The ultimate mailman
Death Stranding seems overly obtuse and odd, but it’s actually a lot more welcoming than you might expect.
Here’s a few non-story-spoiler tips to help you on your way.
Always rely on the kindness of strangers
Grab stuff from other people before you dip into your “savings” so to speak, and fabricate (3D-print) your own gear using precious materials. Look in shared lookers and shared garages for items and vehicles respectively.
Using equipment from other players is ostensibly free, but don’t forget to pay it forward by putting items of your own in.
Pack light but keep the essentials
Take at least one ladder and one climbing anchor with you at all times. They’re so cheap that you can fabricate them once every mission for the entire game without breaking your bank.
Don’t go too crazy with too many items. You may find pieces of mail along the way that you want to deliver, and if you’re too encumbered before the mission even starts it’ll be tough to get back without dumping a lot of your load.
Consider building roads at the start of the lengthy chapter three.
Chapter three is long. Like, really, really long, and the map is huge. Toward the start of it the game will teach you how to build roads, which grants you a free huge patch of asphalt to easily traverse.
Seek out other road markers on your map and finish at least one of them. It’ll make some of your deliveries that much easier. Or, at the very least, build bridges across every chasm and deal with the rough road.
Get used to drawing waymarkers
When looking at your map you can press Square to highlight key areas. But the most useful mechanic in the game is drawing plotted routes.
Hold square then draw a line to wherever you want to go, and when you unpause the line will actually show up in real-time on your screen. You can even draw a line, stop, then draw another line to plot routes around dangerous terrain like waterfalls.
Go to bed!
Visit your private room every chance you get. Not only does it restore all of your stamina and health (and BB’s emotional state), but it allows you to create items for free by showering or using the bathroom.
The more you visit your private room early, the more items you’ll have in your personal bank at no charge. You can even skip the cutscenes that lead you into your room and the private shower/bathroom bits, but make sure you don’t skip anything after you leave the room each time (those are valuable story-centric scenes, you’ll see).
Be wary of fast travel
Right around chapter three you’ll unlock fast travel, but it’s not as sweet as it sounds.
After using it, you’ll leave everything you have equipped behind except what you have directly equipped, like your boots. Only use it if you need to get somewhere very far away to accept a mission: not if you already accepted it and need to transport cargo across the map.