Games: Sony's goods-delivering epic Death Stranding: Director's Cut packed with even more goodies
Death Stranding: Director's Cut (PS5)
EVER since Ridley Scott re-jigged Blade Runner, a film that's had more cuts over the years than the NHS, studios have championed the 'director's cut' as a way to shift more VHSs and DVDs, though the end result – as in this year's fabled Snyder Cut of Justice League – often proves you truly can't polish a turd.
It's odd, though to have the director's cut of a game, especially when nothing tends to be excised from the original. Even Hideo Kojima says the latest iteration of Death Stranding isn't a director's cut – and he should know, being director. Rather, this PS5 re-release of 2019's sci-fi pot-boiler has been plumped up with new content, meaning Sony's goods-delivering epic delivers even more goods.
From actors Norman Reedus and Carlsberg-flogger Mads Mikkelson to horror director Guillermo del Toro and Conan O'Brien, the cameo-stuffed quest of Sam to rescue his sister by working for a corporation run by the masked Die-Hardman was a $100 million game based around A to B fetch quests.
But, with AAA trimmings, the journey was the point. Interminably long and meditative – like some sci-fi Lough Derg – Death Stranding unfolded like the best telly boxsets, or more accurately, the Norwegian concept of "slow television" (those real-time train journeys or reindeer rides that fill the BBC Four schedules).
Visited by an otherworldly woman called Fragile, Sam is connected to his BB – a bottled baby he lugs around with him, helping him to sense the apparitions that stalk the world. A bit like Postman Pat, but instead of a black and white cat for companionship, you have a foetus in a jar of pee.
Hey, if you wanted a plot that made sense, you wouldn't be playing a Kojima game.
New toys unlocked at a glacial pace – vehicles were a blessed relief – but this was a slow burn that even Kojima die-hards struggled with. The director's cut, though, adds more than just the usual bells and whistles.
On top of 4K, 60FPS visuals and nippier loading, new delivery equipment eases the pain. Rig stabilisers help Sam glide from lofty areas, cargo launchers can fire packages over long distances, or you can simply escort them via drone. Best of all are Buddy Bots, a gangly, mechanised way of lugging both cargo and Sam himself.
New missions bulk out an already bloated run-time, and there's also a racetrack for Sam to drive around, with ramps letting players perform tricks while soaring through the air.
Fittingly, for a game featuring a delivery service, Death Stranding takes far longer than you want to come up with the goods, and in its Director's Cut – much like South Park's maiden cinematic voyage – is bigger, longer and uncut.
More bonkers for your buck, then, and even more technically tasty. Best of all, you can upgrade your PS4 original for a mere fiver.