Once you reach the third chapter in Death Stranding, the game opens up a whole lot. You’ll be able to access the Central Region of the map for the first time, and you’ll be required to bring some smaller “prepper” settlements onto the Chiral Network. One of the NPCs you’ll come across south of Lake Knot City is the Engineer. (Fun fact: he’s played by horror manga icon Junji Ito.) While it’s tempting to focus on moving forward with the story, you’ll want to spend a bit of extra time in the Central Region raising your connection level with this guy. Here’s why:
Once you bring the Engineer onto the grid, he’ll give you a Level 1 Power Skeleton. Unlike some other NPC-made goodies in Death Stranding, you won’t get the first one free — you’ll need to use some materials to fabricate your introductory set of robo-legs. This handy item allows Sam to carry more cargo and move over rough terrain with greater ease. It requires a battery, which can be recharged at any generator or Bridges facility. (You can make a generator anywhere on the Chiral Network using a PCC — it’s a great way to get likes from your fellow players.)
While the base model alone is pretty damn great, if you make nice with the Engineer, he’ll boost the suit two more times. Each upgrade will give the gear longer battery life, enhanced carrying capacity (up to a whopping 300kg!), and improved balance. You can get the Level 2 Power Skeleton once you reach a three-star rating with the Engineer. He’ll give you the blueprints for the Level 3 suit once you reach four stars.
So how do you get into this guy’s good graces? As you zip about the Central Region, keep an eye out for Lost Items intended specifically for the Engineer. There’s tons of them scattered on the map, and many of them aren’t too far from his abode. You should also keep an eye out for Standard Orders elsewhere in the region — the Elder and the Craftsman will each ask you to haul a couple things his way. This becomes a lot easier after you’ve brought everyone in the Central Region onto the Chiral Network, since you can bring your ingenious pal a whole bunch of items at once. By this point, you’ve likely stolen a MULE truck, gained the ability to fabricate Reverse Trikes, and have a substantial amount of road in place to traverse the landscape with ease.
Though the Craftsman’s enhanced Hematic Grenades are pretty cool, they don’t come close to matching the immense quality of life benefits that the souped-up Power Skeleton provides. Our advice: get it and upgrade it ASAP. It’ll make Sam’s life easier for the rest of the game.
Death Stranding is out now for PS4.