29 Sep 2021 6:24 PM +00:00

Tips and Tricks for Starting Death Stranding

With the release of Death Stranding: Director's Cut on PlayStation 5, a lot of new players are flocking to the game for the first time. Even old players are returning to Death Stranding once more to see what goodies have been added by Hideo Kojima.

First and foremost, it's important to note that in Kojima's world, you're acting as a porter who is delivering cargo across the land whilst helping out others. During this, you'll also be working to rebuild infrastructure across post-apocalyptic America as you make your deliveries. As if that isn't enough, you will also have to fight the likes of terrorists and ghosts along the way... but this guide will help you get started.

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Read More: Death Stranding Director's Cut Offers Fans A P.T. Easter Egg

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Remember That Your Character, Sam, Moves Realistically

Sam of Death Stranding travelling across the terrain.
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Unlike the heroes of other games you may have played, Sam (voiced by Norman Reedus) of Death Stranding is not as agile as you may initially expect, and he moves in an incredibly realistic manner that you should get used to sooner rather than later. He can easily slip over, trip up, fall and lose his balance. This is much like if you were a porter in real life crossing hilly mountains and flowing rivers.

When it comes to hills especially, you need to be careful as you traverse down them, as Sam will gain momentum and need time to slow to a stop to be certain that he doesn't fall and your cargo remains in good condition.

Because of the realistic character controls, Sam will often lose his balance. There are ways to help counteract this - such as holding L2 and R2 while travelling (which makes Sam keep a hold of his backpack if his hands are empty. More ways to help prevent losing your balance are explored below.

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Watch Your Weight

The cargo management and carry capacity system in the pause menu.
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Sam has a carrying capacity which you can find in your pause menu. Try to keep your carry weight below this, so that travelling across the land is a little easier.

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It can be instinctive to try and deliver as much cargo as possible in one go, especially considering your delivery speed and contents can affect your relationships with porters, but take caution and trust that other players will have hopefully built structures that will help you get across the world. Ultimately, you don't want to be falling over every 2 minutes, damaging your cargo or making Sam incredibly over encumbered.

To assist with deliveries, it's important to also arrange your cargo in a good way - don't just pack everything up onto Sam's back. Use his limbs and belt containers to attach smaller pieces of cargo, to help distribute the weight effectively.

Equip the Power Skeleton as Soon as You Can

Sam wearing the Power Skeleton of Death Stranding.
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You attain the Power Skeleton during the main storyline of Death Stranding, so you need not go out of your way to acquire it. This is the best exoskeleton for transporting cargo. The Power Skeleton will increase your carry capacity and will instantly make your missions much easier, as it will enable you to comfortably carry most, if not all, of your cargo for deliveries during main missions.

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Use the Terrain Scanner to Find Loot and Other Items, or Enemies

Sam using the Terrain Scanner on his surroundings.
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The Terrain Scanner is available from the beginning of the game without any limitations, and ultimately, it's going to be your best friend during Death Stranding. Performing a scan does not reveal your location to enemies or use any of your resources, so we recommend using it regularly.

The scanner will help you to detect any nearby containers that have loot, such as weapons and gadgets. It will also help you to acquire important crafting materials, find interactive structures made by NPC's or other players that make travelling easier, and can source ladders and other structures for assisting with your journey. It is important to note that ladders and climbing anchors left by other players will only appear when you are playing online.

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Dealing with Beached Things

Sam facing multiple silhouettes of Beached Things of Death Stranding.
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Beached Things - also known as BTs - are invisible monsters that you will encounter. Luckily, if a BT is approaching you, your scanner will automatically activate and make you aware of the danger. Its antenna will point towards the direction of the nearest enemy and its colour will change to orange. At this point, you will also be able to see the silhouette of the BT, as the antenna stops it from being invisible entirely to you.

Again, it is pretty much instinctual to want to attack oncoming enemies in a game. Yet, at the beginning of Death Stranding, Sam has no means to be able to put up a fight against BTs, so we highly recommend simply avoiding them until much later into the game when you have the right weaponry and experience. Avoid BTs by sneaking away and maintaining a safe distance from them at all times.

The first item you will unlock to help you counteract BTs is the Hematic Grenade which neutralises them, meaning you will not only have to rely on your stealth skills to avoid the monsters. By throwing the grenades at these monsters, you will be rid of the danger they impose and you will also be able to collect crystals that they then leave behind.

