Have you played Death Stranding before?

"Death Stranding": I would have liked to have liked it more

Actually, my review should have been closed at this point a week ago Death Stranding, the new, hotly anticipated game from developer star Hideo Kojima. Like many other major media outlets, DER STANDARD already had access to a review version of the game in mid-October - an unusually generous window of time before the game was released on November 8th. The review embargo should even drop a week before the release. Also unusual - and very - was the following passage in the contractual agreement for this provision of a review copy: Final test judgments or reviews may only be published when the tester has seen the entire game "through to the credits".

In the case of this title, DER STANDARD waived a review after long deliberation because of this clause. Instead, a few absolutely subjective and personal comments on the cult of genius, respect, waste of time and - Death Stranding.

To the bitter end

It is of course not a surprising wish of a creative that his work should be recognized in its entirety by the press; That goes without saying for films, music albums or books. This is only the same with games at first glance, because many titles do not have a corresponding ending; Multiplayer games, sandbox titles, strategy games or rogue likes, to name just a few examples, are actually not really playable "finished". Other titles, such as "epic" role-playing games - or a brief anticipation, Death Stranding - are again so long that, for pragmatic reasons, they are sometimes not played "until the credits" before a critical classification is made. (In addition, no reviews are written about the end of a narrative game anyway, in order to avoid spoilers.)

It is usually not a problem that there are reviews even if the whole game is not through. If you have 20, 30 hours around The Witcher 3 or Fallout 76 has played, an assessment of the quality of the title is legitimately possible with the corresponding journalistic experience - especially in mass media such as STANDARD, whose reviews do not have the same requirements in terms of scope and detail as those of subject-specific special-interest media. In other words and an example from technology journalism: After a long day of test drive with the new car model, you definitely have something worth reporting to say - it is not absolutely necessary to cycle down another 20,000 kilometers to come to a valid judgment.

A secondary aspect is that in the vast majority of publications in video game reviews it is not the time played, but the text that is paid for, in a lump sum and not lavishly. Specifically: game reviewers play unpaid in their free time. The exception are permanently employed authors at the few remaining large special-interest outlets in print and online. In the German-speaking area, no more than a dozen video game journalists are allowed to count their playing time as working hours; With the STANDARD it goes without saying that it does not count as paid working time for both freelance and employed colleagues.

The reason why there was no review at this point a week ago Death Stranding was to be seen is so simple. I have Death Stranding despite serious efforts not played "to the credits". And mainly because of a fundamental point of criticism: Hideo Kojima has not the slightest respect for the time of his audience.

Kojima is Kojima

There are people who are convinced that Hideo Kojima is a genius. Most of all, however, Hideo Kojima himself believes that. Death Stranding is first and foremost a game for all those who share a high opinion of Kojimas in this regard and are willing to give him a lot of time in which - at least for a long time, and deliberately - they are not very entertained. Instead, patience and the will to suffer are required. This not only affects the length of the game, which at 50 to 80 hours is not necessarily short, but also not a particularly endless game-time monster, but permeates everything Death Stranding, from the smallest to the largest.