Death Stranding: The Director’s Cut (Mac)

Now that Kojima’s Death Stranding: The Director’s Cut has landed on iPhones (15 Pro/Pro Max only), iPads (M1/M2 only) and Macs (M series), I thought it would be a good time to put the game through its paces on a high-end MacBook Pro (M2 Max with 32Gb RAM) and an M2 MacBook Air (24Gb RAM). But first, a word about the iPhone and iPad editions: make sure you get yourself a controller – because the touchscreen controls are insane. It took me five minutes just to get past the title screen.

Now, Death Stranding on an M2 Max with 38 GPU cores is gorgeous. It defaults to 60 frames per second, but I changed that to 144 to match my external monitor’s refresh rate and enabled very high graphics and models. The machine handles the game with absolute ease. I ran this at a 2560×1440 resolution (QHD) It pays every bit as well as the PC edition and it’s really nice to see a game like this run so well on a Mac.

Performance on my M2 Max is outstanding…

But the 15″ M2 MacBook Air didn’t fare as well with the same settings (obviously). Anything above Medium graphics/model settings will result in a horrifically sluggish performance regardless of frame rate.

But after some tinkering, I discovered the best settings for a 15″ MacBook Air M2 is to set the graphics level at Medium and make sure that you set the MetalFX mode, Temporal Upscale, is set to Performance. The settings I’ve used for the MacBook Air are show in the following screenshots.

But generally speaking, when you have the right graphics settings on the M2 MacBook Air, and after a bit of stuttering when the game starts, it all soon smooths out and it’s a very good experience. I managed to get a good hour’s gaming in without any issues. It looks good on the lower-end Mac, though expect the CPU to hit the near 90 degrees (celsius) thanks to the lack of fans in the machine.

It’s also a big beast, weighing in around 77Gb. On the 15″ MacBook Air, I had to enable Game Centre in System Preferences otherwise the game wouldn’t even load – it just sat there until I had to kill it off in the Terminal. So remember, regardless of whatever Mac you use: make sure you enable Game Centre before starting the game for the first time!

I think 505 Games have done an incredible job overall. A MacBook Pro with a good number of GPUs is recommended, obviously, but it’s good to know that the game runs well even on more limited hardware.