I've watch a few Twitch streams of DS, and I see the appeal of the game. The first that got me was a massive sense of community. The game is like a long hiking trail with food boxes where people leave behind food for others only here people place down objects that become available to other players (it's not true multiplayer, but the objects are shareable by all). It is worth noting that the entire United States is one big traversal zone. Not to scale, but large enough that it can take a while between destinations.
So what I observed are players essentially "Paying It Forward" to other players by helping to build a network of things. For example, in the Western Rockies, the Streamer I watched, starting working on a zip line network over a steep mountain. He then connected the final zip line with an existing zip line near the base below. At the building, he found objects left behind by others that he used.
Additionally, I observed some of the story in flashbacks and holographic communications from the base's occupants to the protagonist Sam. While at one compound, the Streamer accepted a courier mission and had to equip himself based on what he could carry. The Streamer chose exo-skeletal legs so that he could take more and better climb. Beyond that, the music of the game is fantastic. When you place objects, you can choose motivational quotes like "you can do it!" or something like, or you can select a song the player hears when they get near. The most popular song was some new age track with the lyrics "Get Out Of My Head," which the Streamer started unconsciously humming/singing (lol).
Finally, the last two things I observed is combat and the void out. Both are strange. Conflict isn't about engaging in combat per se, it's more about defending yourself. It's consist of Sam shaking of tar-zombies (can also use bomb) and shooting at tar monsters. When one of those dies, all die. What's left behind is lots of loot and crystal-like items that I dubbed "crystal corn". It is supposedly quite rare and useful for crafting exceptional items. And the last thing is the void out.
Now, this is STRANGE! There are two types. The first happens when you die (like you did something wrong), and the second is death by BTs (the name of the creatures in the game). In both cases, you'll find yourself in an underwater liquid of sorts. The difference is in the first instance, you follow a "strand" until you reach your body. That reloads your game back to the point before your death. The other caused by BTs will result in a massive crater formed in the landscape. My understanding is this crater wipes out everything in the area, and it gets propagated out to everyone. There's an incentive by everyone not to suffer this kind of death as it creates great difficulty for everyone (all the objects placed are gone and players have to go around the massive crater). It's also much harder to get this death. The devs made it so that if you idle against the BTs it'll happen but it takes awhile... so you really have to put work into causing a void out crater.
All in all, from the couple of hours I spent watching the stream, Death Stranding is a truly unique type of game that has different elements from other games, but combined creates very interesting gameplay. I am definitely going to buy next year. "Get Out Of My Head!" lol
"Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times create weak men. And, weak men create hard times." - Those Who Remain by G. Michael Hopf