Stranded Deep - Better with a partner

Stranded Deep by developer and publisher Beam Team Games and PublishingSony PlayStation 4 better with a partner article written by Pierre-Yves with a copy provided through a PS+ subscription.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

About a month or two ago, Beam Team Games and Beam Team Publishing’s Stranded Deep was offered up as a PS+ title to subscribers. Not really having had anything on the go to co-op since Izzy and I sunk time into both the Forest and her platinum of 7 Days to Die, we figured why not have a coastal paradise adventure full of dangerous creatures swimming right below the surface.

Having not really done a Better with a partner in a while, I figured now would be a good chance as we slowly start to wind down for the 2021 gaming year before getting into our Games of the Year lineup. So as the title states, Stranded Deep is better to be played with a partner compared to solo play even if cooperative mode is a bit buggy and very dependent on the PSN's servers and ongoing massive sales.

So the premise is a fairly simple one, you and up to one "friend" are traveling on a private jet that ends up going down in the Pacific Ocean. Starting off with nothing more than an inflatable raft and one ration, you'll need to quickly get a few items together if you're planning on surviving for more than a day or two. Food, water, shelter and a variety of other gear will be needed in order to better survive this wide open space with loads of dangers right below the waters that you'll be sailing across.

So it’s with this raft and ration that you’ll immediately want to start scouring the beach for rocks and sticks to make basic tools. From there it won't take long to start leveling up your crafting in order to make better knives, axes, cords, cloth and a variety of other objects in order to keep yourself alive. Where things get a bit tricky is that everything you make generally starts off from rocks and sticks and there are only so many of these on an island. There are some rock veins that can be broken into but these need a pickaxe which needs rocks and if you're out of rocks, prepare to get wet by swimming to the next island or by jumping in your emergency blowup raft before really being able to build a larger and more stable one.

This is a bit of where Stranded Deep starts to show its colours. Unlike a lot of other survival types out there, Stranded Deep is designed to grant more of a quick win than a long haul. The reason is that there are three bosses that are required to be defeated in order to gather the pieces to fix the plane and escape the Pacific Ocean. On top of these three items you'll need 8 units of food, water and gas which will be probably the hardest thing to gather as "good luck finding potatoes".

Seriously, short of the potatoes everything else is easy enough to handle. The reason that potatoes are a right pain in the ass is because they are hard to find on the ground and can easily be missed as you explore the various islands as natural items do not really highlight as you approach. Instead, you have to have your cursor directly on top of it for it to show. Also, once found, you'll need about 8 potatoes for 2 full cans of fuel which make up the 8 units required. If you can find potatoes early enough, you can grow them for more while out exploring but you have to find them first.

Otherwise, it really comes down to managing your progress and your character to not die from starvation, dehydration, poison, cuts or being chomped on by something with large teeth. To do this, you can eat food, drink water, bandage yourself if you're bleeding, make antidotes if you're poisoned, and finally to help out on all of the above, find plenty of plants to help against the sun and to breathe a bit better under water.

Now the reason that this is better experienced with a partner is that you'll have a lot to do while gathering everything required to stay fed, hydrated and healthy. So while two players would mean more food and water, it also means two players to hunt for food, cook, manage water catchers, build a base and have someone else sail out to bring back other resources while the rest is managed.

Now, so far Izzy and I have only really played this together in co-op mode. She's done a bit to the side in solo, but overall, the experience has mostly been a two person operation and here's where things have been a bit tricky. Stranded Deep was glitchy when in two player mode from sailing the more open waters to simple swapping of "cooked" meat on a fire pit or what is known as a hobo stove. A metal barrel drum over a campfire. From just me disconnecting to both of us being kicked off of the servers there were plenty of reloading the game, relaunching the game and resyncing the game every time that I came back in. Thankfully we played this on PS5s where the load times were cut down drastically even if they still felt rather long at times and I’m almost willing to compare them to those of the initial versions of “Loadborne”.

So the reason I say "was" is that after we completed our escape and Izzy went back for her Platinum, the following patch notes were dropped for the console in regards to co-op. It would be good to go back and test this out down the line as Stranded Deep is fun but it was also interesting to find out that the PC build is still in Early Access so the experience itself still isn't finished and I'm curious as to what will be added down the development line. 


So overall, while Stranded Deep is decent to play in single player, it’s definitely better with a partner as you work together in order to escape the deserted islands that you find yourself on within the Pacific Ocean. With patches still being implemented in order to smooth co-op play, it really isn’t a bad way to spend a weekend in a tropical looking paradise especially with the colder weather incoming.

Score: N/A