Connected to the world of Hideo Kojima

Baroque painters painted only on request. Without a patron, being able to express oneself was simply not feasible. There are more than a few filmmakers who direct films with supervision and by contract to carry out their most personal works, the works they really want to shine. Many times, for the artist, the medium is expensive. Prohibitive in many cases. And when it comes to video games, the same thing happens in that unrepeatable Spain of the Golden Age. Hideo Kojima left Konami, the only company he had worked in, after designing, directing, writing, producing, collaborating and supervising video games for her. For almost 30 years. And for more than 20 years, he lived for and for a saga: Metal Gear Solid. Lit, however, in 1987, linked as few to all kinds of awards, prizes and recognitions, and which has unanimous critical acclaim in practically each and every one of the games that comprise it.

It will not be me who lightly affirms that video games are art. But it is indisputable that Hideo Kojima has a head, a heart and, above all, an artist”s soul. The walls of the video game as a format are practically insurmountable when it comes to making art and, in the case at hand, the publisher”s yoke, completely understandable on the other hand, made each of those barriers even more difficult to demolish. To avoid catching my fingers, for the moment I will say that Kojima may not be an artist, but I do affirm that he is a great craftsman. Because geniuses are those who do things that others do not. Death Stranding is the result of working among the infamous, or divine, depending on how you look at it, walls and rules of the video game. But this time with no yoke on the shoulders, Hideo Kojima manages to go further than he ever did with any of his previous jobs.

Kojima achieves through a unique game play making us feel what he wants us to feel. It moves away from the most commercial formulas and mechanics, groped and perverted to pay tribute to loneliness, overwhelming and restlessness, to the misery of the independent, to open a window full of light through its journey for our character and for us as players. And also for the industry. He is committed to the reality of his time and expresses and extols values ​​impossible to dissociate from the nature of man. His game was born as a consequence of the acts of the world today, marked by issues such as Brexit, Donald Trump”s management of the United States or the political problem of Catalonia. And Kojima He also uses his medium to transmit emotions, without ever neglecting his commitment to aesthetics. It puts you to handle a Dual Shock full of blood from the wounds of a world that bears many more similarities to ours than it seems. A futuristic, science fiction plot, almost post-apocalyptic and of which I am not going to say anything more, helps him to baste his creature. But all this he achieves, he does it through a command, a controller, or whatever you want to call it. With the unique tools of the format that works and knows better.

The premise of the game is identical to that of 9 out of 10 titles that go out to hundreds every year since always: go from point A to point B. This, which is one of those impassable divine or infamous walls, Kojima turns it into great traits, in carrying out missions as commissions that require carrying certain loads. As they are realized, an open world will be interconnected. In Death Stranding, the how and the during take on special relevance, and the always recurring and no less aided “what is important is not the destination, it is the way”, makes more sense than it has rarely had in the world of video games.

The Decima graphics engine of Guerrilla Games It is used as a tool to sculpt a world that overwhelms, visually, for its beauty and solidity. And in the intangible, due to the sensations that come from the anecdote of the life it houses and the welcoming of bunker cities that live independently, marginalized, turning their backs on the rest of a world that is hostile, impassive and ungovernable, without also appearing to some of its citizens care. To connect these cities to each other through a kind of internet of the future called the chiral network, we must carry bundles. It”s that simple … but that profound. These loads are defined by their weight, their volume and certain particularities in some cases, but our objective is always the same: that they arrive, under the conditions specified for us, at their destination.

To carry out our task, we must assess and trace the route that we consider optimal, depending on the order and the type of cargo we have to transport. It is essential to take into account the orthography of the terrain, the instability or firmness of each surface, assessing whether we cross rivers, lakes and mountains, and if we are going to meet groups of enemies along the way. Weather is one more character from Death Stranding. Consulting the weather forecasts is decisive to define our route and complete missions that the game gives us absolute freedom to decide how to do them. Both rain and snow deteriorate all our equipment and everything we build, and construction is one of the pillars on which the game play of Death Stranding is sustained. In order to overcome all the obstacles that come our way, Kojima has given us a good number of tools…

We can carry, distributed between the back and the extremities of the body, in addition to the load that we must carry, folding ladders, climbing ropes to rappel, blood bags with which to heal ourselves or manufacture ammunition for certain enemies, and items and materials with the build different structures. From towers with which to scan areas and sectors, to bridges, roads or generators, to shelters to rest or to protect ourselves from rainfall, what in the game is called decline.

There are two types of enemies, which in turn are subdivided into several classes: the MULES, earthly, and the Stranded Entities or EV, creatures from beyond, very similar in concept to some of the antagonists of the Fumito games Ueda. And they are not defeated in the same way. To do this, we have several types of weapons of different levels that are determined by the accessories that automatically connect to each weapon, and which have different types of ammunition, lethal and non-lethal. And this is important, because every death has consequences in Death Stranding, and like everything Kojima has done in the game, he is not left alone in the plot or in his several hours of videos. It fully affects the playable. In addition to choosing whether or not to kill the MULAS, with repercussions that it is not necessary to reveal, we can also, in different ways, avoid them. It lets you decide how to do it, but Kojima He seems to have arranged for more combat with the MULAS and to face the encounters with the EV with different mechanics and that he knows better than anyone. The stealth ones.

