You're going to need Death Stranding tips, whether trying the Director's Cut for the first time or going back in after a while away. This is a very strange game with some odd systems, tricky combat and a strange world that can take a lot of effort to understand. Even simple things like how to move and avoiding falling over requires effort to learn, and key items can be hidden behind the story without you knowing. Almost every basic Death Stranding step you can take has a catch or hoop to jump through, and while most stuff is easy once you know how, the 'knowing how' bit can sometimes be really obscure, or not accessible until you reach a certain point. So take the pain out of those discoveries and cut straight to the things you need to know fast with these Death Stranding tips.
1. Play the story
Because Death Stranding largely involves walking over rocky and hard to cover ground you‘ll want to play the story to unlock some crucial gear that makes it all easier. It’s tempting to go off and start making side deliveries to all the different preppers you’ll meet but it’s a lot of work for little reward. Most of what you can earn this way is cosmetic (hats, new outfit colors, etc), or a minor upgrade to essential gear you unlock on the main story missions. A lot of the preppers also require a 3 Star or higher rating to cough up anything good so you can be walking back and forth for ages and not really get much out of it. Sticking to the story means you get vital equipment quicker, as well as keeping the plot together and easier to follow - if you spend 20 hours between cutscenes delivering underpants for random characters it’s easy to lose the thread of what’s going on.
2. Always watch your stamina and keep it topped up
Stamina is an important part of the game - from staying upright from having the juice to escape if you need to make a run for it. So keep an eye on it. When it starts flashing stop whatever you’re doing and wait for it to refill, especially in water as if you run out in an area marked yellow by your scanner you’ll be washed away. Use your flask to make sure its potential is maxed out and remember you can top up your flask from any water source so if it’s running low stand in rivers to top it up. Finally, if too much of your stamina bar is greyed out, visit a safe room to rest where you can also drink some Monster Energy drink for a stamina boost.
3. Watch your momentum and direction to help stay upright if you take a fall
Sam’s movement in Death Stranding is a mixture of physics, luck and an apparently random trip speed/direction. He’s just as likely to gently stumble as he is hurl himself face forward into the ground without warning - be extra careful near ravines and cliff edges as well as falls seem to be scripted for extra drama the closer you get to any heights. While the game tells you to jam on both shoulder buttons for balance when you lose your footing, pulling the stick in the opposite direction also helps. Once Sam starts to stumble you’re basically fighting gravity to regain his balance so steer away from the fall.
4. You’ll get all the gear you need from the story
All the important gear and equipment you need to progress in Death Stranding comes from the main story. You’ll earn minor upgrades and cosmetic bits from the side missions delivering to preppers but nothing you actually need. These extras might give you an upgrade to the carrier that can take more weight, for example; a few hats, and a ton of extra colors for customisation, but nothing essential. Worth considering before you sink hours into making deliveries that don’t really get you much.
5. Use the Floating Carriers as soon as you unlock them
The worst thing that can happen in Death Stranding is dropping your cargo and damaging it, meaning you have to return to the start location, redeploy the package and start again. The easiest way to avoid this is to unlock the Floating Carrier as soon as possible, which you can get when the story takes you the weather station. It allows you to carry cargo behind you on a tethered floating trolly. There’s two advantages here. Firstly, it leaves you free of a lot of crushing weight that can drain your stamina and leave you toppling. Secondly, if you trip or take a bad fall the carrier will either disconnect or float to the ground - it’s almost impossible to damage anything you put in it.
6. Use your binoculars to check distances, as well as heights to see if a fall is dangerous
Using L1 to bring up your binoculars lets you see at a distance, but it also comes with a range finder that can measure distances. It’s especially handy to see how far down things are. Useful to see if your 30 meter ropes will reach where you’re going and to tell if you're going to hurt yourself jumping down - if the numbers turn red, you’re probably going to have a bad day.
7. Always check available orders after a drop off
Whenever you complete a delivery see what cargo they have to take elsewhere. Everything will show up on the map so it’s easy to see what’s available in the direction you're heading. If they have anything along the route you might be taking you might as well grab it and drop it off as you go. With likes and deliveries contributing to Sam’s overall rank there's no harm in taking any easy payoffs. Especially if it means you don’t have to trek miles in the wrong direction to do it.
8. If you find a new prepper without anything to deliver, scan around for lost cargo
Most of the time you’ll find new preppers via the deliveries you pick up. However you can find a few simply by exploring (especially around the midpoint of the game). The trouble is that if you don’t have anything to give them you can’t interact with them. To save you having to come back later, have a look around the area and scan for any lost cargo. If you’re lucky you’ll find a package with their name on you can pick up and deliver to access them and their terminal.
9. Private lockers are specific to each location
You’ll probably work this out pretty quickly but the private lockers you can access at various locations are specific to that location. There’s no magic box you can access from anywhere in the game. Bare that in mind when you’re offloading weapons, gear, cargo and anything else as you’ll only be able to access it from where you left it.
10. Learn how to read your scanner to avoid BTs
It’s fairly easy to avoid BTs in Death Stranding as long as you follow your Odradek (the flappy sensor thing on Sam’s shoulder). You can see BT’s when still but they’ll disappear when you move or hold your breath. While moving use the Odradek, which will light up white and clap in the direction of the nearest threat. The nearer you get to danger the faster the clap and when you’re about to hit a BT it’ll turn orange and start spinning - until that point your basically completely safe. If a BT notices you and starts heading your way the Odradek also forms a hand shape to point at the imminent danger. Holding your breath at this point will help you sneak away without it finding you.
11. If a BT catches you, just run away
If you do get caught by a BT you’ll be dragged off for a one-on-one boss fight with a larger creature. However you can also… just run away. The boss encounter takes place in a large pool of tar and if you can get out of that, the encounter ends. So if you don’t want to fight, or haven’t got enough gear to do so, just get out of the tar to escape. Because there so little threat to actually being caught (beyond some cargo damage) getting grabbed on purpose and then escaping is a handy way to clear an area if you can’t be bothered to creep around.
12. Always take a spare pair of boots
You should never really get caught out without any spare boots to hand. Always have a second or third set on your boot hook - it’s literally the only thing you can store on it - and fabricate a new pair whenever you swap them. Your footwear can run out surprisingly quickly and it’s easy to set out thinking you'll make it only to get caught up and find yourself in bare feet. Sandleweed, a plant you can use to wrap your feet will do in a pinch, but there’s really no excuse for needing to.
13. Check the mirror and BB in the safe room
No spoilers here but keep checking both the mirror and BB whenever you visit Sam’s room over the course of the game. It’ll be worth it.
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