The long-awaited PC version of Death Stranding is finally being released on July 14. Written, directed, and produced by Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima, it’s his first game since leaving Konami, and it’s every bit as wild, weird, and wonderful as you’d expect. We’ll have a proper review shortly before it launches, but until then, here are some early impressions based on a few hours with a (very complete-feeling) preview build of the game.

I’ll save the full rundown of what Death Stranding is actually about for the review, ’cause it’s gonna take some explaining. But the simplest way to put it is that you are Sam Porter Bridges (played by The Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus), a courier delivering supplies across a vast, eerie, post-apocalyptic United States. You spend much of the game hiking, climbing, wading through rivers, navigating rough terrain, and wondering how the hell you’re gonna get this big, precarious stack of parcels over that distant mountain range. It’s kinda like Spintires without the vehicles. At least in its early stages.

(Image credit: Kojima Productions)

(Image credit: Kojima Productions)

One of Death Stranding’s many idiosyncrasies is how, despite ostensibly being set in the US, the landscape is quite clearly based on the frozen tundra of Iceland. I mean, look at the screenshots: that is clearly Scandinavia, not North America. That curious detail aside, the environments are really stunning to look at—especially in 4K. And virtual photographers will be glad to know that the PC version comes bundled with an extensive photo mode. It’s great, but it’s dangerous, ’cause I keep stopping to take photos, which is making an already lengthy game even longer. Even ignoring its copious side missions, Death Stranding will take around 40-50 hours to finish.



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