Death Stranding: 40 tips I wish I knew before starting - Part 1

Yes, 40. You heard me. Death Stranding is very complex for a game ostensibly about delivery packages. It has that Kojima style of gameplay where many details and intricacies aren’t shared with the player. He surely expects you to figure it out yourself, but this is the age of the internet, where we are all connected, just like Kojima wants. We can just give you all the nitty gritty details about the game’s hidden or poorly tutorialized systems so that you can hop into Death Stranding ready to create a package delivery empire (see part two here).

Seriously, don’t bother doing sidequests until mid-way through chapter 3

In the beginning of Death Stranding you basically only have a backpack and a set of boots. As you make deliveries you’ll slowly unlock more and more tools to make deliveries easier. Chapter 3 is the sweet spot. You unlock multiple weapons, speed and power skeletons, floating dollies that hold cargo for you, roads and vehicles to help speed your deliveries along, advanced scanners, new buildings, and more. This is where the game really opens up. You can always go back and complete the first two chapters’ side-quests after you unlock these new upgrades.

Consider what skeleton and transportation method you use carefully

How you transport cargo is just as important as where you deliver it to. If you are taking a route with flat roads and terrain, a bike or truck will do fine. Transporting all the way across country but your load is light, get a bike or truck with a built in battery. Need to go across rocky terrain? Equip the speed skeleton and load everything onto hover dollies. Each one will increase your carrying capacity by 300KG and for the most part will get over rocky terrain just fine. Have to bridge huge gaps? Use the power skeleton. That way you won’t risk your hover dollies falling into a hole.

Kick MULEs when they are down

You can shoot a MULE with a bolo gun to immediately incapacitate it but if you don’t run over and give it a swift kick it will get back up in short order. You can tell if a mule is tied up or unconscious by the icon over their head. If you manage to knock out every MULE in a camp it will be safe to traverse for all porters for a fairly long period of time. The most effective way to deal with MULEs is to run them over with a vehicle. In fact, you can hijack one of their own trucks to do this. A single hit, even at slow speeds, knocks them out.

Leave everything behind

A lot of early guides said to turn back and gather up your dropped ladders and climbing equipment after you put them down. I disagree. Do the exact opposite. Leave your stuff everywhere. Why? Because it will show up in other players’ games and get you likes. If it helped you then it will likely help other players as well. Not to mention the likes you would get from leaving it behind are far more valuable than the small amount of materials you would get from recycling it.

Fear rivers and ledges (scan, tricks can cross)

Rivers and ledges are your worst enemy. You might be tempted to go all Dukes of Hazard and drive right through them, but ending up in a deep river or falling off a high cliff will injure you and scatter your cargo everywhere. Rivers are particularly deadly as they will wash your cargo away, damaging it the whole time. Before every stream or cliff, scan it with both the R1 area scan and the L1 compass scan. This will tell you when rivers are too deep or when cliffs are too high.

Oh and trucks can drive through deep water but it will drain their battery like crazy.

Cargo disappears after 1000 meters

How does the stuff you drop end up in other players’ games? Simple. Anything you travel 1000 meters from is lost to the online sphere. You won’t be able to recover it in your game but another player can pick it up in theirs. You can actually use this to your advantage. If you want to leave a particularly useful vehicle somewhere, for example, do so before a big delivery and it will have escaped to the online sphere while you walk your route.

You can crouch and grip for better balance, even when you aren’t toppling

Tired of toppling? First of all, crouching severely reduces your movement but makes it easier to avoid toppling. Second of all, you don’t have to press R1 and L1 to shift your weight. Instead you can just hold R1 and L1 to steady yourself so long as nothing is in your hands. Do this and you will never fall over unless you trip over something, and all you are giving up is a small penalty to speed.

If a package is contained in anything it will be damage resistant

Timefall is a scary thing. It can greatly damage any cargo you are carrying. However, actively placing an item inside a container actually helps shield it from Timefall. Everything from vehicles to hover dollies to your backpack if it has a cover on it will work as a Timefall shield.

