There’s no way around it – Death Stranding can be a very confusing game. As Sam, you’re all alone trekking through the ruins of America, and will only have a few tools to get the job. There are a lot of hidden mechanics at play, and certain tooltips will only appear after you’ve already figured things out.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled some essential tips and tricks for surviving the early hours of Death Stranding, and will help you on your way to becoming a master porter with tips on movement, stealth, combat, using items, and connecting with others:
Video Guide: 29 Tips to Get Your Started
General Tips for Movement and Cargo
No matter how far you are in Death Stranding, you’ll need to be mindful of Sam’s load. Learn some good habits early on with these tips to maximize your deliveries.
- Always place small cargo like ladders and climbing anchors on your arms and legs. When taking on more cargo, being able to evenly distribute weight away from your back will help you balance better.
- Putting medium sized items on your tool rack – like certain weapons – can drastically reduce the space it takes up.
- Sprinting invites losing your balance – especially running among rocks or downhill, so be careful!
- When sprinting, you can jump, and then press jump again to perform a long jump, sending Sam even further to clear rivers and gaps if done correctly.
- Items placed on your tool rack are no longer in cargo containers, and are therefore susceptible to damage from timefall that cannot be repaired.
- You can hold multiple boots on your boot rack and multiple blood packs in your pouch without taking up extra space!
- You can skim across the edge of lakes and rivers without actually getting into the water to refill your canteen.
- If your stamina gets too low, Sam will lose his balance more easily, and may start to request that you rest for a bit.
- Always hold L2 and R2 when running downhill to slow your descent – or you’ll risk losing your balance and tumbling down – taking damage and losing all your cargo not bolted down.
- You can turn off motion controls for soothing BB.
- BB doesn’t like being in high water, or being swept downstream – unless you find a certain upgrade. Learn more about taking care of BB on the How to Soothe and Interact with BB page.
- Before heading back from an isolated prepper, check their shared cargo for lost items you can probably return for easy likes.
- Some “Orders for Sam” are not required to progress the story, and may appear in earlier cities or centers you might miss out on.
- When carrying something super heavy, you don’t need to wait for the prompt to rebalance. You can see Sam start to sway and make minor adjustments so you never see the prompt.
- When carrying a lot of cargo, you can anticipate losing your balance when turning Sam left or right – and hold down L2 or R2 to compensate even before turning to better maintain balance.
- Even when carrying massive cargo loads, you won’t have to worry about balancing when riding a Reverse Trike – but your top speed will be slowed considerably.
- Any stuff you leave outside yourself or storage will become lost after around 1,000 meters – even things stored on vehicles! When planning your trip, be sure to put things in storage that you aren’t using.
- Hoard cryptobiotes. They refill blood instantly and take up less inventory than blood bags.
- Not all Preppers want to join the UCA at first. You may have to find some of their lost cargo first, or find their shelter and take on a Standard Order to get the ball rolling. If you notice their connection rank not moving to the next level, you may need to get further in the story until they either send you mail or become more open to joining Bridges or the UCA.
Tips for Dealing with MULEs
- If you knock out every MULE in a camp, they’ll stay knocked out for a very long time!
- You can steal MULE trucks and load them up with all the goods you’ve stolen, but if you leave the truck for too long all the goods become lost and shared online.
- Leave a random container by some tall grass or by the edge of their territory and MULE will eventually come to grab it.
- When going head to head with MULES, look for a throwaway container and use it to bash their faces for an instant KO – and reuse the container on their friends.
- When fighting Mules: Don’t ignore using the Strand. Hold L2 to ready it, then parry when time slows by pressing R2. Then tie time up when they are staggered
- If you take down a Mule and it drops something you don’t need, pick it up quick and use it to throw or strike the next mule.
- Look at the MULE’s icon above their head when they go down. Two circles mean they are tied up and will break free in a minute. Kick them until they have star icons – meaning they’re out cold for a long while unless woken up by friends.
- You can ram into MULEs with vehicles to knock them out. They’ll be fine, trust me.
Check out our How to Take Down and Defeat MULEs page for more strategies.
