The PC release of Death Stranding includes an exclusive side-story that pays tribute to Valve's Half-Life and Portal franchise. Here's what you get from completing each mission.
Death Stranding is now on PC, and players who didn't get the chance to experience Hideo Kojima's unusual, yet still prescient take on the post-apocalypse on the PS4 now have another way to experience it. Playing as Sam Porter Bridges, you'll make many deliveries across an alternate North America changed by a supernatural event that has forever blurred the lines between life and death. In addition to a variety of quality-of-life changes and upgrades for the PC release, Death Stranding now comes with a slew of items paying homage to Valve's Half-Life and Portal franchises. Some of them are extremely useful, making the game less of a headache than it could be for PS4 players. You'll need to complete a quest in order to get them, though.
On the surface, this new side-story featuring a mysterious imposter who admires games from Valve may seem like another set of references to games and broader pop-culture that you'd expect to see in a Hideo Kojima game. But as it turns out, this extended side-story offers some surprisingly useful perks for Sam, along with a fun payoff at its conclusion. However, it should be noted that this side-story spans across the entirety of Death Stranding. To see this storyline to its finish, you'll need to complete the main story of the game and reach its post-game chapter. That means it won't actually make the main missions any easier. Sorry: You still have to make do like the game's PS4 players!
In this spoiler-free guide, we're going to tell you how to take part in this questline, and what you'll need to do to get each Valve item in Death Stranding on PC. It all starts with an email marked with a λ symbol in Chapter 2, and from there, you'll get a total of six emails that make some bizarre references to Portal and Half-Life. And as you'll come to find, the requests from these emails run much deeper than the ramblings from a supposed Valve fanboy. So with that, here's how to get each Valve item in the game.
The First Email: Chapter 2 | Reward: Gordon's Glasses
Following your return from the Wind Farm delivery in Chapter 2, you'll get an important email from Benjamin H marked with a λ symbol. While you'll recognize the name as the person in charge of the Distribution Center west of Capital Knot City, it becomes apparent that something is amiss in the email. "Benjamin" will instruct you to head north of the distro center to find a stray piece of cargo near the river. This one isn't too hard to find. Just follow the river outside of the center north, and you'll come up to an extra-large piece of cargo, which, as it turns out, is a lost Companion Cube from the Portal series. After picking it up, return to the distro center to claim your reward.
After turning in this lost cargo, you'll get your first Valve crossover item, a pair of Gordon Freeman's glasses from the Half-Life series. These glasses are purely a cosmetic item for Sam to change his look, and they don't offer up any gameplay benefits. Still, it is a neat cosmetic for Sam, especially if you're tired of the sunglasses.
The Second Email: Chapter 3 | Reward: The Valve
After making it to the second map in Chapter 3, you'll get a new objective to carry out a chain of orders from the head of Lake Knot City. This set of deliveries will task you with bringing items to the Engineer, the Elder, and finally to the Craftsman--all located in the northeast section of the map. While making these deliveries, you'll get a lay of the land and learn the best paths to your destinations. Once the deliveries are complete with the Craftsman, you'll get another mysterious email with the λ symbol. This time, it's coming from someone impersonating the head of Lake Knot City. You'll need to find another Companion Cube, which is stashed at a remote bunker owned by Peter Englert, directly west of Lake Knot City. Once you get there, look to the water towers next to the building to find the Companion Cube. On another note, remember this location. You'll eventually get an odd request to deliver pizzas to Peter Englert--which also happens to have a unique payoff.
Returning the Companion Cube to Lake Knot City will reward you with another cosmetic item, the iconic valve from, well, Valve. Anyone who's played a Valve game will remember its games always begin with a somewhat ominous opening featuring a man with a red Valve stuck in his head. Now, you can have Sam wear that valve as a cosmetic item, which is placed on the back of his head as well. While it offers no gameplay benefit whatsoever, it's still a cool nod to Valve.
The Third Email: Chapter 3 | Reward: The Gravity Glove
When you head further south in Chapter 3, you'll eventually reach the Weather Station west of the Distribution Center South of Lake Knot City. Your main order from the Weather Station will be to deliver to the Timefall Farm, which is directly south past the wheat fields. Once you complete the order there and head back to the Distribution Center South of Lake Knot City, you'll get a new email from the imposter. You're tasked with finding another Companion Cube that was stolen by a group of MULEs to the northwest of Distribution Center South of Lake Knot City. At that northwestern MULE camp (just before the mountains), you'll find several bandits keeping guard. It's best to sneak in, knocking out MULEs as needed, and hightailing it out of there back to the distro center with the Cube.
