Once you make your first delivery in Death Stranding, dropping off some drugs in Central Knot City, you’ll notice each cargo item in your order earns you a number of likes. These are indicated by a blue thumbs-up logo that’s pretty similar to what you’ll see in your internet travels on Twitter or Facebook. However, at the start of your journey as Sam Bridges, it’s not totally clear what purpose Likes serve in the game. It’s a little complicated, so we’ll break it down for you here.
Likes make Sam stronger by increasing his Porter Grade
Each time you successfully complete a delivery, you’ll see a rundown of your Porter Grade, shown on a star-shaped grid that will expand along with Sam’s abilities over time. There are five metrics that go into your Porter Grade: Bridge Link, Delivery Time, Delivery Volume, Cargo Condition, and Miscellaneous. Here’s a rough idea of how boosts to each of these characters will make Sam tougher.
- Bridge Link increases the number of Strand Contracts you can make (more on those below). Basically, this allows you to request materials from other players, and increases the amount of Likes you can dole out.
- Delivery time boosts Sam’s stamina, allowing him to run and climb further.
- Delivery Volume ups Sam’s carrying capacity, meaning you can carry more cargo without Sam going all wobbly in the leggos.
- Cargo Condition also decreases the likelihood of Sam toppling over.
- Miscellaneous increases the number of Likes you receive from establishing new routes or completing requests.
Earn likes by being a good delivery boy in Death Stranding
You’ll encounter a variety of NPCs throughout the main storyline of Death Stranding, and like in most games, there’s rewards to be had from helping them out. But there’s a little more to it than your typical fetch-quest: to maximize your likes, you’ll need to make deliveries in a timely fashion and drop off the items in good shape.
Early in the game, this can be a tricky proposition: you’ll drop cargo and damage it if you move too fast and get thrown off-balance. You’ll need to proceed slowly and carefully though the hazardous terrain to avoid ruining your precious items. Once you start to get stronger and have greater access to items (around Chapter 3), Sam will be a bit more nimble and able to make deliveries more safely and easily. Eventually, you’ll be able to choose to make some deliveries “premium” by accepting extra restrictions, usually involving time constraints or limited damage. When you’re taking an order, choose the Select Premium Delivery by tapping right on the D-pad or thumbstick. Premium deliveries earn more likes than their standard counterparts.
Help out your fellow players to earn even more likes
You may have heard Kojima say in various interviews that Death Stranding is a game about connection. That’s not just a theme of the story, but a core element of the gameplay. If someone’s built a bridge or other object that you find helpful, you can give that player a like by pressing the trackpad. The same applies in reverse. If you plonk down some useful signs by important landmarks, build a bridge that helps other players avoid a treacherous river crossing, or recover another player’s lost cargo and deliver it, you’ll probably snag some likes in the community. Be sure to return the favor in your travels, too.
If you interact with a specific player’s objects enough times, you’ll develop a strand contract, or enhanced bond, with that person. This ups the odds of you encountering their cargo and structures they’ve built more often, and vice versa. It’s a big scary world out there, and you’ve gotta give a little love to get a little back.
Death Stranding is available now on PlayStation 4.