Back to Death Stranding

Posted on 2024-02-05 07:45 +0000 in Gaming • Tagged with Death Stranding, PS5, gaming • 2 min read

Death Stranding

Death Stranding is easily one of my top 5 games ever. I bought the PS4 version, on a whim, back in early 2020, to see what all the fuss was about. I didn't know much about it other than the love/hate it seemed to be getting. I can still remember the first session, being a bit confused about what was going on, and then suddenly hitting a perfect moment in the game where I knew it was for me, and that I was going to love it.

That moment? It's when you're setting out for the incinerator, the camera pulls back, the landscape opens up before you, and Bones by Low Roar kicks in. Perfection!

I went on to finish the story in around 45 to 50 hours (much of that overlapping with the first week or so of lockdown during the pandemic); and then played at least as much again just exploring, building zip lines, roads, etc.

I even kept a photoblog of my time in the game.

About a year back I bought the Director's Cut of the game, this time for PC. I'd decided that I had to play it through again and did start streaming it. Annoyingly though the PC setup wasn't great. The game itself ran just fine on my PC, but the controller setup meant that, as I sat on the sofa, it would drop connection from time to time. The only workaround for this was to sit on my office chair closer to the TV and, really, this wasn't comfortable.

Eventually that play-through fell away.

Fast forward to last week and the release of the 10 minute Death Stranding 2 trailer and I was hooked all over again! While it never totally went away, my obsession with this game was back full force.

I had to play again!

Meanwhile, between the attempt to play through on the PC and now, I'd acquired a PS5 and at some point I'd upgraded my PS4 version of Death Stranding to the PS5 Director's Cut.

So I had to. I just had to. I'd had a great time streaming my play through the story of Cyberpunk 2077 so it made sense to do the same with Death Stranding.

Last night I hit New game on my PS5 and played for just over 2 hours. This play through is likely going to take a long time -- my work situation means I have a longer and more tiring commute -- but I'm determined to do it. I want to experience all of the extra things in the Director's Cut, including the extra story (which I've read there is, but haven't seen or read about).

I hope, eventually, the playlist I started will have the full story plus lots more fun and building and exploring in it. Hopefully I'll be done just in time for the release of DS2! (and GTA6, it's going to be a busy year for gaming next year!)

Steam Deck

Posted on 2023-12-14 16:47 +0100 in Tech • Tagged with gaming, Steam, Steam Deck, hardware • 4 min read

Back in 2021, I think it was, when Value first announced the Steam Deck, I was all "hell yes sign me up!"; like... really, I signed up there and then to go on the waiting list. The idea of a wee device that would let me play a ton of games in my Steam library seemed like a great idea. The price seemed right too.

So, I signed up, and waited, and waited, and life moved on.

When I finally (I think it was the best part of 18 months later?) got the email saying my Deck was up for grabs and did I want to complete the purchase I... said nah. By this point I was so heavily into VR gaming that mucking with stuff on a Deck didn't seem to make much sense to me any more.

I moved on.

Then a few weeks back they announced the OLED version and I took a second look. There was now over a year of reviews to read, hacks to notice, fun to follow; now I could get an idea if a Deck was any good and if it was for me. So after a bit of review-reading and review-watching, Thursday last week, I slapped down an order; and by Tuesday the Deck turned up.

New Deck getting going

The overturning of my original decision to not buy came down to a couple of things. The first was: I recognised that there were a lot of games in my library, sometimes things I'd bought (often in a sale), sometimes things I'd got as part of a Humble Bundle, that just never got played. This, I noticed, was sort of down to an unfortunate relationship I'd developed with gaming.

See... VR has won me over. I love gaming in VR. Also, I love recording my gaming sessions and throwing them on YouTube. This means that, to some extent, in my head, there's effort to getting going with playing a game: I've got to power up the Windows PC; I've got to let it update stuff; I've got to let Steam update stuff; I've got to power up the VR headset; I've got to get it to connect to the PC (which generally works fine but on occasion needs a complete restart of everything); I need to decide what I'm playing next and what to record; I've got to get the recording software going; I've got to...

You get the idea.

Also, of course, I've got to be in the right state to be okay with having a computer strapped to my face (sometimes you don't feel 100% and being lost in a virtual world isn't the best thing to be doing).

This can feel like too much effort. It also means that gaming tends to be left for when I've got a few hours to dedicate to it.1

But I also love playing games.

My thinking then was a Deck would be a great way of "forcing" myself to play the more casual stuff. There's no easy (that I know of) way to record or stream from the Deck; it's also easy to have it on the sofa and turn it on in a moment. This felt like the ideal device to have to hand, that was dedicated to gaming, and which would encourage me to take smaller gaming sessions when the time arises.

Like... sometimes I'll put something on to cook, come into the living room, pick up the tablet and scroll through the Internet. While I try not to doom-scroll too much, I can see that it would be more healthy to pick up the Deck and play DooM!

So far, two days in, I'm convinced this was an excellent idea and I'm totally won over.

My Steam Deck and Stream Deck

I'm still getting a feel for what does and doesn't work best on the Deck, from a "my taste in games" point of view, but things that allow for dipping in and having a quick blast are winners.

Hong Kong Massacre has finally got a play, despite me owning it ever since I saw John Wick 4.

Hong Kong Massacre

DooM II got installed and is working well -- I may have to slowly play my way through the whole thing. I've also installed Abyss Odyssey and so far am finding it quite charming and fun (it's an example of a game that isn't really my kind of thing; but I got it in a Humble Bundle, I think, and it's been sat there with 0 hours for way too long).

I've also failed to resist one of the more questionable titles from my younger days...

Come get some

The real surprise for me though has been a game I bought on a whim a couple of weeks back, which was going cheap, looked fun, seemed nice and casual and which I installed on the PC and totally ignored (because, again, turning on the PC to have a quick game seems like a lot of faff): Brotato.


This game is frantic, way over the top, kinda confusing in parts (for me) but accessible enough that I can actually have a ton of fun with it; and what's really important is that I can pick up the Deck, turn it on, play a game of this for 10 minutes and then go on to do the thing I needed to do next. It's the perfect game to play while waiting for the next step in dinner to cook.

So, yeah, The Steam Deck... I'm won over; I'm so won over. And I haven't even properly explored the fact that it has a full GNU/Linux desktop inside it that I can use as a desktop machine...

  1. Some of this is also true with gaming on the PS5; while it's easier to turn on and get going, and while I don't have a VR setup for it, I do have it in my head that it's more for "epic gaming" than quick casual stuff; see Death Stranding or Cyberpunk 2077 for example.