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Death Stranding Review Roundup: A Mixed Response

Ever since it was first announced, Hideo Kojima's Death Stranding has been one of the industry's most hotly-anticipated games. While there's still about a week of waiting fans will have to do before they can get their hands on the game, professional reviews have started appearing online, and many are in agreement that Death Stranding is yet another Hideo Kojima classic, though others aren't quite on board.

For the most part, Death Stranding review scores have been pretty high, with the game earning some perfect scores from certain publications. On the flip side, Death Stranding has also earned mixed and even low scores from others. Some reviewers seem to love Death Stranding's story, whereas the story has been a major source of criticism for others. Some found the gameplay to be enthralling, whereas other reviewers seemed to have been bored by it.

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RELATED: Death Stranding PC Release Window Announced

Death Stranding has so far earned more high scores than it has low scores, and at the time of its writing, its review aggregate score is sitting at around 83. When we first started checking the reviews, it was listed at 92, so it's quite possible that the Death Stranding review score average will change again after this review roundup is published. With that in mind, here is what the critics are saying about Death Stranding.

Death Stranding Sam

EGM (Mollie L Patterson)

In the end, Death Stranding’s biggest mystery isn’t any of the elements we’ve had teased in three-plus years of trailers—it’s what people are going to think of it. Even from a man known for making love-them-or-hate-them projects, this may end up being one of the most divisive games ever created. For me, it was an experience that I can truly say was unlike any other I remember. And, if nothing else, Death Stranding makes me respect Hideo Kojima for convincing Sony to invest millions into a game that’s about a man delivering packages to holograms.

Score: 5/5

GameSpot (Kallie Plagge)

Death Stranding is a hard game to absorb. There are many intertwining threads to its plot, and silly names, corny moments, and heavy exposition belie an otherwise very simple message. That comes through much more clearly in the game's more mundane moments, when you find a desperately-needed ladder left behind by another player or receive a letter from an NPC thanking you for your efforts. It's positive without ignoring pain; in fact, it argues in both its story and its gameplay that adversity itself is what makes things worth doing and life worth living. It's a game that requires patience, compassion, and love, and it's also one we really need right now.

Score: 9/10

Destructoid (Chris Carter)

Death Stranding is not the overly-strange inaccessible walled garden the marketing has made it out to be. It's weird, don't get me wrong! But anyone with a surface-level understanding of surrealism in art should be able to acclimate to what is essentially a playable Hollywood production.

Score: 8/10

Game Informer (Matthew Kato)

Try as it might, Death Stranding’s story doesn’t shore up its faults. It’s the normal Kojima mix of twists-and-turns, tropes, and overbearing themes, but at least I like that it explores real-world topics like the theory of multiple dimensions and key events in the history of the planet’s biodiversity. Like Sam himself, I often wasn’t sure why I kept going in Death Stranding. Maybe there was a little bit of pride in another task checked off the list, another job done. Unfortunately, this added up to little reward in the end.

Score: 7/10

IGN (Tristan Ogilvie)

Certain landmark games in recent years, like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Red Dead Redemption 2, have managed to successfully tread the line between the rigidity of realism and the exhilaration of pure escapism. But much like its stumbling protagonist, Death Stranding just can’t consistently get the balance right despite possessing equally lofty ambitions and countless inventive ideas. There is a fascinating, fleshed-out world of supernatural science fiction to enjoy across its sprawling and spectacular map, so it’s a real shame that it’s all been saddled on a gameplay backbone that struggles to adequately support its weight over the full course of the journey. It’s fitting that Kojima Productions’ latest is so preoccupied with social media inspired praise, because in some ways I did ‘Like’ Death Stranding. I just didn’t ever love it.

Score: 6.8/10

PowerUp! (Leo Stevenson)

Death Stranding is not entertaining. As such, it fails as a video game, it fails as a narrative and it fails overall.

Score: 3/10

As can be seen by the Death Stranding reviews, scores for Hideo Kojima's bizarre open world game are really all over the place. It seems like one's either going to love it or hate it, and it will be interesting to see what the general public thinks once the game is in the hands of gamers.

From its Conan O'Brien cameo to its bizarre "baby in a jar" concept, Death Stranding is definitely a weird game, and so it's not all that surprising that it's so polarizing. It will be interesting to see if its review aggregate score shifts any further as more reviews are tallied.

Death Stranding launches on November 8 for PC, and is coming to PC in summer of 2020.

MORE: What is Death Stranding?

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