A 48-minute Death Stranding TGS 2019 gameplay demo revealed tons of details about how the game will actually play. Creator Hideo Kojima previously revealed elements of the game's story in a leaked Death Stranding briefing trailer from Gamescom 2019, but the new demo focuses on gameplay.
While details about Death Stranding have been scarce since its reveal, more information about the game has been trickling out as it approaches its November 8 release date. There was an initial bigger info dump back in May that gave an idea of what Death Stranding is about, and some Gamescom footage revealed details of the game's delivery-focused gameplay. Still, the Gamescom footage raised questions, and even Kojima has said he doesn't understand Death Stranding. The TGS gameplay and briefing trailer gives a good idea of how the game will work.
Being a 48-minute, Japanese-language video, the TGS Death Stranding gameplay is a little confusing for the average English-speaking viewer. With translation from the folks at IGN, though, there are a few standout details.
As previous gameplay footage seemed to indicate, there appears to be a heavy emphasis on exploration and stat management. When making deliveries to form connections between citizens, protagonist Sam will have to choose his equipment (ladders, weapons, clothing, vehicles, etc.), decide what cargo he'll bring (piling on ridiculous stacks of boxes onto his back) and manage stats such as boot sturdiness, weight balance and Bridge Baby happiness. Sam also has 9 stats, more along the lines of those you'd see in RPGs and survival games: movement speed, rugged terrain resistance, balance, battery capacity, stamina/fatigue resistance, sync level, carrying capacity, resistance to becoming unconscious and lung capacity.
There's more to Death Stranding than just walking around, however. The TGS trailer showed off the game's combat for the first time, pitting Sam against both other humans and against supernatural B.T. enemies. At one point, Sam sneaks around an enemy camp, tying up unsuspecting enemies with a bungee cord. Once he's spotted, he uses a weapon called a Bola Gun to tie up enemies from a distance. Sam can also throw cargo containers to knock out enemies, but this damages the cargo. Later, Sam sneaks through an area full of B.T.s, using the Bola Gun to incapacitate them. He's then dragged to the game's "The Other Side" dimension by B.T.s, where he fights a huge, beast-like boss B.T. with guns and grenades. Apparently many of Sam's weapons contain traces of his own biological material, such as a grenade with "body fluids collected from the shower."
As overplayed as the comparison is, Death Stranding's multiplayer really is a lot like Dark Souls. It's been known for a while now that Death Stranding's multiplayer will be asynchronous, letting players interact only indirectly through messages and items, but the TGS gameplay revealed examples of how that will work. Players can drop ladders in useful places, leave vehicles like motorcycles for others to use, build larger structures like bridges to help others traverse and, just like Dark Souls, leave signs and messages for others. Ghost-like silhouettes of other players appear during Sam's fight with the B.T. boss, tossing items his way. This all connects to some sort of "likes" system, where both other players and the B.B. can give points to the player.
With this TGS demo, Death Stranding is starting to look more like a game that will actually be fun to play, rather than an obtuse, Kojima-ism-filled walking sim. The emphasis on stat management could end up scaring off some players, but the game's combat indicates players will have something interesting to encounter on their cross-country hikes and seems to provide the variety (non-lethal options, etc.) that Metal Gear Solid fans have come to expect from Kojima's games.
Source: TGS 2019 (translation via IGN)