Death Stranding Director's Cut Review

Death Stranding Director's Cut

By Paul Hunter

My 2019 game of the year, Death Stranding, is back with Hideo Kojima's definitive edition on PS5. The original game was already close to gaming perfection with its all-star cast, captivating new world to explore and unique social strand gameplay. But being the auteur that he is, Hideo felt his creation wasn't all that it could be. And so here we are two years later checking out all the new content on offer in the Director's Cut.

I had two choices when doing this review: I could import my PS4 save, see all the trophies pop, and immediately start checking out the new content, or I could start fresh with a new save. I decided on the latter because I wanted to re-experience this epic game from the beginning, plus I heard the new additions appear naturally as you play instead of being concentrated in a new end-game zone. Let's get into what's new and my impressions of each!

The PS5 Enhancements

Immediately when starting the game I was impressed at the glorious 4K resolution with HDR. Death Stranding's post-apocalyptic world was already stunning to look at on PS4 Pro, but this whole world really shines on PS5. If you've got a large TV with HDR capabilities get ready for some serious eye candy.

The Director's Cut also takes full advantage of the PS5 DualSense controller. At first I noticed the subtle haptic feedback as I traversed the rocky terrain, which soon gives way to immersive shaking as the timefall precipitation starts raining down. Once I hit the snowy terrain a few deliveries in, I was totally impressed with the snow crunchy effects of both the haptics and the adaptive trigger resistance. Much like the recently released Ghost of Tsushima Director's Cut, this latest Kojima offering really delivers on the DualSense immersion front.

New Activities: The Firing Range and Racetrack

One of the best additions in the Director's Cut is the Firing Range, available at any Bridges facilities. This is the ideal place to try out Sam's full arsenal in VR simulated rooms crawling with MULES. You can have a blast testing out all your weapons against a range of targets and go for the top score. There are also ranked courses where you can win badges to put on your profile—and who doesn't like a little humble bragging to show off your accomplishments?

After completing Order No. 35 you can restore the racetrack just south of Timefall Farm and enjoy some fun new paved-road racing. Quite honestly the car handling in Death Stranding has always been average so while the racing is nowhere close to Forza or Gran Turismo quality, it still provides an enjoyable diversion mostly for goofing around. That said, there is a new Roadster vehicle designed specifically for racing with its low profile and high top speed, a nice touch. Also, competitive gamers can challenge other players for the best time in recurring ranked events. All the effort you spend racing will raise your Porter Grade, a great side benefit.

The Metal Gear-style Stealth Missions

Just up the hill from Geoff Keighley's (a.k.a. the Luden's Fan) shelter are the ruins of an old factory. This new location, which can be played as early as Episode 2, is different from the usual delivery missions in that you'll need to use stealth to infiltrate the factory without being detected. The best part is you're granted the all-new Maser Gun that's perfect for taking out MUILES non-lethally to avoid creating huge voidout explosions. You can permanently keep/fabricate the gun afterwards, too, and you can even bring it into the Firing Range to zap your way to the fastest time.

The ruined factory entrance is quite mysterious with its entrance tunnel accessible via piled cars. Once inside you get the immediate sense this mission will be unlike any you've experience before and I couldn't help wondering why this factory is here and what secrets does it hold. Those questions eventually get revealed in the usual dramatic Kojima way and I don't think fans will be disappointed.

New Fabrications and Customizations

We also get a plethora of new fabricated items in the Director's Cut. My favourite is the Buddy Bot, which is a bi-pedal robot pal you can use to deliver packages or even carry Sam all the way to your next destination. The main drawback to your Buddy Bot is that it only works within the chiral network so you can't trespass into MULE territory. Oh, and the highest delivery rank you can achieve is an A if you use your buddy.

Another cool new fabrication option is the Cargo Catapult that enables you to shoot cargo over long distances. This a super quick way to launch heavy cargo to the nearest Bridges facility and lets you walk unencumbered for maximum speed and stability. And if you're worried about your launched cargo getting damaged—fear not! You can deploy a parachute to glide your cargo to a safe landing.

There are also a whole bunch of new odds and ends you can fabricate, like a Support Skeleton that's like a half-way point between the Power Skeleton (for carrying heavy loads) and the Speed Skeleton (for running faster). The game also includes the Half-Life and Cyberpunk 2077 DLC that previously released on PC, including new accessories, equipment and vehicles. And finally, I can't forget to mention the new BB Pod customization that lets you add colourful new skins to your pod. If only the colours would help sooth the baby and stop it from crying, but I guess that's going a step too far! 👶

The Verdict

Games of this caliber are exceedingly rare. Death Stranding Director's Cut is a masterpiece, without question the definitive version for one of the best games I've played in the last few years. Whether you've played the PS4 version or are thinking of checking it out for the first time, don't pass up your chance to play this gem on PS5.

Final Score: 10/10 - Masterpiece

Death Stranding Director's Cut details

Platform: PS5
Developer: Kojima Productions
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Genre: Action
Modes: Single-player
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)

A key was provided by the publisher.