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Death Stranding guide: The best items to have at all times

Don’t leave home without these

Norman Reedus standing in a white room in Death Stranding Kojima Productions/Sony Interactive Entertainment via Polygon

Throughout Death Stranding, you’ll gain access to all sorts of equipment, gear, and more. Whether you’ve just started or you’re dozens of hours in, there are a few mainstay items that we always carry — and we think you should consider them, too.

You’ll rarely know what will happen during a delivery. You might encounter some timefall or BTs or run into enemies like MULEs. To prepare, here’s our list of the best items — the things we always have on hand in Death Stranding.

The best items in Death Stranding


Ladders and climbing anchors

The America recreated in Death Stranding is a mess from coast to coast. You’ll have to make your way across roaring rivers, rocky roads, and enormous mountains. There’s only so much ground you can cover on two legs, but ladders and climbing anchors make a big difference.

Ladders are one of the most versatile tools in the game because you can use them to traverse both vertical and horizontal space. The most obvious use is placing ladders at the face of rocky cliffs too steep to climb. That’s the obvious use of ladders, but there’s another, equally important use case.

You can drop a vertical ladder over bodies of water and crevasses. They let you cross streams more easily or to pass over space that would otherwise be impossible.

Climbing anchors also serve a dual purpose, but they require some setup. The most obvious use is setting a climbing anchor on the top of a large cliff overlooking a steep drop. You can easily climb down 30 meters without a scratch. You can always revisit a climbing anchor and use it to climb up too. It’s a bit slow, but it’s the safest way to go up a large distance without the fear of falling and damaging your cargo.

The best part of ladders and climbing anchors is that other players may have already set them in your game in critical spots. If you encounter one from another player in a spot that really helped you out, give them a Like and let them know you appreciate them.

PCCs

The Portable Chiral Constructor, or PCC, lets you craft all sorts of structures. You should always have one on hand.

Early in the game, PCCs can craft essential structures like bridges, storage lockers, equipment recharge stations, and more. The world of Death Stranding is vast and hard to traverse. In time, you’ll discover that items created with a PCC can be lifesavers.

Anything you craft through a PCC will show up on your map with a blue icon. Anything in your game that another player created will appear with a green icon.

Bola gun

Death Stranding’s story sets up an interesting reason for not killing other human characters. However, outside of the other worldly Beached Things (BTs) enemies, other humans pose a threat to you and your cargo. So how can you defend yourself?

One of the earliest weapons you get in the game is a bola gun. Its cable incapacitates enemies by wrapping them up and knocking them down. A single shot from the bola will take down any human enemy, temporarily ending their pursuit of you. However, hitting an enemy with a bola shot does not necessarily knock them out. Unless you get a headshot (which is possible but rare), MULEs can get back up and continue pursuing you.

To permanently stop an enemy from attacking, you need to hit them with a bola shot, and then run up to them and press the Square button to kick them and knock them unconscious.

The bola is one of the best tools to non-lethally deal with attackers on the road. You should always have one handy, especially in new areas where you might not know where enemy camps are yet. Sure, you’ll know when you’re in enemy territory when their scanners ping you, but if you get mixed up with any while you escape, the bola is your best defense.

Blood bags

Eventually you’ll gain access to several weapons that use your blood as ammo. If you’ve hurt yourself in the game, for instance by falling off a cliff, you’ll see that the amount of blood you have acts as your current pool of health. So how do you make use of weapons that use your blood without killing yourself? Blood bags.

You can fabricate blood bags that carry milliliters of your blood. Think of it like stockpiling ammo. Once you have a blood bag, you can equip it by holding left on the D-pad.

Once equipped, blood bags will do one of two things:

  • First, they will automatically replenish any blood you lose from taking damage.
  • Second, when using any weapons that draw blood for ammo, they will first take them out of the blood bags before sucking them from your body.

It’s always good to have a two or three of them on hand, in case you get into a fight.

Hematic grenades

No matter how good you get at avoiding BTs, you’ll eventually confront some. Sneaking around them can be a pain, and trying to fight off the larger ones can be a nightmare if you’re not prepared. One of the earliest items you get in the game is also the best offensive tool you’ll get: hematic grenades.

These grenades, which come in packs of five, use up your blood as ammo. We recommend carrying at least three sets of hematic grenades at all times, which is why it’s also good to have plenty of blood bags to spare.

Once you’re stuck in an area filled with timefall and you’re in the thick of it, BTs will appear. A single hematic grenade will take a humanoid BT out early in the game.

You can also use these throwable weapons to take out the larger animal-like BTs, but those can require up to 15 or more hematic grenades to kill. So, if you’re in the mood to fight them off, prepare to carry plenty.

Spare boots

You should always keep a pair of spare boots handy. Much of your time in Death Stranding will be spent running around, and a fresh pair of boots will help you keep your stamina in check while you do so. Eventually, your boots wear out. If they get completely destroyed, you can seriously hurt yourself just by walking.

Thankfully, you can clip a spare pair of boots onto your cargo holder without taking up precious space. Your suit has a specialized clip just for boots, and you should always have a fresh pair hanging there in case you need to swap footwear out mid-delivery.

Building materials

Once you have access to vehicles, load extra cargo space with building materials like metals, ceramics, special alloys, and more. These materials will come in handy when you and other players work together to build much larger structures that would be difficult to construct alone.

You’ll find several structures across your game, from bridges to even full stretches of road, all of which require hundreds (if not thousands) of materials. These structures are a group effort, and if you can hang onto several materials on your trip and drop them off at structures that need them along the way, you can help yourself and other players build structures that will benefit you all in the hours to come.