Death Stranding: Director’s Cut review for PS5

Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Kojima Productions
Medium: Digital/Disc
Players: 1-2
Online: Leaderboards

When Death Stranding originally launched in 2019, the world was given a game that love it or hate it, is entirely unique. There is no other game out there that you can compare Death Stranding to. It is an experience from beginning to end that can in many ways prove that video games can be just as good at storytelling as the best movies. The Director?s Cut promises to deliver you Death Stranding as it was originally intended, in its full, definitive form. So what differences can you expect to see within the Director?s Cut?

The first and most obvious thing you will see is just how much better all of the visuals are. The PS5 is able to handle the game at a smooth and crisp 60 FPS and deliver beautiful visuals in the textures and world details. Browse the settings menu and you will find a ?cinematic mode? offered to you, which puts the game in a 21:9 format, condensing your hud into the new viewing area, and making the game somehow feel even more atmospheric and dazzling. Cutscenes have seemingly all been re-rendered to look their best and to match the quality increase of the rest of the game, so you?re given a smooth and uniform experience all around.

Within the realm of the open world, Death Stranding?s Director?s Cut remains much the same as the original release. Many of the changes you will experience and notice as you roam in the early game areas are additions made possible by the PS5?s Dualsense controller. As you pick up more cargo and carry it, you?ll find your triggers are increasingly hard to pull in, making keeping your balance feel much more involved should you choose to overburden your character. You get the feeling of ripples across your hands should you use your scanner, the bouncing of Sam?s footsteps under your fingers as you?re pulling the triggers, the unique trigger pull and recoil of each weapon. It?s an additional level of immersion supplied within this release of the game that totally changed the experience.

You?re introduced pretty early on to the new firing range that?s available to you at any shelter you visit. This gives you both a much-appreciated chance to practice with weapons before taking them onto the field as well as a handful of challenges and score competitions against friends and the general internet. Also added in this vein is the race track- an opportunity to use (or abuse) the highways you spent so many precious materials assembling. Also allowing you to compete on a leaderboard, these races seem to introduce some slick new vehicles to Sam?s lineup. Accompanying this is a more expansive highway system, so not only do you get to race on the highway- there?s a substantial amount more of it to cover.

Venture further into the story and more and more wild creations appear in your PCC. Before you know it, you?ll be catapulting cargo across the world with a cannon, taking your bike off the new booster ramps to shoot yourself over mountains and climb to areas never possible before the Director?s cut release thanks to the new Chiral bridges. A handful of new weapons also help to pad out your arsenal, so you can handle the world the way you want. The Maser gun you get very early on lets you quietly zap enemies from far away, knocking them unconscious without alerting others. When all else fails and you resort to your fists, you?ll also find several changes here. What used to be a standard rotation of punch, punch, kick has been fleshed out to feel less repetitive. You?ll notice a knee thrown here and there, or maybe you end up giving an enemy the full Sam delivery via a running dropkick.

Several changes have been made to improve upon previously existing tech as well. You?re now able to take your floaters (the cargo carriers that can follow you) across zip lines. This fact changes a ton about how you can and will navigate the world. In the original version of the game, I found that I basically would never use the zip lines, because despite how helpful they were for navigation, you had to abandon your cargo carriers. The trade-off, in my opinion, was rarely worth it, but I constantly found myself walking much more than I probably needed to, just because I wanted to be a hoarder and collect every container I saw. The delivery bots have surprisingly been given more as well, allowing you to hop on for a ride while they run their destination. Set the delivery bot up to run an errand for you, jump aboard and go have a break while the game takes you for a ride.

Honestly, so much has been tweaked, added, or expanded upon in Death Stranding: Director?s Cut, that I could probably go on for pages and pages about it. I laid out what I think are some of the biggest and best changes above, but there?s so much more to it that I couldn?t possibly tell you all of. If you loved Death Stranding when it launched, the amount of new content and experiences added in the Director?s Cut is well worth the $10 they ask of you for the upgrade. Having played through the base game myself on both PS4 and PC, and now again in the Director?s Cut, it was well worth the new playthrough. If you have never played Death Stranding and are on the fence about picking it up, this is the version to go for. Everything about it has been improved upon, and navigation has been perfected, so if you don?t want to walk 20 minutes to every destination, the Director?s Cut has supplied you with all the right tools to make it faster and more efficient. If you want to know more about the game in general, check out our review of the original version from when it launched in 2019.

Note: Sony provided us with a Death Stranding: Director’s Cut PS5 code for review purposes.

Grade: A+