Let no one expect anything that resembles, within reason, Metal Gear Solid. And I say within reason because, after all, every game with infiltration mechanics has been sucking what Metal Gear Solid has been doing. And of course neither Death Stranding itself escapes from this. Without even touching the depth of the Snake saga, in Death Stranding we have a handful of tools to dodge enemies or defeat them undetected, such as different types of lure, a system of neutralization of radars and marking of MULAS, or climbing rope that we use to reduce them, either surprising them from the back or making parrys or counterattacks in hand-to-hand combat. But our main ally for EV meetings is our BB unit. An unborn baby that we carry in an artificial womb on our chest and that in playable terms has, like everything, its weight, since it forces us to be aware of it, performing actions that the game demands of us according to the circumstances of the game. In return,

We also have the option of using vehicles, exoskeletons, masks and gloves, all powered by rechargeable batteries (which we must take into account as the resistance bar of our protagonist, which supports the weight of its wear in a good number of factors), and all of various kinds. Their use is invaluable help in many cases, whenever the terrain allows it. And in some orders or routes they are completely essential. Our footwear, on the other hand, and how could it be otherwise, and its wear, determined by the weight of our cargo, the kilometers we travel, the type of surface we traverse and the decline, enjoy the leading role that a game like Death Stranding demand. Protagonism that also has a small group of enemies that function as bosses, somewhat irregular and of little complex patterns, but that they fulfill when giving variety to the development and they give us some battles full of cinematographic reminiscences.

Of capital importance is the social component, the online Death Stranding, of a special nature. We can use any construction, road, tool or path created or opened by any user until the decline destroys it, or we can make and leave tools, loads, materials, vehicles and structures for players around the world to use. Without being intrusive, the system devised by Kojima It achieves what it wants: that we help and be helped. As it happens in other works. But here it happens in an almost altruistic way. Far from competing with anyone, Death Stranding makes the help you give us or can really give is valued. That we give importance to what really it has. And that is not just the basis of his argument. It is the soul of the entire game and resides with enormous strength in each of the pieces that define it. The need to put it all together permeates every conceptual, storyline, and playable corner of Death Stranding.

Because Death Stranding , designed and built with pieces of Kojima, turns the combination of team management, resources, combat, stealth, strategy and planning into a playable exercise, something as routine in other works as carrying objects from one point to another. Transform the everyday of being a messenger into the extraordinary of becoming an Odysseus, a Ulysses of the 21st century. A world that hits you with its size, its emptiness and its disconnection. And it does it with violence. Physical. But above all emotional. A man, his burden, a hostile multiverse, and vastness. A step by step that leads him and us to do something that really matters. Something huge. Long and with a variety of components not too deep in some cases, but they achieve a whole that is full of elements and nuances with which to play without stopping to learn at all times.

Hideo Kojima, in one way or another, shakes up whoever plays Death Stranding. He achieves that the immense journey through the vast world of Sam Porter Bridges, its protagonist, implies another trip no less deep inside whoever is at his command. Get doubts to come to mind about what worries us and how we deal with it. With Death StrandingHideo Kojima demonstrates what we had always suspected: video games may not be art but, with good and bad, Hideo Kojima And now that the text is finished I will say it, he is an artist. We must also value the uniqueness of his proposal and his courage to innovate managing a monstrous budget, regardless of the controversy that has sparked the constant promo that has accompanied the work throughout its development. But I”m not going to talk about Hideo Kojima”s undeniable talent for marketing and cinematography, nor about the sensational work that actors from Mads Mikkelsen”s or Norman Reedus”s work have done for the game, am I just going to mention them. Because they are worth doing. Like its BSO, mostly made up of songs by the Icelandic group Low Roar, that Kojima discovered during a trip through those lands and in which many of the places through which we carry our character are so inspired. Accompanying the action are some songs of a futuristic nature, which inevitably bring to mind those that Vangelis composed for Blade Runner. Cult film that Kojima idolizes, and to which he made so many references in other of his works such as Policenauts and especially Snatcher.

Because all his influences as a man and all his experience as a video game designer have contributed, far from yokes of publishers and backpacks of super spies, to drawing Death Stranding in a hood of many millions. It’s slow, even slow pace, and could even be said to be almost desperate at times, nonetheless manages to generate situations full of tension, epic, introspection and drama. You have to reward, at least with flattery, the courage of Kojima to do what you want and not what anyone, including the general public, demands. And also the value of Sony to finance it. It is a unique, intimate, minority game … and with triple a resources. And in the long run, it is these types of works that make the industry not seize up. Helping, together with thousands of players, to build a world for others, is a powerful and emotional experience that invites us to reflect on what kind of person we are and on how vital it is to learn how far we are from knowing how to relate as animals. Social in the depths of our hearts.

It is this type of works that make the industry not seize

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