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Death Stranding – The Beginning (Review #4)

Episode 11: Clifford Unger

After the cutscene finishes you will find yourself in a battlefield to face off against Cliff one last time. This era of war appears to be mid 20th century and very Vietnamese. You land near a crashed helicopter and have to make your way through the longest battlefield of all three thus far throughout the game. Even though it was the longest, it was hands down the best to run through. As  Sam runs towards his final encounter with Clifford as everything is ablaze, I couldn’t help but be amazed by the splendid nighttime scenery. Sam finally makes it through the clearing and up to where the battle begins with Cliff and his flaming skeleton goons. This battlefield does not have nearly as much cover as the others, but these boys are still light work for Sam’s now upgraded assault rifle.

After three knockdowns, the cutscene triggers and we get Sam walking up to Cliff as he has done in the prior two battlefield interactions. The difference this time though is that Cliff looks defeated, so Sam allows him to look at BB Lou. He still won’t let him touch, but they’re making progress (LOL). We get one of the longer cutscenes here as Cliff proceeds to hand over his dog tags and tell Sam that “he’s their bridge to the future.” This triggers Sam to let Clifford hold his BB before giving the two of them a hug. Then we here a loud gunshot and Cliff vanishes into thin air.

We jump back to another version of the hospital cutscene we have seen about 12 times now, but this time we find out that Cliff was Die-Hardman’s Sergeant at some point in their past. A blood-soaked Sam then awakens in his private room yet again, but this time finds that BB’s connection level is at 0%. No one seemed to be making to big of a deal about this, and I honestly don’t even remember if it was ever brought up. Deadman arrives and shows Sam an “If I don’t come back” video Die-Hardman left for them all. This video throws a wrench in everything Sam thought he knew though because Die-Hardman claims that Amelie is not a real person.

Episode 12: Bridges

Another good chunk of cutscenes triggers here that seemingly portrays Amelie as the actual villain to the story. When they finally end, Sma is given an order to deliver to a fragile Fragile. All of the beach jumpings have taken a toll on her body and the massive storms that have popped out of nowhere are not allowing any chiral printing to be done. These storms have also destroyed just about everything you have built in the game, so be ready for a long journey back to Fragile. BT’s are everywhere as well, and these (especially the golden ones) seem much more dangerous than the typical BT’s from earlier chapters.

As you arrive at the outer edge of Capital Knot City a massive tar pit engulfs a country mile of the map. The largest BT whale you’ve ever scene emerges from the black muck and begins flying around above you. I was unsure if this encounter could simply be run by as most of these whale encounters are, but I decided to take it out for the cool green trophy I knew would be in my private room later on. It was rather easy to take the enormous tar whale out from atop the building where quadruple rocket launchers were appearing left and right. After it’s been disposed of, go grab your massive cache of chiral crystals and head into the city to find Fragile and the gang. More cutscenes trigger now and Sam finds out that Amalie is the EE, which means he will need to kill her if he can’t convince her to not cause the last stranding. The only problem is if he kills her while on her beach, he will be trapped there forever… a sacrifice he seems willing to make.

Episode 13: Sam Strand

After Sam’s “final” (you technically can jump more during the endgame) jump with Fragile, he finds himself on the beach with Amalie… as a baby. Amalie chats up baby Sam for a few moments before telling him that the way back home is via a good ol’ fashioned repatriate drowning. Sams jolts awake yet again, but this time he is back to his current-day self. Amalie is standing out in the water in her red dress, and here we get an epic view of the oceanfront. It was completely red, probably soaked with blood, but it almost looked as if her dress was causing the reflection out as far as the eye could see. She tells Sam that he needs to stop the extinction and then disappears.

You regain control of Sam and start to run around only to immediately be stopped from exhaustion. Amalie reappears in a black dress and whispers to our hero that the Last Stranding has already begun. We then get the realization that Amalie isn’t real outside of this beach, and that its a piece of Bridget herself (thus Bramalie is born). They’re both tied into one being as the EE and they leave Sam with two choices: Kill Bramalie and get stuck within the beach for eternity or join in her in watching the extinction of the world. The former is the right choice, so you aim the pistol you were just given at the extinction entity that is walking off into the ocean. I’ve never pulled the trigger so fast in my life, but low and behold, it’s not possible to kill Bramalie. Sam’s only real option is to drop the pistol and hug the EE he thought was his sister for his entire life.

In doing this, Sam saves mankind. His love and ability to bring people together reignited the EE’s trust in the human spirit. Bramalea then talks for a bit again and mentions “the big five” as the screen pans out to the five BT’s hovering in the sky out over the beach. They represent the five prior extinctions, and even though Sam stopped the sixth from happening today it will always loom over the human race. “Mankind will live to die another day.”

Sam wakes up again for what seems like the four hundredth time and finds himself locked on a beach in his private purgatory. This was probably the only part of the game I didn’t like due to its immense repetitiveness. Sam simply runs around the beach until he tires, then the EE shows up and explains some random occurrence to him as to why she did what she did, and then the entire process begins again. This happens five times before Sam has finally had enough and puts the gun from earlier up to his head. He pulls the trigger but the gun has no bullets, and then another 10-minutes of cutscenes follows. Essentially what we see here is Sam lost on a beach before he’s found by his friends, who used the revolver (Die-Hardman had this if I’m not mistaken) and the Quipu made with Bridget’s DNA, who bring him back into the realm of the living.

Episode 14: Lou

After the 90-minutes of movie quality cutscenes you just watched, Kojima hits you with about another 30 to 45 minutes here (Come on, man) that are sprinkled with little moments of control to run to drop off BB at the incinerator. These were at least better than the EE/Bramalie ones however for the sole reason of finally getting to see Cliff and BB’s interactions in one fell swoop. As these scenes slowly begin to piece together the puzzle, we find out that Sam was Cliff’s BB from all of those flashbacks! Such a massive curveball that I 10000% did not see coming. This, of course, ends up leading us right to Cliff’s death. Which, as it happens, is also when Sam dies for the first time. Bramalie shoots Cliff but the bullet goes through his BB (which is Sam) as well, and she travels to her beach to save him by showing him his way back home. We cut back to Sam as Lou is slowly descending into the incinerator. Sam has a look of panic in his eyes. Just before the incinerator door closes, Sam rips off his cuffs and quickly swaps them with his BB’s pod. An emotional scene ensues as Sam pulls his BB out of its pod. He furiously rubs Lou in an attempt to bring his body temp up and save the small child. Just as all hope appears to be lost, Sam hears a cry escape Lou, and the two walk out into the sunshine to live their lives free from Bridges, Porter, and all others.

And thus our story has come to a close. What a journey Death Stranding has been! After this final chapter ends and the credits play through you will have the ability to resubmerge yourself into the game approximately two weeks before everything you witnessed in Chapter 14. The game becomes a free roam, do as you please while attempting to finish up your trophies type of game, and this honestly made the game 100 times better than it already was. My only complaint throughout this entire experience was the abnormal amount of credits/cutscenes in chapters 13 and 14, but other than that this game was absolute perfection. I strongly urge each one of you to go grab a copy of this game and give it a shot as soon as you can!

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