Death Stranding isn’t a particularly difficult game, but it certainly intimidating. It’s not uncommon for new players to find themselves overwhelmed almost immediately. BTs are terrifying, the pace is much slower than the average AAA fare, and a greater emphasis is placed on active progression, with fast travel taking a back seat– albeit still present.
Part of Death Stranding’s gameplay loop is chipping away at its limitations. Gradually, Sam will obtain the means to make his life, and therefore the player’s, much easier. New PCC options change the game & weapons offer a means to fight back, but it’s important to be mindful. While Death Stranding givers players all the tools they need to thrive, it takes a pro to use said tools wisely. Here are 10 tips that players should know.
10 Build Ziplines
The dumbest thing any player can do in their playthrough is ignoring Ziplines. Build them, and build them often. The moment Sam can start building Ziplines, never stop bringing PCCs to new areas. Ziplines can cut down travel time significantly. Treks that would take minutes before can now take seconds with a properly charted Zipline path.
Which is a detail that must be stressed: charted. Randomly building Ziplines isn’t going to do Sam much good. Rather, players need to examine their surroundings and find the best spot for a Zipline. It’s extra work, but it pays off in the long run and can potentially save hours of time.
9 Invest In Grenade Pouches
Death Stranding isn’t so cruel as to make Sam lug everything around on his back. Later in the game, Sam gains access to Grenade Pouches (along with other goodies to attach to his backpack.) While the backpack bonus battery is tempting (and incredibly useful), do make sure to leave room for grenades.
Grenades are Sam’s most valuable asset for a rather long time. Even after unlocking guns, grenades can always be counted. Hematic Grenades in particular can make a world of difference against BTs. Grenade Pouches help lighten the load while allowing Sam to hold more grenades in the process.
8 Drink Sam’s Morning Cans Of Monster
There’s nothing like waking up all bloodied ready to drink three morning cans of Monster back, to back, to back. It’s a power move, but it’s the only way to start the day right. Not only does Monster’s waste fuel the human body beyond its natural limits, it even offers a 10% stamina boost per can, capping out at a 25% bonus.
Sure, that third can isn’t all that necessary, but that extra 5% does make a difference. There’s no reason not to drink three cans of Monster every single morning. In a future where the rain makes everything old, the people have no choice but to turn to energy drinks.
7 Put That Lethal Ammo Down
Death Stranding may give Sam the means to kill, but boy is it not worth it in the long run. Killing a MULE or a terrorist absolutely necessities burning the body. Not doing so will lead to a void out which will leave to a game over. It’s not a matter of if: should Sam kill someone, it will come back to bite him if not handled correctly.
The number of times lethal ammo is actually useful can be counted on one hand. For just about every encounter, there’s no reason to not use non-lethal ammo. Sam’s blood handles BTs just fine and, honestly, it’s easy enough to take out MULEs & terrorists without resorting to violence.
6 Make ‘Em Bleed
Blood is Sam’s main and only real way of fighting back against BTs for most of the game. He gets an umbilical cord cutter past the halfway point, but the gameplay loop very much expects players to drain some blood whenever they run into BTs. Killing every BT in Sam’s path is an exercise in futility, however. It’ll not only attract more BTs, but Sam will reach critical conditions fast.
Thankfully, it’s possible to get Sam’s Blood on BTs to then attack with non-blood based ammunition. Blood isn’t what damages BTs, it’s what makes damaging them possible. So long as Sam’s blood is on their bodies, there’s no need to drain him any further.
5 Stop And Breathe
Death Stranding makes it clear that standing still is the only way for Sam to see BTs. BB can sense them, but players have to do the heavy lifting. At the same time, Death Stranding is a long game that drip feeds information and it’s not difficult to forget about this incredibly important detail for hours on end.
There’s no harm in taking a moment to breathe and looking around. In fact, it’s outright encouraged and necessary for anyone in BT dense areas. Half the time that BTs nab a player, it’s because they’re not paying enough attention to their surroundings. Stop, breathe, and quit blindly moving around.
4 Take BTs Head On
At the same time, don’t be too reserved either. BTs are dangerous and, logically, no one wants to be stuck in a BT dense area for long. While it might seem beneficial to take the long way around if BTs are present, it’s almost certainly a recipe for disaster. Death Stranding has an open world, but Orders make use of deliberately designed areas in the overworld.
What this means is that BTs aren’t just randomly strewn about, they’re deliberately placed, often in areas where the safest way through… is right on through. Death Stranding wants players to have to interact with BTs and while it’s overwhelming, it’s not impossible or overly challenging. Going around, though? Probably won’t do anyone any favors in the grand scheme of things. More often than not, it just ends up being a waste of time.
3 Offload Before Infiltrating A MULE Camp
Here’s a lesson that everybody learns playing Death Stranding, but most choose to ignore: MULEs won’t come after Sam if he doesn’t have cargo. They’ll just straight up ignore him. After all, MULEs just want cargo. They aren’t BTs and they aren’t terrorists. So what’s the smartest way to infiltrate MULE camps? Just offload.
In general, all players should offload more often. Most of the time, players will not have optimized their cargo properly. Death Stranding requires a Tetris touch when it comes to making sure Sam is pulling his weight (and no more than he needs to pull.) Offload, rearrange, and maybe go beat up some MULEs.
2 Wear The All-Terrain Skeleton
The All-Terrain Skeleton is far and away the most useful one in the game. While both the Power and Speed seemingly offer more practical and relevant bonuses (which they do for a good chunk of the game,) the All-Terrain Skeleton makes the rough terrain of the last third of the game far more manageable.
Sam is going to spend a lot of time in the snow by the end of the game. Not equipping the All-Terrain Skeleton means that Sam will walk sluggishly slow, even with the Speed Skeleton on. Honestly, so long as players are only carrying what they need to, there’s never a reason to use any other Skeleton again.
1 For The Love Of God, Grip
What’s the common thread amongst Death Stranding’s harshest critics? No one bothers gripping. Streamers, YouTubers, and Reviewers have all recorded themselves playing Death Stranding and almost no on grips. “Press L2 + R2 to grip.” It’s not a difficult concept to understand and the game places it right on-screen.
It isn’t a suggestion, either, it’s a mechanic. Players needs to understand that, logically, Sam will not be able to bring his weight up a steep hill without keeping himself stable. Balance is an important aspect of the game’s physics so, for the love of god, please do the needful and just grip.