Tyranny of Time on a Small Scale
So here’s a question. Does anyone else after not playing a given game for a period of time — a small period, not talking months here — end up developing some sort of mental block about jumping back into it again?
And again, to be clear — I’m only talking about a matter of days. In this case, it started with a combination of being a bit sick and having another game come in over the top and run roughshod over any more intentional plans I might’ve had.
The plans involved playing more Death Stranding Director’s Cut. Warframe had other ideas. And now despite being mere days, the barriers seem to be up in full force where going back to Death Stranding is concerned.
Perhaps time alone isn’t the culprit here though. The point I left off in Death Stranding was the culmination of the first area of the game. Without saying too much to spoil the specifics, I’d like to at least acknowledge what an amazing job Hideo Kajima and his team did of pacing, escalation of threat, and then relief in the penultimate sections of the first area.
The game conspires to send you on what is, by far, your longest journey to date. Some of it across familiar terrain, where sure, you can segment the trip down into pitstops at the places you’ve been before, but eventually, you’re going to have to break new ground untethered from the relative safety of the Chiral Network. It’s rough terrain to cross, and it includes the longest contiguous section of BT-infested land you’d have ever had to deal with to date.
Even adequately equipped to deal with the trials and tribulations of the journey as I was… Before the end, I was starting to have doubts. ‘If these BTs carry on… in this density… for too much longer, I’m going to run into problems…’ or, ‘I’m running low on repair spray and this damned timefall rain just won’t stop.’
And just as those thoughts really start to take hold, to become almost oppressive… You break through.
The time corrosive rain stops. BB and your Odradek settle, letting you know the BTs are behind you, and you crest the top of a rise overlooking your destination with mostly gentle slopes the rest of the way… And the soundtrack lets loose with a new song — Asylums for Feeling feat. Leila Adu by Silent Poets.
There is a little more yet to do before the end of this act of the game, and it was also amazing. You get a good deal more story and understanding, sure. But I think I would have to put the journey to get there well above as an experience. Top 5 moment in gaming, without a doubt, and goes to demonstrate most clearly the best of what gaming as an interactive media can be.
So you might then wonder how on earth can put a game experience like this down afterward.
And if I hadn’t been sick or been pulled by friends in other directions, I may well not have and just carried on.
But those few days of gap expanded into a week. Now almost two. I still want to play more, and yet I am hit by a strange reluctance to actually go ahead and hit that ‘Play’ button again.
Maybe now that I’ve got this out, I’ll be able to bust through and just click the damned button. Tomorrow… Definitely, certainly, positively maybe… tomorrow.