The gaming industry has witnessed a surge in groundbreaking titles, with two recent releases, Death Stranding and Elden Ring, captivating players worldwide. Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding and FromSoftware’s Elden Ring are both ambitious projects, but they differ vastly in terms of gameplay, narrative, and design. In this analysis, we will explore the strengths and weaknesses of each game to determine which stands out as the superior experience.
Death Stranding, known for its innovative gameplay mechanics, introduces a unique concept of asynchronous multiplayer and a focus on traversal. Players navigate a desolate landscape, delivering packages and connecting isolated communities. The game emphasizes exploration and resource management, creating a slow-paced, meditative experience. The use of a baby in a jar, the BB (Bridge Baby), adds a surreal touch to the gameplay, enhancing the connection between the player and the virtual world.
On the other hand, Elden Ring follows the traditional action RPG formula perfected by FromSoftware. Renowned for their challenging combat, Elden Ring maintains the high stakes and precise combat mechanics seen in titles like Dark Souls and Bloodborne. The open-world design introduces a sense of freedom, allowing players to approach challenges in various ways. The introduction of a mounted steed, the ability to summon spirits, and a day-night cycle add layers of complexity to the gameplay.
Narrative and World-Building:
Death Stranding presents a thought-provoking narrative that explores themes of connection and isolation in a post-apocalyptic world. The story is delivered through intricate cutscenes, with renowned actors such as Norman Reedus and Mads Mikkelsen bringing the characters to life. Kojima weaves a complex narrative that delves into the impact of technology on society, with a surreal and metaphysical twist.
Elden Ring, created in collaboration with George R. R. Martin, offers a rich, dark fantasy world with a deep lore that players can unravel as they progress. The narrative is less straightforward than Death Stranding, relying on environmental storytelling, cryptic dialogue, and item descriptions to convey the lore. The world of Elden Ring is expansive and filled with hidden secrets, encouraging players to explore and piece together the history of the Lands Between.
Visual Design and Art Direction:
Death Stranding boasts stunning visuals and meticulous attention to detail. The landscapes, weather effects, and character models contribute to a visually immersive experience. The game’s unique aesthetic, combining the eerie beauty of a fractured world with futuristic technology, sets it apart in terms of visual design.
Elden Ring, while not lacking in visual appeal, embraces a darker, more traditional fantasy aesthetic. From towering castles to grotesque creatures, the game’s art direction is a testament to FromSoftware’s mastery in creating atmospheric worlds. The open-world design allows for diverse environments, each with its own distinct charm and challenges.
Soundtrack and Audio Design:
Death Stranding features a haunting and evocative soundtrack composed by Ludvig Forssell. The music complements the game’s atmosphere, enhancing emotional moments and adding depth to the overall experience. The use of ambient sounds, from the rhythmic footsteps of the protagonist to the otherworldly cries of spectral entities, contributes to the game’s immersive quality.
Elden Ring, composed by Yuka Kitamura, offers a majestic and epic score that perfectly complements the grandeur of the fantasy world. The use of music during boss battles and key moments heightens the sense of urgency and spectacle. The sound design, including the clashing of swords and the roars of mythical creatures, adds to the overall intensity of the gameplay.
Reception and Impact:
Both Death Stranding and Elden Ring have received critical acclaim, but their impact on the gaming community differs. Death Stranding sparked conversations about the definition of a “walking simulator” and the role of narrative in gaming. Some praised its originality, while others found the gameplay monotonous.
Elden Ring, on the other hand, has been celebrated for its challenging yet rewarding gameplay, vast open-world design, and the seamless integration of FromSoftware’s signature difficulty with an expansive environment. The game’s success has reaffirmed the studio’s reputation for delivering top-tier action RPG experiences.
Final Conclusion on Death Stranding vs Elden Ring: Which is Better?
In the clash of Death Stranding and Elden Ring, the choice between the two ultimately comes down to personal preference. If one values innovative gameplay mechanics, a thought-provoking narrative, and a visually striking, avant-garde experience, Death Stranding might be the preferred choice. On the contrary, if the allure of challenging combat, deep lore, and a traditional yet meticulously crafted fantasy world is more enticing, then Elden Ring takes the lead.
Both games represent the pinnacle of their respective genres and showcase the creative prowess of their developers. Whether immersed in Kojima’s surreal landscapes or navigating the treacherous lands of Elden Ring, players are treated to experiences that push the boundaries of what gaming can achieve. In the end, the better game is subjective, dependent on the player’s taste and what aspects of gaming they prioritize.