While Death Stranding is the weird sort of game that involves things like babies pulled from braindead mothers’ wombs to act as BT-sensing tools, certain characters placed in terrifying situations, and nightmarish moments. Yet, at the same time, there’s a softness to it. Certainly, fostering connections in the game and seeing the different sorts of relationships with people are major themes. The story brings that to the forefront, but the unconventional approach to Death Stranding multiplayer continually makes an unwelcoming world a little better place.
In Death Stranding, Sam has major and minor goals. One of the biggest ones is to use Bridges’ Q-pid to bring the Chiral Network online across the United States, so the United Cities of America can be brought online and once again connected after the devastating events that have ruined the country, unleashed BTs, and disrupted the natural cycle of life and death. But, the only upside isn’t making the virtual world a better place for the characters in the game. It also makes it a better place for the person playing. Every time a new area is brought online, it is being brought online.
As with games like FromSoftware’s Bloodborne and Dark Souls, a big part of Death Stranding’s sort of multiplayer is leaving signs for people who might go the same way you did across the country. These are universal symbols that alert people about what could be coming. As someone who hates how unsettling BT encounters are, every sign warning me that an area with them lies ahead is welcome. Also, appreciated are the ones actually directing people to certain areas. There are arrows that could be used to show people how to actually head to certain routes or helpful constructs that could get you through annoying or harrowing areas with a little less frustration. These are all thoughtful. Placing one doesn’t take much time or effort on your part, but it could make a big difference to someone else. Plus, it boosts Sam’s Bridge Link stats.
Especially since some of the Other signs in Death Stranding actually make Sam and BB better. When someone is out in the world, there are certain inevitabilities. Sam’s stamina is going to drop, sometimes severely as you try to overcome rough terrain or properly handle encounters. Both the “Don’t Give Up!” and “Keep on Keeping on” signs will restore stamina once you approach them. These have an immediate and noticeable effect, and you’re going good when you place them. BB can also be rather fragile, and seeing the kid stressed isn’t good for them. That’s why you should always go out of your way to go to a “Good Work, BB!” sign. It soothes the baby and improves their condition, which means you’ll have a better chance of surviving. “Speed Up” boosts your speed, and I always try to leave one near a section where BTs or Timefall is happening. “Likers Get Liked” is the last Other sign that can have an immediate effect, and it gives you a like. Since these have an even greater effect, people should always use them to affect the lives of others in a positive way.
While signs are all well and good, it is even better when you can spare the space to carry PCCs. These are the Portable Chiral Constructors you can place around the world to fabricate helpful structures. With a level 1 PCC, you can build a bridge, generator, postbox, Timefall shelter, or watchtower. The PCC level 2 lets you build a safehouse or zipline. Each one is incredibly helpful. Bridges let you cross over gaps safely, perhaps avoiding enemies or uneven areas, as do ziplines. Generators let you recharge equipment, postboxes let you share items. Any BT or Timefall area should have a Timefall shelter nearby to give people a break. (Postboxes are great in these areas too.) Also, a safe house is wonderful if you have a long stretch between major story locations or have a place like, say, a wind farm that wouldn’t have a place for Sam to rest. Upgrading could do something like add the option of a hologram or music. All of these items are going to make everyone’s lives easier. Since you’re going back and forth across areas, it’ll make your trips less troublesome. You’ll be making the world better with your little extra effort, since your consideration could mean the world to someone just entering an area and empty areas more homey.
When it comes to dealing with other players, Death Stranding is making things better for everyone. The opportunities to interact with others will make their time with the game better. There’s no way it wouldn’t. If you’re putting down the effortless and free signs, you could be offering insight they don’t have or providing tangible boosts. When you’re building, you’re making traversing an empty space easier and more visually appealing. Taking that time to be thoughtful makes it easier for you to be a better person and do more, as the likes you earn from those actions improve the Bridge Link and lets you like others’ work more and do more building. Everyone wins with the asynchronous Death Stranding multiplayer.
Death Stranding is available for the PlayStation 4. It will come to the PC in early Summer 2020.