Hands On: PS4 Death Stranding Limited Edition Console
Death Stranding by legendary game designer Hideo Kojima has sparked a lot of controversy since its launch with some critics absolutely raving about it and others less impressed by aspects of its unusual game play and plot. One thing we are certain either fans or critics of the game will agree on, however, is that the new PS4 Pro Death Stranding Limited Edition console is a beautifully designed accompaniment to the game.
In true Kojima style, the PS4 Pro Death Stranding Limited Edition console and the included custom controller has many subtle touches that demonstrate it is anything but a quick cash grab or afterthought. In fact, it has several subtle touches that suggest Kojima himself has added to ensure that this limited-edition console is indeed as artistic and as special as the game itself. Kojima has a reputation as a perfectionist, so it should come as no surprise to his fans that a console to bear the title of one of his games would be any different.
We are all well familiar with the specifications of the PS4 Pro and from this standpoint, the Death Stranding edition is a standard CUH-7000 series model. It is fitted with an 8-core AMD Jaguar processor that uses and x86-64 architecture that is matched with 8 GB of GDDR5 AMD Radeon integrated graphics. This is good for 4.2 teraflops of single floating-point performance. In Death Stranding, it is enough to render the game at 4K resolution using the checkerboard rendering method. Although not native 4K, which is what we will get from the PS5, to most eyes, it will still look great while maintaining acceptable frame rates of around 60 fps.
Where the Death Stranding edition separates itself from standard PS4 Pro models is with its exquisite finish. While the standard PS4 Pro features a coarse black plastic finish, the top tier of its three-tier design is finished in a custom flat plastic that has been coated in a high-gloss premium white paint finish. This is symbolic of the ghosts that permeate the world of Death Stranding. In stark contrast, to the white paint finish are the horror-genre style black prints of the invisible BT monsters that stalk the post-apocalyptic earth of the game. If you look closely, you will see a map of the world subtly outlined in the handprints pointing to the fact that what has infected the America in the game, is in fact a global pandemic.
The middle and bottom tiers of the Death Stranding console are finished in the traditional coarse plastic finish, including the bottom tier that is also painted white. The black front panel of the middle tier features the Death Stranding title printed in gold. The controller, however, appears in a clear gold color on the top and a solid gold finish on the bottom. If you’re unfamiliar with the game, this will at first appear a jarring choice with the rest of the color scheme, however, it is in fact a perfect fit for the console and a very clever one at that.
Although actor Norman Reedus’ character Sam can detect ghosts when close, it is only special babies (or BBs) that are able to sense them from further afield. The Bridge Babies are used to bridge the gap between the world of the living and the dead and are carried around in gold colored pods that are also a combination of clear and solid gold-colored materials. The controller has been designed to mirror these pods which is particularly clever when you learn in the game that you need to rock the babies in their pods using the controller’s built-in motion control. This level of detail and thought is signature Kojima and really underscores just how special this limited edition PS4 Pro console is.
As for the game itself, it is amazing how well the PS4 Pro still manages to render games. And a game that has been as thoughtfully and artfully rendered as Death Stranding deserves to be properly rendered in all its magnificence. While it is clearly not for everyone, Death Stranding is a game that will immerse you completely in another world and does it convincingly. The motion captured live actors give it a cinematic quality and feel that you won’t find in other games just as you won’t typically find this level of thought captured in an accompanying special edition console.