Empty cargo boxes make incredible weapons

If you run into MULEs and you have some empty boxes on hand, actually put them in your hands! MULEs take quite a few punches to knock out but bashing them with a container can drop them in one blow.

Be sure to play with BB in private rooms

You may already know that you can stop and soothe BB by going into compass mode. However, you can also play with BB after taking a rest in a private room. Doing so will increase your connection with him, which is very useful because it makes it harder to stress him out.

Prioritize road rebuilding

Roads are some of the most important structures in Death Stranding. They provide power for skeletons and vehicles and make traveling across country a breeze with easy laid out paths and flat terrain. If you have a chance to donate materials to an auto-paver, do it. Always do it. Even if you can only donate a partial sum, other players might finish the rest.

Take out catcher BTs for a wealth of chiralium

You don’t have to run from BTs. If you have enough weapons and hematic grenades, you can stand your ground. Make sure to equip your weapons to built-in pockets or attack them to your suit before readying for the fight, but once you are ready just let BTs catch you. Then face off against the catcher as best you can. If you win you will get thousands of Chiralium crystals.

Just a note, don’t ever let gold BTs capture you. If you do it’s instant death.

Blood bags and cryptobiotes are basically ammo

Remember that hematic weapons are powered by Sam’s blood. Therefore, extra blood bags or cryptobiotes aren’t just healing items, they are ammo. If you plan on using hematic weapons be sure to fill your pouch with blood bags so that they don’t start draining from Sam’s standard health pool.

Don’t always auto-arrange your cargo

Auto-arrange is helpful in the beginning of the game but can really harm you at the end. In general, you always want to place important quest items toward the bottom of your backpack. You want to attach weapons to your suit. You’ll want to carry climbing gear on top of everything else because it doesn’t hurt much if you lose it. Finally, you’ll want to keep raw materials in a vehicle or on a hover dolly because they are the least valuable and can be found just about everywhere. Remember, always carry fragile items in your hands and keep pizzas flat. No one wants a pizza with runny toppings.

Items inside your backpack are resistant to scattering

Not every item you carry on your back works the same way. Items stored toward the bottom won’t fall out when you fall down while items stacked on top will scatter. Be sure to keep useful combat items on the bottom and you will be able to use them should a BT catch you. You don’t want to be stuck in a mini-boss fight without any weapons just because you put them in the wrong place.

Note, anything in a special pouch or attached to your body is also resistant to scattering.

Pack multiple boots

Sam can store multiple pairs of boots on his boot clip. They barely increase your weight and don’t scatter if you fall down. So you might as well take a few pairs of boots along for the trip.

Increase the connection rank of whatever shelter gave you an item to upgrade that item

You might be wondering how to get high-level items. The answer is simple, upgrade whatever outpost gave them to you. For example, The Engineer gives you the power skeleton. If you want a better power skeleton, simply do jobs that involve delivering to The Engineer to increase your connection rank. Each rank increase will get you an upgrade. The same holds true for nearly every other item from guns to boots.

Read your mail

As you complete missions and progress through the game, more and more characters will send you mail. You might be tempted to ignore these mails and focus on the game, but it’s better that you take some time to read them. Doing so will open up new missions which in turn will net you more likes and better gear.

As long as you don’t run directly into BTs you can cross BT territory in a vehicle easily

BT ranges are actually rather short. Even if one spots you its pursuit cannot outrun a bike or truck. So unless you run directly into one (which you shouldn’t if you are scanning) you can feel free to speed right through BT territory.

EX Grenades don’t kill BTs but they do stun and move them

Yes, you can throw grenades filled with your own sweat, pee, and poop in this game…. because Kojima. Anyway, don’t pay attention to them much. They are useful in the beginning of the game since they basically stun and scatter any BTs they hit, but later on hematic grenades are better in every way.

Wow, there are more tips here than we thought. Make sure to come back for part 2 when we tackle some more delivery tips for mid to late game.