Your Move: 'Death Stranding'
Hideo Kojima is a rarity in the world of high-budget video game production. He's an auteur. The Metal Gear Solid games are all branded "A Hideo Kojima Game." He has a certain sensibility, but there has also always been a sense that he's been held back. That was before he formed his own independent studio, Kojima Productions, which just released its first game — Death Stranding.
Describing this game is a challenge. The core gameplay loop is pretty simple. You play as a courier, and you have to walk from point A to point B without falling and damaging your cargo too much. There are hazards — rough terrain, bandits out to steal your cargo. It's more challenging than it sounds, but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't tedious at times.
The real draw here, as with Kojima's other games, is the story. Death Stranding tells you both too much and not enough about the world the game takes place in. The first few hours have only about half an hour of actual gameplay, with the rest of the time spent showing you a post-apocalyptic America that you'll traverse throughout the game.
When I bought my copy, the cashier said he had sold the game to two other people that day, and neither one could tell him what it was about. I said, "I'll be surprised if any of us can tell you what it's about after we've finished it." When you buy Call of Duty 16, or Madden 2020, you know exactly what you're getting. What you get in Death Stranding is something truly different. Something new. It's weird. It's kinda boring. It's borderline nonsense. But it's beautiful. It knows what it is and isn't afraid to be just that. And that's what keeps me playing.