Zen and the Art of Death Stranding.

Like many a university student the latter part of November saw the looming deadlines of semester spanning capstone projects and papers slowly closing in on me. But I was often caught by surprise, what do you mean its 2am… it was just 6 at night, I just had dinner, why I am hungry? It turns out when you’re taking care of the base needs and objectives of someone else you can forget about your own, and that’s what happened when I would take these “short” breaks to sheppard Norman Reedus around a post apocalyptic panoramic America.

What’s really ironic for me about this game is how much I ought to hate it. Long marches with heavy packs? Pissing down rain constantly? Having to keep some brand new individual alive? No thanks, I did my time in the army, and by the end of it I was an inch shorter with a bum knee, and yet… hours melted away when I played this game and my army habits came out in full force as well.

Not pictured: My knees screaming

Oh I’ve picked up some new items? Better rearrange my pack load for the most efficient balance and access to tools and weapons. Heading out to a new location? I would spend ten minutes at a time staring at the ingame map looking for the easiest routes of travel, studying the terrain as best I could, putting down waypoints, or sometimes to challenge myself just trying to find landmarks and compass headings like I was on some digital land navigation course. A lot of it was very tedious and monotonous, but it had an interesting side effect I was relaxed and focused.

I found that if loaded up my pack and set out on a long trek and delivered cargo to some poor sap in a bunker, I could pause afterwards and sit down and knock out the kinds of assignments that I had put off or had been disproportionately draining me relatively easily. There was something deeply satisfying and calming about travelling through this gorgeous world, delivering goods and completing objectives, and it made knocking out objectives in the real world more palatable. Will Death Stranding have the same focusing and calming effects on you like it did me, give it a shot it can’t hurt, but just in case that’s not enough for you or what you’d like here’s a little sumthin’ sumthin’ extra.

It kills me that these aren’t really people

Kojima’s really made a spectacle for the senses with this one. The characters and environments are beautifully rendered, the voice acting is top notch, and Norman Reedus is Norman Reedus, that’s either a selling point for you or it isn’t, I won’t judge. The story is Kojima unleashed, and depending on whether or not you have experience Kojima storytelling before, and whether or not you liked it that could be a deal breaker, but I went into this ready ready and waiting for the insanity. Combat isn’t bad it also isn’t the greatest, but then I don’t think combat is the point of this game, so I don’t have any complaints on that front.

Maybe if you need a little clarity, and you’ve got some time, take a long delivery, take in the sights and complete a tangible objective. Maybe that little W for your day helps you get some forward momentum going.

The Ol’ Ruck Sack flop, I don’t miss it.