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Finished Chapter 2 last night. Here are my thoughts on the game so far:

Spoiler!

Chapter 1: I went into this game with very little knowledge, and the narrative in Chapter 1 did a fantastic job of getting me hooked right from the start. For some reason I was expecting there to be a ton of cutscenes before I'd get to control my character, so I was very pleasantly surprised to see gameplay so quickly.

The opening hours of the game were excellent. I really liked the mission with Igor (the corpse disposal guy). I like the small details such as the tears when in the presence of BTs, the handprints all over Sam's body. The period of relief where music plays while you finish a long mission.

Chapter 2: Chapter 2 was filled with exploration and contained much more gameplay than the first chapter. Everything seemed so perfectly executed as well. Having you travel so far away from Capital Knot, to then get the trike, to then have to travel all the way back. Despite not having access to any sort of fast travel, it never felt like back-tracking.

During the course of the chapter, new game mechanics were paced very nicely so as to not overwhelm me with options. I'm expecting this to continue for some time, as was the case with MGS V.

There are quite a few lore-related questions I have that I'm not certain if the game has explained or not. I'll document them here, although if anyone chimes in I may wait until finishing the game before reading said input. (I'm quite sensitive to spoilers.)

One thing I'm wondering is how large the population in America is. I'm not sure if it's been stated anywhere. The biggest thing I'm left wondering about is what humans are up to? Why am I only seeing holograms of people in most cases instead of actual real people?

My guess (based on what I've learned so far) is that technology caused humans to become more isolated over time, and people prefer to keep to themselves. There is definitely something going on with these "beaches", and how when I bring in cargo, the hologram dude is able to inspect the cargo despite being a hologram and not actually being there with me.

I also have been thinking that maybe everyone lives in a parallel universe, and that is what a beach sort of is. This is why other human players of the game can't see each other, but are able to leave messages and structures. It's like we are interacting with each other across worlds.

So maybe the "Death Stranding" caused everyone to be isolated into their own world? Haha, I have no idea what I'm talking about anymore, and I'm probably clueless compared to everyone else.

Either way, being this clueless has been fun for me, so if I am missing something important here, it has led to me wondering about this game quite a lot, and I'm happy for that.

As a whole, so far this game has been one of the best experiences i've had in gaming. I still have a long way to go, so it's still possible for things to turn sideways or get boring and repetitive, but so far I'm hooked.