Death Stranding has arrived and I think it’s quite the brilliant game, so much so I gave it full marks in the Daily Star Death Stranding review which landed on the 1st of the month.
Ever since I’ve been diving back into the game and trying to figure out what the best tips are for new players.
It must be noted that an embargo remains for late game Death Stranding content which breaks on the 11th (tomorrow), a few days after launch.
This means I can only talk about equipment and systems in the game that occurs up until the end of Chapter 3.
There’s a lot more to discover beyond that, but these tips should help you get started in the early game.
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Max out your chiral bandwidth
Ok, maybe you’re a grumpy guts who doesn’t fancy laying down structures and helping anybody but yourself. “I’m alright Jack, pull up the ladder” I hear you say. Alright you big boomer, I want you to cast that aside and consider something else: the power of life-affirming social media attention. In Death Stranding you’ll be given a PCC early on that lets you drop structures into the map, and you can purchase Ladders and Climbing Anchors from vendors where you unlock the Fabricate Equipment option.
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In the first region (and the next) you’ll have a certain amount of chiral bandwidth, which limits how many structures you can develop. Max this out whenever possible. Whenever you think “oh there could be a postbox there” bloody well put it down! Help other people constantly and you will be rewarded with more likes. Why? Well, likes advance your delivery stats and make everything so much easier, improving your ability to keep conscious and carry more cargo. Its best to start early as asynchronous collaboration becomes much more important in the late game. And hey, being nice is good for the soul, alright? You can also find the non-signposted preppers in each region and connect them to the network to up your bandwidth.
Never leave a station without the basics
It can be tempting when you wake up in the private room to rush out the door without getting any items. All you need is your trusty trike, you might think. Sure thing, big shot. I was like you once. The world is Death Stranding is unwieldy, and you don’t fully know your way around it yet. Anything could happen (and often, crazy things do) so make sure you bring the basics with you everywhere you go. Blood bags, ladders, climbing anchors, PCCs, they’re all relatively inexpensive but absolutely essential if you get caught by a bunch of MULEs or BTs. It’s a good habit to get into for the late game, you always want a base outfit before you start loading cargo, just in case something happens. Trust me, ignore this at your peril.
Batter the MULEs with their own cargo
MULEs are rogue porters that want your cargo and sometimes your life. In the early game you don't have many weapons to deal with them and honestly your best friend is usually the cargo that is currently on their backs. Use your strand to pick them off with stealth, but if things get hairy engage in a little bit of bare-knuckle boxing to take out a MULE and time will slow. This is where you can hold L2 or R2 to pick up the cargo they just dropped. Grab it in the small window and absolutely wallop the orange critters with it. Its a chain reaction too, so if you kill one with the cargo, figure out the muscle memory to drop the broken box and pick up the new one to take out the next guy. This doesn’t quite work when there's 10+ of the evil gits, but it’ll do for now.
Control your BT breathing or find another way
Holding your breath with R1 is a good tactic in the early game, but make sure you don't hold it too long or you’ll do a big breath and alert the BTs. You should also crouch and weave your way around the tar and watch the Odradek on your shoulder for directional hints and get as far away from the BTs as possible. Beyond that, BTs can be a serious pain in the behind. Keep your trigger buttons held when the goo monsters surge to stop the encounter from happening, and keep tapping X to jump your way out of the tar. If you get far enough away before they catch you you wont have to fight the BT.
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If you fail, make sure you've got EX Grenades which you get from showering, having a wee or taking a dump (seriously) so that you've got a way to pacify the big monsters when they run rampant. Hematic grenades are the best way to kill them quickly, but hold down the left trigger to get more specific aim. Otherwise, think about ways you can get around the BT area without fighting. Use ladders and structures to carve a new unusual path and make sure other players can see it and you won't have to deal with them whatsoever! You’ll get a bunch of likes too for your effort.
Push through the story
Death Stranding is a long game. It’ll take you about 40 hours if you just focus on campaign missions, but given there’s always things to do (and the fact that they’re rewarding) you can get distracted very easily. In the Eastern Region, it’s wortho seeking out the non-signposted ‘hidden’ preppers in the landscape and completing a few missions to unlock the equipment they have. But don't be like me. I thought I could just five star all the preppers there before moving on. That is foolish. First off, once you get over to the next part of the game, you quickly unlock fast travel, better access to vehicles and mechanised skeletons that increase your cargo capacity dramatically.
You can also do all of the side content once you beat the campaign, so you should mainly focus on that.
There are 14 chapters to get through, and it’s a hell of a ride, so enjoy it, but dont dilly dally.
If you want to make this as much of a slow burn as possible, you can, sure, but I really wouldn’t recommend it. Do yourself a favour!
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