COVID has put my gaming all over, but it definitely put it front and center. With the day job grinding to a near halt, it was pretty much hanging out with the family, playing video games, and writing. I’ve gotten through Final Fantasy VII: Remake, finally wrapped up Fire Emblem: Three Houses, got into Final Fantasy XIV, and I’ve dropped life times into Death Stranding.
For those unfamiliar, Death Stranding is a game by Hideo Kojima, the genius behind Metal Gear. He got canned by the company a few years back, and Sony brought him in to make an exclusive. If you saw any of the trailers, it looked absolutely weird. I wasn’t going to buy it, but my brother pushed me, and I had nothing else to do.
The first about three hours is cut scenes. The first six hours I slugged through because I love my brother. Then the world opened up, and what felt small and grueling, became expansive and beautiful.
A short summary on the plot. The world was destroyed because corpses blow up, the afterlife and this world are connected more than they should be, even time is in a weird place, and you’re the head of the new USPS. You’re also employee of the month, because your blood is the only way to send the dead back to the afterlife, or Beach as they call it.
You deliver packages between settlements. The people refuse to come out because there are invisible beings from the Beach that instantly kill them and cause an explosion. There’s also the rain that instantly ages people. The world is pretty messed up. Add to it terrorists who kill people to use them as bombs, and yeah. Really messed up.
Throughout the game you gain access to different tools. Motorcycle, truck, roads, drop boxes, zip lines, and more. These items you place are shared across the internet with other gamers, so you ultimately help each other create an easier world to traverse. Even simply running the same path over and over causes rocks to be removed, and a dirt road to form.
At this point, you can make sure your paths are easy enough to traverse. Or you can truly create an infrastructure. What took me 45 minutes or more I can now travel in 5. Mountains which were a grind are now simple to get through. It consists of continuously taking supplies, setting up the next checkpoint, outfitting it, and then going back for more supplies. You have to find the right location, keep in mind distance, make sure you don’t run out of bandwidth.
Bandwidth is your building power. You can have as many structures as you want from others, but you can only build so much.
I am a trail blazer. I do not simply make the trip, I made a network. There is a sense of accomplishment in this achievement. I get to see likes from people who use my gear, and I’m well over 300,000 likes. I think this morning I was around 400,000, and that was after two weeks of not touching it.
This creates fulfillment in me. I didn’t realize setting up the USPS in a post apocalyptic land would tickle me, but it does, in a nearly obsessive way.
I’ve listened to and read a lot of people who touch on fulfillment. We are fulfilled when we help others prosper. I am. I get to see those I helped. The zip line from coast to coast doesn’t just give me a leg up in the game, but everyone who plays.
More fulfillment is added when others are adding to the network. It creates this sense of team pride, even though I have no idea who that other person is. I can just see their avatar and gamer tag.
Anyway, it’s been a good game. The fast paced, beautiful story of FFVII, the beauty of FFXIV, and the combat in Three Houses has been great, but I can’t help people in the same way I am in Death Stranding, and that has made it one of the most fulfilling video games I’ve played.