I really dislike games by Hideo Kojima. That is to say I don’t like playing games by Hideo Kojima, but I like playing with games by Hideo Kojima. Metal Gear Solid is my favorite game of his (at least until I can play an English language version of Policenauts) and while it’s absolutely archaic compared to stealth games of today it did a lot more than what most Playstation gamesters at the time were used to.
The temperature-changing keycard and box-n-truck based fast travel wasn’t exactly useful outside of very specific circumstances, but it was impressive at the time. Shooting glass out of windows, guards hearing you step in puddles, and guards following footprints in the snow were also novel details for the time. Then there was Metal Gear Solid 2: I spent hours shooting and breaking the bottles in the bar, watching the ice cubes melt, and spelling out swears in the glass using bullets. Shooting a guard in the walkie-talkie prevented backup from coming, robbing guards at gunpoint was a really cool detail, and slipping in bird-poo later on was funny. There are a lot of little aspects of Kojima games that I like, and that's why I was optimistic when I received a copy of Death Stranding.
(I'm giving a game I didn't like a second chance!)
This month’s Band of Bloggers theme is all about advertising in games, and now that I’ve mentioned Death Stranding by name you’re probably thinking about drinking a cool can of Monster on the toilet while you drown out the sound of AMC’s Ride with a noisy, messy poo. If you weren’t thinking that, then you’re welcome. It took my PS4 3 hours to reinstall Death Stranding, and I went through that because I wanted to check something. You see, one of the weapons I unlocked (though haven’t used yet because combat in Death Stranding is offensive) are grenades that are made using Norman Reedus’ urine.
If you are unaware the color and scent of urine changes slightly depending on your personal levels of hydration, and Monster Energy Drink, being an energy drink, will dehydrate someone who only drinks that. I wanted to see if a dehydrated Norman Reedus produces differently colored grenades compared to a very dehydrated Norman Reedus so here’s how that went down.
From a starting point in Capital Knot City, I planned to travel directly to Waystation West of Capital Knot City and back while using as much stamina as possible and without drinking from the canteen. Once I stepped out into the daylight, completely unladen because I wasn’t anticipating any combat encounters and I had no plans on making any deliveries, I set a waypoint for my destination. I left Capital Knot City, traveled for a few minutes, and realized I had no reliable way to check on the waypoint I had set. I held L1 since that seemed to be showing me where some waypoint or other was and I followed that since it was the only thing I was being shown.
After a few more minutes of travel, during which I crossed a few rivers, climbed some rocky hills, and got caught out in acid rain, I checked my map again and noticed that I was nowhere near where I should have been. I was closing in on the distribution center of whichever Knot. I held L1 again and looked around seeing no waypoint whatsoever, and I checked my map again to set and reset my waypoint. This didn't help at all, but I eventually made it to West-station Way No Hey, realized there wasn’t a room, realized that I still had a lot of stamina, and decided to just go home to Capital Knot City.
(Monster Energy is just angry Mountain Dew)
When I made it back to my apartment, after trekking through more acid rain and an alleged B.T. attack, I saw that Norman had to pee even though I didn’t let his exhausted butt take a single sip from the canteen. One cutscene later, and I see that I’ve been given a single vial of orange liquid. It didn’t look like what I used to produce back when I would drink a half-dozen cokes in a day, but it was close enough that I could confidently call Norman a very dehydrated person. My original plan was to take my previous death march a second time, but also allowing Norman to take regular swigs from the canteen. Instead I chose to shotgun the five cans of Monster in Norman’s apartment, leave, empty the canteen into Norman’s presumably corroded esophagus, re-enter the apartment, drain the five additional cans that were brought in to me, and take the kind of piss that Austin Powers would call over-the-top.
What happened next was partially expected, but mostly disappointing: four vials of the same orange liquid were given to me. I was hoping the color or opacity of the liquid would have changed, but it seemed to be exactly the same as that first vial. Considering the history Kojima has with urine jokes and references in his games I was expecting more from Death Stranding, but once again I’m disappointed. Metal Gear Solid was a fluke, Death Stranding would be fine if the combat and story was completely stripped out, Monster Energy Drink is horrible and probably gives you kidney stones.
You know what else I’ve been playing recently? Warhammer 40,000 Mechanicus. It’s a turn-based strategy game similar to Final Fantasy Tactics and even though it isn’t a genre I usually like, it’s been such a good time that I’m seriously starting to consider how much of a miniature WAAAGH I can assemble for less than a hundred dollars. I’m also interested in looking into the 40K novels, but I’m currently at the point where I’m not sure where to begin. I'm not even sure which Warhammer game I'm going to play next, it's a toss-up between Space Marine and Space Hulk: Deathwing. It's funny how a single good game is getting me into a whole damn franchise.
(This is an actually good game, play this, it's coming to consoles)