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Death Stranding – What To Know Before Playing

Death Stranding is Kojima unleashed and as such can be fairly overwhelming. Right from the start, you’re confronted with this massive broken world, all these crazy cutscenes and a flood of information on gameplay. How difficult can just delivering something from point a to point b be you ask? Well, it’s harder than you’d expect There’s a lot to manage and it’s pretty easy for it all to go wrong pretty quickly. So here are some tips to help you get started.

In Death Stranding, you play as Sam Porter Bridges, a man who delivers cargo and helps others across the fragmented world of the United States. While you’re making your deliveries, you’ll help rebuild infrastructure and reconnect the world. But wait, the world is full of scary invisible BTs or Beached Things. They’re vengeful spirits that cause some pretty nuke level explosions. If that wasn’t bad enough there’s also a group of terrorists that are attacking cities. It’s a bit of a mess and makes your life as a post-apocalyptic postman, pretty darn difficult.


Cargo Management Is Somewhat Optional

In the beginning, it can feel like there’s a lot of things to deal with. There’s your baby, emails, stamina, cargo balancing etc. For the most part, some of these mechanics are optional and have a fairly solid automated option.

In the Cargo Management menu, cargo and tools can be stacked on your back or your right shoulder, left shoulder, right hip, left hip, tool rack, or carried in the hand. There’s a lot of options and if you carry too much on one side Sam will struggle and fall over. Center of gravity in the thing. Save yourself some time and just press the triangle button to auto-arrange it all. Just note that this system doesn’t work with sensitive cargo. This includes cryptobiotes and pizza. These need to be packed in a particular way, for example, pizza needs to be stored horizontally if not the toppings will fall off. Cryptobiotes will need to be packed higher up your backpack.


Multiple Trips > One Big Delivery

You’ll see your current weight versus Sam’s carrying capacity at the bottom of your pause menu. When your weight is comfortably below Sam’s capacity, the number will be blue. As your weight increases above Sam’s encumbrance threshold, the number will turn yellow. If you keep stacking stuff onto his backpack, the number will turn red. Keep this number in the blue and go for more multiple, manageable trips opposed to one big one.

You also want to keep yourself free to pick up any stray piece of cargo you might fun. But just like any loot-based game, you’ll need to be discerning or face poor Sam getting exhausted from all the weight. It’s pretty easy in this game to end up with a full stack of cargo while trying desperately to carry out four different missions at the same time.


Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Using up a box of grenades, all of the ammo in a weapon, or a can of container repair spray doesn’t automatically remove it from your cargo. Empty containers take up valuable space and add weight to your inventory. If you need to free up weight, check-in your Cargo menu for empty containers (their text is red, so they’re easy to see) and select offload. In the equipment wheel, hit the Circle button to drop them. The other option is to hold onto them until you can recycle them at a facility terminal. Doing that will return materials to that facility’s stores, but don’t overburden yourself and slow yourself down just to recycle a few extra metals.


Watch Your Footing

Death Stranding is not an action-packed game. It’s about solitude and reconnection. You’re meant to walk alone in the quiet landscapes for long stretches. Don’t fight that. Slow and steady movement is the name of the game in Death Stranding, and you’ll need to be constantly aware of the topography you’re walking across. Take it slow and pay attention to the surfaces you’re walking; be wary of rocks and steep inclines.

By using the Odradek, Sam’s shoulder-mounted robot assist, you can better evaluate the finer details on the ground ahead of you. Surfaces marked blue by the scanner are safe to walk across, while ground marked yellow should be approached with caution. If it’s marked red, such as deep rivers or rough surfaces, then you’re better off avoiding them entirely. There will be some cases where you’ll have to traverse across tough terrain with tons of cargo, and when that happens, be sure to exercise caution. If you’re ever afraid of how you might cross a terrain, start by holding the shoulder buttons to stabilize your centre of gravity and walk through it first before picking up the pace.


