There is truly nothing quite as unique as Death Stranding. In a generation where AAA games increasingly became more homogenized with time, Death Stranding proves that genuine creativity will always have its place in the medium. Even when the industry is at its worst, games like Death Stranding remind us why we love video games.
Like any good game, there are dozens of different reasons why someone might like Death Stranding. Its slower pace is refreshing; its script is thematically dense while nowhere near as dry as its AAA counterparts; and the core gameplay loop is downright addicting, tossing players against unseen enemies in high-tension environments. Death Stranding is a long game, too, but that just means it’ll be hard to let go. Having a game lined up to play is never a bad thing.
Updated January 9, 2023 by Jacqueline Zalace: Although Death Stranding is a one-of-a-kind experience, there are still several titles that have a similar feel. We've added more games to this list, so you can keep playing games that are similar to Death Stranding.
Lake is a pretty special game. It is a narrative-driven indie all about finding yourself in a harsh and unforgiving world, making new connections, and living your best life. Sure, it may not feature an apocalyptic setting, and you definitely won’t have to contend with BTs trying to grab you at every moment, but the similarities between it and Death Stranding are far more numerous than you may expect.
If you want to boil Lake down to a single mechanic, it would be delivering mail to the wonderful people of Providence Oaks. You’ll drive your truck from house to house all while listening to quaint country music, and get to observe snapshots of your fellow residents by their front doors. If you play Death Stranding for the mail delivery aspect, or just want to indulge in themes about making connections and forging your own path, then definitely check out Lake.
17/18 Days Gone
Days Gone is all about atmosphere. Whether it's slowly making your way through a darkened zombie-infested tunnel, or driving through the barren apocalyptic wasteland and taking in the sights, you’re bound to get swept up in its horrifying, nightmarish, and at times serene world. Of course, when you’re not just scooting around on your bike, you’ll be fighting zombies and helping out communities that have been left stranded by the rest of the world.
If you’re a super fan of Death Stranding, then you’re in for a treat, as Days Gone also features Death Stranding exclusive items you can equip. Fancy a bike themed after BB? Well, you’ve got it. It’s actually a really cool crossover, and while it doesn’t make a lot of sense in context, it’s still amazing to see. Suffice it to say, if you like the apocalyptic nature of Death Stranding, as well as themes of connecting communities, then you’ll love Days Gone.
Stop us if you’ve heard this one before, but Sable is a game all about making connections across a desolate world. Wow. Shocker, we know. However, Sable does it in a way that no other game has. You’re given an objective to make a mask that determines what you’ll be doing for the rest of your life, and that’s pretty much it. You’ve just got to get out there and figure things out for yourself. Along the way, you may bump into a whole host of colorful characters each with their own missions. Or you might not. Really, that’s up to how inquisitive you are.
What makes Sable such a great game for fans of Death Stranding is just how well it nails the atmosphere of venturing out alone. You have your glider – a hoverbike that’s in tune with your feelings – but other than that, you’re really on your own. That makes the moments when you do connect with someone all the more special, just like how distribution centers can fill you with such warmth in Death Stranding.
15/18 Shadow Of The Colossus
Team Ico's second title, Shadow of the Colossus tasks players with traversing a barren world to kill basically the only living things left. There is a deep sadness permeating the game as you get closer and closer to finishing off all the colossi in this legendary PS2 title.
The game famously did not run well on the original hardware, but Bluepoint Games remade the title for the PS4. It is a great example of gaming telling the story through gameplay mechanics in a way no other medium can.
14/18 Ghost Of Tsushima
Ghost of Tsushima is more action-packed than Death Stranding, but there is a lot connecting the two. They are both exclusive to Sony consoles, though Death Stranding is also available on PC. Additionally, they are both unique open-world games that organically integrate the UI and gameplay mechanics into the world.
Ghost of Tsushima also recently received a director's cut, which similarly adds hours of new content and makes it run better on the PS5.
13/18 Stalker: Shadow Of Chernobyl
Stalker: Shadow Of Chernobyl is not specifically an open-world game, the world is divided up into separate areas, but exploration is a big part of the experience. Like Death Stranding, it is a slow, meditative experience.
The game became a cult classic, leading to a sequel from Ukrainian developer GSC Gameworld being greenlit. There are also two expansions to Shadow of Chernobyl, offering more content for those who enjoyed the atmospheric FPS.
12/18 Metal Gear Games
- Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain
- Metal Gear (1987)
- Metal Gear Solid
There are quite a few Metal Gear games, reaching back to 1987. As a whole, this series has a similar feel to Death Stranding, but we have three options within the series that are especially similar.
If anybody went into Death Stranding without knowing Hideo Kojima's prior work, then now is as good a time as ever to find out. Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain is closest to Death Stranding because it is an open-world game. Stealth, combat, and sabotage are the main objectives in Metal Gear Solid 5, and not simply reaching a destination.
It goes without saying, but Metal Gear Solid as a series has a clear influence on Death Stranding. In many respects, Death Stranding feels like a natural evolution of The Phantom Pain’s core gameplay. Stealth and non-lethal vs lethal combat are still very much in play. Anyone who hasn’t played the first MGS owes it to themselves to see how Kojima’s approach to 3D game design has evolved since 1998.
In regard to the “Strand” genre, Hideo Kojima reportedly pointed out that the stealth genre didn’t exist when Metal Gear came out for the MSX2 in 1987. Stealth as a video game genre only truly materialized after Metal Gear. It isn’t the first game Kojima worked on, but it’s an important one and a title that often goes ignored. It’s a charming stealth game, with great level design and plenty of fun set pieces. Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake is the (much) better game, but there’s no reason not to play both, especially after finishing Death Stranding.