When you return to the Distribution Center South of Lake Knot City, you'll be able to claim your reward from the person impersonating Thomas Southerland. This order will grant you the Gravity Glove, the central item from Half-Life: Alyx. While the previous rewards were purely cosmetic, the Gravity Glove has gameplay purposes, and it's one of the more useful pieces of gear in Death Stranding. Like in Half-Life: Alyx, you'll be able to use the glove to pull in objects that are several feet in front of you, at the cost of some of your suit battery. While it doesn't outright break the game, it is an incredibly useful item. This is a must-have, and you'll want to get it as soon as you're able to.
The Fourth Email: Chapter 3 | Reward: The λ Truck
Following your exploits with the Junk Dealer near the tar lake, you'll eventually get another order from the individual impersonating Thomas Southerland. They'll ask you to retrieve another Companion Cube lost in an abandoned factory directly northeast from the Craftsman. Unfortunately, this area is filled with BTs, including the rare giant BTs that are a bit harder to deal with. The best way to get the Cube and escape with minimal resistance is to be as careful and patient as possible during your trek inside the hostile territory. Once you get the Cube, quietly backtrack and leave the area.
After returning the Companion Cube to Distribution Center South of Lake Knot City, you'll get a special Half-Life-branded truck. Just like the long-range truck that Sam can fabricate at distro centers, this vehicle is able to carry tons of cargo and trek great distances. What's special about this particular truck is that it is not only more energy-efficient than the standard vehicles, but it also takes much less damage from Timefall. So if you're going to fabricate a truck, this is the one to choose.
The Fifth Email: Chapter 8 | Reward: Headcrab
After the fourth email from the mysterious imposter, it'll be a while till you see another. The next λ email arrives during Chapter 8. After meeting Heartman in person, he'll ask you to get three preppers on the Chiral Network: the Geologist, the Paleontologist, and the Evo-Devo scientist. This delivery run can be pretty tricky, as the heavy snow, presence of BTs, and the rough terrain can be troublesome to deal with--especially all at once. So, of course, this is the perfect time to get a new message from the imposter. Shortly after getting the Paleontologist on the network, the imposter will break their silence. Impersonating the Paleontologist this time, they ask you to retrieve another Companion Cube from a ruin in the mountains directly south of Heartman's Lab. Once you arrive, be sure to avoid the BTs in the area and be careful when trekking back down to the Paleontologist's shelter.
This delivery will earn you the Headcrab hat. Like in the Half-Life series, the Headcrab is a gross creature that latches onto your head and sucks the life out of you. Thankfully, it's much more friendly and helpful in Death Stranding. Not only is the Headcrab a neat cosmetic, but it also has the bonus of restoring lost stamina by draining Sam's blood supply. To trigger this effect, Sam will need to be relaxed once the stamina meter is nearly empty. It will begin to feed off Sam's blood to get him back into solid shape. If you bring a blood bag, the Headcrab will dip into those resources instead of Sam's health, which removes the risk when having this hat active.
The Sixth and Final Email: Chapter 15 | Reward: The Reveal and the Half-Life: Alyx - Strider Hologram
The final Valve crossover mission in Death Stranding takes place after completion of the game's story. During Chapter 15, the post-game where you freely explore and finish outstanding orders, the real Benjamin Hancock from the Distribution Center West of Capital Knot City will send you an email about looking into the identity of the mysterious imposter. He'll direct you to a location just outside of Middle Knot City's crater--which is just north of the Craftsman's shelter. In a surprising twist, this side-objective adds a slightly new section of the map that wasn't present in the original PS4 version. In front of the crater past the tar belt is a small ruin with numerous BTs, including giant and rare red variants, which makes it a tough encounter. After securing the next Companion Cube, you'll need to bring it to the incinerator station just west of your present location.
After cremating the final Companion Cube, you'll get a message from the imposter who reveals their true identity to you and explains the rationale behind this elaborate, fourth-wall-breaking side-story. We won't say who it is, but it was a fun payoff that also fits perfectly into Death Stranding's weird world. The final reward you'll get from the imposter is a chiral hologram depicting the Strider from Half-Life: Alyx. You can engage this hologram by placing it on any level 2 structure built from a PCC item. This special hologram doesn't offer any unique benefits, but like the giant Tallneck projection you can also find the game, it's a nice surprise for other players who approach your structures.
That does it for this guide on the Valve crossover storyline in Death Stranding. For more guides on Hideo Kojima's bizarre open-world game, including the full list of memory chips, be sure to check out GameSpot's roundup of content for the game. If you want to know more about the PC release of Death Stranding, give our updated review a look as well.