Pack Your Handy Dandy Container Repair Spray

Timefall is a bitch in Death Stranding. It’s basically corrosive rain that will periodically damage your equipment. Exposure to Timefall will cause your cargo containers to break, leaving the contents inside exposed and susceptible to damage. Turning in damaged cargo can negatively impact the grade you receive at the end of each delivery. So be sure to pack Container Repair Spray before leaving on a journey. You unlock this item early on and like its name suggests it can restore cargo containers after exposure to Timefall. Use it right before you complete your delivery at a terminal for maximum results.


You’re A Porter Not A Fighter

There is combat in Death Stranding, but it shouldn’t be your main aim. Remember you’re a porter, not a fighter. If you encounter any BTs or MULE camps your best bet should be to just sneak around them.

BTs typically accompany Timefall, but you’ll specifically know they’re around when the game shifts into slow-motion briefly to focus on your Odradek shrieking at their presence. Do this by paying attention to which direction your Odradek is pointing when it starts to flap and flash. When you stand still and use the Odradek scanner, you’ll be able to use echolocation to ping nearby BTs for a short time. Once you’ve tagged them, stand still at any time to see where they’re floating. Manoeuvre around them stealthily by crouching and holding your breath with R1. Don’t get too close.

If the BTs manage to see you, things start to get crazy pretty quickly. Tar will cover the ground’s surface, and a group of BTs will try to pull you under. To avoid getting caught in their clutches, quickly mash the square button to resist and hold the shoulder buttons to stabilize your balance when prompted. If the BTs successfully pull you under, you’ll be dragged across the ground and left to face a much larger and more dangerous BT. The best option upon being detected is to escape the tar-covered area as soon as possible. Should you fail either by getting pulled under or your health is depleted, you’ll lose all your cargo and will have to respawn.


Weapons Maketh Sam

Early on in the game, you’re pretty much powerless against BTs but later on, you’ll get a couple of weapons that’ll help you defend yourself. Okay so by now we’ve just got to accept the fact that the BTs are Sam’s bodily fluids. I don’t know why when you’ve been captured there’s no option for you to piss all over them. Instead, you have an option to weaponise your fluids. Blood can be turned into hematic grenades and well other excrements can be used to make EX grenades. This comes in handy when you encounter a cluster of BTs.

Other than the grenades you can get an Anti-BT Handgun to shoot BTs. This isn’t a rocket launcher kinda deal, you’ll need quite a number of shots to take down a single BT. The gun is best used alongside hematic grenades. You’ll have access to it sometime in Chapter 3.

Aside from the Hematic Grenades, EX Grenades, and the Anti-BT Handgun, the most ideal weapon you can use early on against BTs is the Bola Gun (LV. 2). It unlocks for fabrication after ranking five stars with The Craftsman. It takes a while to max your rank, but as long as you keep making deliveries, he’ll eventually hand it over. Regardless, the Bola Gun (LV. 2) can temporarily tie up BTs, which can be a lifesaver in a pinch.


Check The Weather

via Gfycat

In Episode 3, you’ll eventually come to a Weather Station northwest of the Middle Knot Distribution Center. After getting the station connected to the Chiral network, you’ll have access to the weather tracking system in the pause menu. By pressing R3 twice, you can observe weather patterns for up to 30 minutes ahead of time. This forecasting tool can be especially useful when planning out a delivery run through a treacherous area, which can mean the difference between a smooth trip or a long, arduous stretch running through Timefall.


Rest Up

Sam’s just a normal guy. Albeit a normal guy with ghost repelling body fluids. But a man gets tired and you should let him rest often. Private rooms are few and far between but you can always take a breather on any flat surface by pressing the circle button. During this time good ole Sam will stretch out and take a nap thereby restoring his stamina meter. If you’re resting on a slope or rocky surface your stamina recovery time will be cut in half.

Another way to speed up the process is to rest next to a holographic cairn, which looks like a small stack of rocks. These are the former rest spots of other players, and staying near one will make Sam feel more relaxed. Unlike private rooms, however, the recovery process happens in real-time, so time won’t advance as quickly as staying in your room.