Hideo Kojima’s new creation has finally hit the shelves, and many players all around the world are confused about its mechanics. The game isn’t complex or too hard – it is just different. The uncanny approach to gaming elements presented in Death Stranding is a new experience, and we have 10 essential tips for you to enjoy it as much as possible.
These tips come from 60+ hours playing and finishing the game, just so you can have the best informed tips on Death Stranding. We won’t be leaving you stranded – pun totally intended. Also, there are no story spoilers below, so read away!
1 – Skip the Sidequests in Chapter 2
This is the best tip you need for the very beginning of the game, and let me tell you why – without hitting spoilers area, of course.
Death Stranding has gotten some bad reviews, and almost all of them specify the main problem with the game: the pacing. Most reviewers say the pacing is painfully slow, with the game dragging you around from the start in a slug-like rhythm.
The thing is, while the Prologue and Chapter 1 are considerably well-paced, Chapter 2 opens a wide door of sidequests for you to complete. And if you enjoy doing every possible sidequest before going on with the main story, you are in for a real pickle, because there are just too many to be done at a small, but rock and BT-laden map area.
Players who have undertaken the mission of doing all the sidequests as soon as they get available report spending 20 taxing hours while trying to make Sam go from one place to another with very basic supplies and tools. And the reward? They are plain, not really game-changing stuff at all.
So your best bet is to avoid all sidequests in Chapter 2 – you won’t miss story by doing so – and to return to them after you upgrade your gear through Chapter 3 and beyond. You will have a way better time with the game by doing so, trust me.
2 – Sort Your Backpack Automatically and Hold Tight
If all you see is Sam tripping over pretty much everything, it’s possible that your backpack is misaligned, making him lose balance and stamina easily. You don’t want to be a constant condition, as it can severely kill the enjoyment with Death Stranding as a whole.
The game offers various options for you to position the cases and boxes you are lugging around, and if you wish to, you can choose exactly where which one should lay. That does get old quickly, as the number of deliveries pile up and you don’t really feel like going Tetris with your goods every single time.
What’s the solution? Just press triangle in the Backpack sorting screen, and there you go. The game optimizes the position of all goods Sam is carrying. That alone is a great deal by itself, but you achieve full stability by combining it with holding the shoulder buttons through most of the game. In doing so, Sam holds tight to his cargo and won’t ever fall – unless you go crazy off cliffs, but that’s on you!
3 – Watchtowers All Around
In the beginnings of Death Stranding, you will eventually unlock your first construction parts and blueprints. Among them, you’ll see Watchtowers, huge pillar-like structures that allow you to observe and zoom far and away in the map – and it might seem as if that’s their only use. Actually, it is much more useful than just a pair of binoculars.
When observing the area around the watchtower, it will pinpoint the exact location of lost cargo, collectibles, enemies and signs – and all of these will keep on showing as tagged even after you leave the watchtower. It works in the ways of a radar of basically everything you need to know about the area. Neat!
4 – It’s All in the Connections
Don’t stay stranded – that is the message Kojima wishes the game can transmit to people, and it has a serious in-game impact. You will have the chance of “meeting” other players throughout the game and the option to get linked to them will appear.
Do it, to as many players possible, since that ensures you will see their structures and equipment more often in your map. Not only that, but they can also give you a hand from beyond while in dire straits.
Besides, whenever you create bridges, watchtowers and others, your structures will appear in somebody else’s maps and they can use it all. And while using it, they will send Likes your way. Believe me: even if Likes have no real effect on gameplay itself, you will start looking for opportunities to help people more as you receive more and more Likes. In my experience, Death Stranding usage of Likes made the game feel much more rewarding to me as a person. And heck, in the end, everyone wins!
5 – Sprint Away from Angry BTs
Eventually, the game will offer you one or two things to fight off the mysterious entities known as BTs, but that takes almost half of the story to happen. Then how should you deal with them, when you go way too far inside a BT area and suddenly there’s black tar floating everywhere?
