the treacherous deliveries, but the top-notch narrative, star-studded cast, and much improved graphics make this a must-play title on the PS5 – especially for those who haven’t played Death Stranding yet.
Compared to the original Death Stranding, the Director’s Cut version for the PS5 adds quite a number of new content. These include route guides that detail the path that you can take for the delivery, new equipment, and even a firing range to get yourself familiarised with these new equipment.
Now, given that I’m only about halfway through the game, there are still several new content that I haven’t seen yet. But so far, I do find the game less arduous in the early stages; I was told several rewards and equipment are introduced nearer to the start of the game now to make it easier for players to get into the groove.
Of course, one of the biggest upgrades Death Stranding Director’s Cut brings is improved graphics on the PS5. After all, the game is fully remastered for the next-gen console, and it looks absolutely incredible. Character models are painfully detailed, their facial expressions are amazing, and the sprawling landscapes are even more awe-inspiring now.
If you have an ultrawide monitor, you’ll be happy to know that unlike other PS5 titles, there’s an option to enable widescreen mode to play the game in the “cinematic” 21:9 aspect ratio. Trekking through the beautiful, post-apocalyptic landscapes of Death Stranding in such a wide aspect ratio is definitely something worth experiencing.
There are also two graphics options for Death Stranding on the PS5. Performance Mode offers scaled 4K resolution at up to 60fps, while Fidelity Mode runs the game in native 4K. I’ve tried both modes, and I can’t tell if there’s any tangible difference in frame rate – I’ll see if anything changes as I progress through the game.
Speaking of which, I saw very little loading screens throughout the game so far. Even if I there are some – usually in-between lengthy cutscenes – they load very, very quickly. This can be attributed to the fast SSD of the PS5, which makes for a pleasant gaming experience.
Another great hardware of the PS5 that Death Stranding Director’s Cut took advantage of is the DualSense controller. When it rains in the game, I can “feel” the droplets of water through the refined haptic feedback of the controller. I can even feel Sam’s footsteps as he makes his way through the rocky mountains.
But what really impressed me is how the game made use of the DualSense’s adaptive triggers. As I pile on more cargo on Sam’s backpack, the adaptive triggers also provide more resistance as I try to steady his balance by holding onto the L2 and R2 triggers.
These smart uses of the DualSense controller really do give an extra layer of immersion in Death Stranding, and I can’t wait to see how later content in the game will make further use of the haptic feedback and adaptive triggers.
While I love these additions and new features in Death Stranding Director’s Cut, what I really, really look forward to is engrossing myself in the narrative of the game again. The storyline, as bizarre as it is, is really captivating, which is further accentuated by the amazing performances of the star-studded cast.
Norman Reedus convincingly plays Sam as a jaded, post-apocalyptic deliveryman, Mads Mikkelsen’s scenes throughout the game are always oh-so captivating, and of course, Troy Baker – who’s well-known for voicing Joel in The Last of Us series – delivers each one of his dialogue with gusto and emotions effortlessly.
If you haven’t played through Death Stranding before, this Director’s Cut version is absolutely a must-play PS5 game. Retailing at only RM209 for the Standard Edition, it’s not particularly expensive either. If you own a PS4 copy of the original game, you can upgrade to the Digital Deluxe Edition – which usually costs RM249 – for RM50.
Death Stranding Director’s Cut launches on the PS5 on 24 September.