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Cross Rivers With Caution and Tactics

Sam looking at the climbing anchor tool in the Death Stranding menu.
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Credit: Kojima Productions

There are rivers across the Death Stranding world that will try and keep you away from your destination. While it is also tempting to plunge into them and try to swim across them, you have to once again remember the realistic controls behind Sam and all the cargo he is carrying.

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You can use your Terrain Scanner to check how deep the river actually is. If your scanner signals that the depth is blue, the river is safe to cross. Yellow indicates you can cross, but Sam will struggle and need to fight with the water somewhat. Meanwhile, red indicates that the river is simply too deep.

While you can walk around the river and try to find a completely new route for your journey, you can also use ladders and bridges to cross rivers rather than diving into them or making your trip even longer. If you're playing online, you will often come across bridges and ladders that may have already been left behind by others and these are worth using, as you will not need to waste your own resources to build one. Failing that, we recommend building ladders for small rivers and bridges for much bigger rivers - and remember, you can use these again when making similar journeys, and your makeshift bridges will also be able to be used by other players within your community!

Build Online Generators

Sam riding a motorbike across terrain.
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Credit: Kojima Productions

This may not be so important immediately, but ultimately, you're going to end up equipping items that require battery power or wanting to make the most of vehicles too. When this becomes the case, online generators will be your close friend.

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Battery lives don't last very long, and often need recharging, so this is where you will want to get a head start building online generators when you can. You can build generators anywhere that has coverage from the Chiral Network. So, if you're travelling and a battery is about to run flat, you will be able to take a moment to build a generator and get your batteries charged once again so you can be back on the road again.

Next time you're in that same area and you're running low on juice, you will also be able to use the same generator to get those batteries charged again - so they're good to regularly build around the map.

Remember to Save Your Game Before Tackling Challenging Parts

Sam running from enemies at a MULE camp in Death Stranding.
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Credit: Kojima Productions

Saving the game might seem obvious, but considering the fact that Death Stranding is not a game in which you will often die (we hope so, anyway), it can be easy to forget to save often. That is why we're reminding you right now.

There are no restrictions to the saving system besides the fact that you will not be able to save your game if Sam is in any form of immediate danger or on a vehicle. With this in mind, it is important to always make a point of saving your game before entering certain locations, engaging with certain missions or embarking on certain parts of your journey. For example, always save before the following:

  • Entering any location that has BTs.
  • Before approaching, or entering, a MULE camp.
  • Before commencing with any boss battles later in the game.
  • And before you begin any tricky climbs or traverses during your journeys.
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The last thing you want to happen is to accidentally fall into an abyss or be taken on by MULE, and have forgotten to save just beforehand.

Keep an Eye on Sam's Health (blood) and Stamina Gauges

Sam resting.
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As with most games that contain health and stamina gauges, it is incredibly important to keep an eye on Sam's as you make your journeys and complete your missions. If the blood gauge depletes, Sam will die, and if the stamina gauge depletes, Sam will experience encumbrance and have no strength left.

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To restore Sam's health gauge, consuming Cryptobiotes is likely the easiest and quickest way to do so. These are small creatures found across the world. Also, as you unlock the Hematic Grenades mentioned earlier, you will also unlock Blood Bags that can be used to help restore the gauge when you need to.

To restore Sam's stamina, you can simply take a small rest by sitting down and by drinking some water from your canteen - much like you would in real life! To restore Sam's stamina to full, you will need to visit your Private Room, which is described in the tip below.

Don't Forget to Retire to Your Private Room Once in a While

Sam in a Private Room.
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In each large allied location (one that has an elevator that goes underground, basically), there is a Private Room to which Sam can retire.

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Retiring to the room for a period of time provides Sam with a good, probably well-needed rest, and this ensures that both his health and stamina are restored to full.

Later down the line as you commence with Death Stranding's main story, you will also be able to use fast travel options from these areas and acquire special grenades.

With that, good luck with your experience of Death Stranding. And don't forget to take your time! Death Stranding is just as much about exploring and taking in the scenery around you as it is about completing missions, delivering cargo and taking on BTs.

With Hideo Kojima's Director's Cut containing even more for you to explore, there are also rumours of a Death Stranding 2 being in the works on top of that - so it seems we will not be at a loss for Death Stranding related content for years to come.