Tips for Dealing with BTs
- As long as you move slow and crouch BTs will rarely become alerted to you unless you’re right on top of them.
- Hold your breath when your scanner starts spinning wildly with an orange glow – and wait until it starts blinking again to let your breath out.
- You can try driving through BT territory, and you might even escape when on a Trike or on open ground, but if you run smack into a BT they’ll trap it in tar!
- If a BT starts stomping your way, you can still get away if you move or climb away before it can spread its tar circle.
- Be sure to alternate swatting away BTs and readjusting your posture with R2 and L2 when BTs try and grab you. You’ll lose stamina – so start moving as soon as the BTs get pushed back, and before they come again.
- EX Grenades won’t kill BTs, but they’ll stun them or make them move away allowing you to pass quickly.
- When using blood based weapons, always have a Blood Bag equipped (Left on the D-Pad) to ensure blood is drawn from bags before you start leeching your own life.
- Sometimes it’s better to get purposely grabbed by BTs and get drawn into a miniboss fight with the Catcher. Defeating it rewards you with lots of crystals and clears the area of BTs.
- Even if you’re drawn into a BT battle against a Catcher, you can still try to escape its ring of tar, and the Catcher and all BTs in the area will disappear for short while.
Visit the How to Kill or Avoid BTs guide for additional strategies!
Vehicle and Structure Tips
- Always place Watchtowers at the edge of Chiral Network borders to scout out danger before venturing into the unknown.
- Leave Postboxes halfway to the next shelter as a place to store excess lost cargo that needs to be delivered in the other direction.
- Most Knot Cities have empty parking spots outside the delivery centers that double as free charging stations!
- You can’t hijack Bridges Trucks located at major cities, but you can hijack MULE Trucks!
- Construct Generators outside every facility and prepper – other players will love you!
- Drive your trike or truck as close to a structure as possible, or leave it on the elevator at cities or facilities to access its contents from terminals.
- Trucks can cross very deep water (marked in red on your scanner), Trikes will be lost forever, but you can jump large gaps on your bike with enough speed (but will likely suffer cargo damage)
- Help pave roads for an easier time traveling and lots of likes! Some paved roads even go over enemy camps letting you bypass them safely.
- Be sure to drive on the center of the paved roads to maintain your vehicle battery.
- Check garages for free vehicles left by other players!
- After creating more than 4 vehicles, any extras will be dismantled and shared online. Using too many player vehicles will do the same.
- Timefall shelters don’t just protect you from timefall, they will fully restore the condition of your cargo!
- After using someone’s Climbing Anchor to climb up, throw the rope down!
- Deconstruct ladders if they end up going to nowhere – otherwise they’ll end up in other players worlds and they probably won’t appreciate them – and less likes mean less chance for more of your items to appear.
Online Interaction Tips
- Helping to upgrade another player’s structure can also give you likes if other players interact or deliver goods to it.
- If someone else’s structure is blocking your view or interrupting a spot you wanted to place your own structure, you can hold down option to dismantle the structure from your world.
- If a player gives your item, sign, or structure a like, you’ll get a notification along with your stamina receiving a small boost. Likers get Likes!
- Running through a BB Sign will make your BB happy and de-stress it somewhat.
- Running through a forward arrow sign in a vehicle will make it boost – great to put near roads and straight flat lanes!
- If a player places a sign requesting ladders or climbing anchors, you can place the requested item at the sign and it will disappear.
- If you find a very helpful item or structure left by another player and reach Level 10 in your Bridge Links Porter Grade, you can form a Strand Contract with that player to see their items more often.
- Connecting to the Chiral Network will show you most items left by other players on the map, but you may have to keep using your scanner to highlight other items not shown on the map.
- If you stop seeing items left by other players, you’re either off the Chiral Network – or you may have gone offline by accident! Check in the top right corner of your map to see if you’re offline, and reconnect in the settings.
- If you go offline, you can still see other players items and structures that you’ve already scanned or found – but new ones will not be added nor likes received until you reconnect.
- If you want more people to see and like your stuff, don’t be stingy in giving out likes to other players! The more you do, the more you get in return.