You get the heck away from there, that’s what you do! As soon as you are caught in the tar ocean, scan around (and the in-menu map) for the closest spot unaffected by tar and run towards it like there’s no tomorrow (there might not be, if the black octopus thing gets a hold of you!).
You will have to shake your way through grabbing arms, but if you can make it outside the dark liquid area, you are free to go. The BTs will simply call it a day and disappear, which is perfect in a game that has you avoiding any conflict.
6 – Don’t Kill
The world of Death Stranding has some very severe rules regarding death. To not spoil the story, let’s just say you will have chances to kill enemies, and it may seem like a good idea to get rid of them for good by making them eat a few bullets, but don’t do it. Stun them instead. You can’t kill anyone by punching, so go nuts with it.
The reason you need to avoid killing others in Death Stranding is also somewhat tied to the game story and won’t be clearly mentioned here, but I can at least say that you will regret it, as the situation you have after killing someone is pretty bothersome and may stall your gameplay for quite some time, depending on where the corpses are.
7 – Enjoy Others’ Generosity with Shared Lockers
Whenever Sam reaches a delivery terminal, many options will be shown to you. One of them that is often overlooked is the Shared Locker. It is a stock of items, gear and materials that have been left behind by other players as donations to anyone who wants to get them.
Before you take on creating a new pair of boots, or withdraw the material reserves the delivery hub has, give the shared locker a check. Chances are you will find items you hadn’t even known you’d need and more. And whenever you have surplus goods, drop them at shared lockers for some Likes and that good feeling of helping others.
8 -Tilt that Map when Planning Routes
Allow me to share a tale of when I was in Chapter 1 of the game. I had to deliver a load of cargo to a place which seemed to be easy to get to at a first glance at the map. So I traced the route in an almost straight path, confident I’d get there with no troubles.
As it turns out, that was one of my worst experiences, because the area was a rocky mountain with sharp, pointy spots everywhere. I could have just gone around it, if I had known about the topography of the place.
Guess what? There is a way to check the topography, but the game doesn’t tell you so in a clear tutorial. When you are on the map screen, press and hold the touchpad of the controller and tilt it up and down to see the area from different angles – which will show you exactly what crevices and hills you’ll have to face, thus allowing you to plan your route better.
9 – Learn the Lore of Death Stranding through the Database
Hideo Kojima has a knack for creating games that are rich in story, with meaningful characters and events that can deeply affect the enjoyment of traversing the wacky worlds he comes up with.
Death Stranding is no stranger to that notion – maybe it’s the most familiar with it, since everything is just so strange and unknown. It is a game like no other ever made, so learning about its lore can solve doubts about every element the game throws at you and give a reason as to why things are the way they are.
That’s where the Database shnes. An option from the terminals in resting grounds or even from the regular menu, the Database collects all the info you need to know about the plot. Sure, the texts are long, but the Death Stranding has a ton of available languages for you to pick and make the reading more enjoyable. And many messages you receive through the E-Mail database can make you smile, as they make the NPCs feel more layered and human.
10 – Take It Easy
Death Stranding is massive. In the first minutes alone, you are presented with a plethora of info and statistics when you complete your first delivery and that has a high chance of overwhelming you. Very often, it may feel like there is too much to take in at once.
What the game doesn’t tell you is that you don’t really need to understand it 100% in its initial moments. At first, I panicked because I couldn’t get what the statistics meant and if they were showing me something I had to know in order to play better – but then I just let the game follow its course and noticed I was learning more and more about the systems involved in Death Stranding, naturally.
So it is not a good idea to try and stress over statistics and what’s what – game design in Death Stranding is solid, and will guide you to enjoy the experience in its fullest if you allow it to.
Except for those Chapter 2 sidequests, of course!
Have you got any other tip for Death Stranding? Share it down in the comments and let us know!