11/18 Silent Hill 2
To think there was a time when Hideo Kojima was actively working on a new Silent Hill game. Silent Hills could have revitalized the series, and Death Stranding’s horror elements can be easily tied back to what Kojima accomplished with P.T. That said, it’s not like amazing Silent Hill games don’t already exist, and Silent Hill 2 is a strong contender for one of the best games ever made.
Intelligent, emotionally mature, and home to one of the best scripts in gaming, Silent Hill 2 is everything a video game story should strive for. Really, it’s everything a game should strive for in general. Beyond its story, this is the best iteration of Silent Hill there is, with a balance struck between combat and puzzle-solving.
Ico is slow, atmospheric, and all about forging a connection with the characters in the game. Just as players in Death Stranding find themselves growing fond of their BB, so will players grow fond of Yorda as they escort the princess around one of the most immersive worlds in gaming. Ico isn’t a particularly long game, but it’ll never leave those who have played it.
Like Death Stranding, the core gameplay loop requires that players pay attention and focus. Bursting through will lead to problems, and a little bit of stealth goes a long way. Shadow of the Colossus is another amazing game worth playing, but Ico better scratches that Death Stranding itch. Or maybe it’s the other way around.
9/18 The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild
It seems highly likely Breath of the Wild will be seen as one of the defining games of not only this past generation, but of the decade. It was a breath of fresh air, not just for The Legend of Zelda and Nintendo, but also for the open-world format. Open worlds haven’t been the same since Breath of the Wild set the bar incredibly high. Every little inch matters.
Thankfully, Death Stranding models itself more off of BotW than it does the Ubisoft formula – albeit Death Stranding is intentionally a bit emptier, emphasizing atmosphere and mood. BotW is like that, too, but it’s the sheer quality of exploration that makes it worth playing.
8/18 Nier: Automata
Yoko Taro and Hideo Kojima don’t have much in common as far as their designs go, but both men are two of the most auteur developers working in the industry right now. Their fingerprints are over everything they work on, regardless of the capacity in which they contribute to the game. Nier: Automata is Taro’s latest game, and one of his best.
While the core combat is fast and frantic – unlike Death Stranding – the story and script are thematically brilliant, and Automata is layered from start to finish. It’s the benchmark modern story-driven games should strive to reach. Say something, or don’t say anything at all.
7/18 Red Dead Redemption 2
For as hostile and oppressive as Death Stranding’s depiction of the United States is, it’s a very livable world. There’s so much clear effort put into every facet of the world, from the lore to the actual geography. In a generation where most open worlds are devoid of meaningful content, that’s a big deal.
Red Dead Redemption 2 makes use of a lot of empty space, but it's in benefit to the tone of the game. The American west is on its way out, and these empty spaces are the last bastion of a way of life that’s slowly being faded away.
Death Stranding is by no means a horror game, but it does have quite a few horror elements, especially when confronting BTs and especially in the first half of the game. Sam is basically defenseless for hours. Weapons unlock very slowly, forcing players to get through their first few BT encounters on stealth alone.
Outlast is horror taken to the extreme. Players cannot fight back whatsoever, creating a gameplay loop that’s conceptually similar to Death Stranding’s opening hours. Outlast’s intense passion for horror can scratch that P.T. itch unlike anything else. For extra scares, play Outlast II after finishing the first.
Journey was released to immediate critical acclaim and it’s not hard to see why. In a period where the market was oversaturated with space marines, gloom & doom, and generic flavor-of-the-month games (that’s one trend that hasn’t been kicked), Journey offered something more meaningful and specific to the medium.
Understanding the interconnectivity that comes with gaming, Journey silently pairs strangers to journey together on an introspective mission of self-discovery. Considering how often Death Stranding slows itself down to simply let players live in the world and listen to Low Roar, Journey makes a comfortable follow-up.
4/18 The Last Guardian
The Last Guardian was brought to us by Team Ico. If this sounds familiar, it's because they also brought us Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, which appeared earlier on this list. In The Last Guardian, you will play as a boy who befriends a giant creature named Trico.
In addition to having a similar feel to Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, The Last Guardian has a wonderful story with great character depth and a fascinating world. Much like Death Stranding, The Last Guardian will leave you craving more information about the world around you.
Based on the name alone, Cloudpunk may not sound similar to Death Stranding, but there is more than meets the eye. In Cloudpunk, you play as a delivery driver in a futuristic city, complete with androids and flying cars.
Like Death Stranding, you are technically just a delivery person, but through this job, the world will come to life with a rich story. Although the voxel art style isn't as realistic as the art of Death Stranding, the story still shines through.
2/18 The Last Of Us
At this point, The Last of Us is a household name, especially with the HBO show starring Bella Ramsey and Pedro Pascal. There are two games in this series, taking place in a post-apocalyptic world.
Thematically, Death Stranding and The Last Of Us aren't too similar, but both titles have a deep and emotional story that is worth playing through. After finishing The Last of Us, you can head to the second game. Although there is not a second Death Stranding came, we can look forward to a sequel that will (hopefully) release in 2024!
1/18 Outer Wilds
Lastly, we have Outer Wilds. This is another exploration game that doesn't clearly tell you what the story is. Like Death Stranding, you will need to figure out what is going on in the world through clues and items that you find.
In Outer Wilds, you play as an unnamed alien exploring the solar system. This game is unique due to the time loop mechanic, which leads all the way to a supernova. Your goal is to figure out why the time loop is occurring as you explore other planets in the system.
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