The end of Episode 9 in Death Stranding sees Sam having a big showdown with Higgs, who's been the main antagonist in the game up until this point. While we won't be spoiling any of the story details in this guide surrounding the Higgs boss fight, we will be detailing how you can beat the two stages of the boss.
Death Stranding Higgs Boss Fight
The Higgs boss fight will take place directly after you reach the delivery terminal in Edge Knot City. Like we said, we're not going to be spoiling any story details in this guide, including developments after the boss fight is over. But, you can read on for information on how to take down Higgs in his two phases.
In this first phase, Higgs pilots a massive BT of sorts, the likes of which we haven't seen since the huge void out near the beginning of the game. Your target with this boss is Higgs himself, who starts out the fight embedded within the BT's chest.
You need to hit Higgs with everything you've got in this phase. Rocket launchers, grenade launchers, assault rifles. If you've got it, fire it at Higgs. Don't forget that since you'll be using hematic rounds to deal with the BT, you'll want to keep an eye out for any blood bags floating around the battlefield, which can be thrown in by the ghosts of other players. If you see any, run up to them straight away and equip them to your utility pouch.
The huge BT is going to keep moving towards you at a pretty steady pace. After you've dealt enough damage to Higgs in the chest of the BT, he'll transfer to the shoulder, and you'll need to once again hit him with everything you've got.
The main attack that you need to watch out for from the BT is when it sends vines out from its arms. You've got two options here: either sprint away from the vines to ignore them, or shoot them as they're coming at you through the air. The latter option deals damage to the BT, but you can also wait until the vines have passed you before destroying them, since they'll hang around in midair for a few seconds after they've missed you.
Once this first encounter with Higgs is over, you've got another fight ahead of you. Check out our section below for how to defeat Higgs on the beach.
In the second encounter with Higgs, once you've taken down the BT, you'll find yourself on a beach. It's just Sam vs. Higgs in human form for this fight, and although Higgs has both his assault rifle and grenades, Sam has nothing more than the basic strand used for binding people at his disposal.
The strand being the only tool available should give you a pretty good idea of your goal here. Although you can simply run up to Higgs and repeatedly punch in this phase, you won't actually progress the fight through doing this. Instead, you need to sneak your way around Higgs, and use the left and right triggers with the strand equipped to bind him up. There are also destroyed cargo containers around the area, you can pick these up and use them to distract Higgs. To do so, walk over to a container and press and hold a trigger. To throw, aim yourself towards where you want to throw and press square. At the peak of your throw release the trigger. Higgs will turn to face where the object lands, allowing you to sneak and bind him.
After Higgs is down on the ground, you've got time to repeatedly kick him by pressing square. You'll be able to get in four kicks if you're quick enough, before Higgs is back up again and ready to fight you.
You can also use the carcasses of whales in this fight as a good method of cover from Higgs, and if you can break his line of sight, he'll assume you're in the last position where he saw you. Although you can use this as a good method to sneak around Higgs, if you're out of his sight for upwards of 10 seconds, he'll use his scanner to ping your location. Unlike the Mule scanners, you can't use your own ping to negate this, and Higgs will instantly spot you.
There is actually a way you can break this fight with Higgs pretty easily. When he goes to throw a grenade, you can sprint at him, and use the strand to bind him while he's still in the throwing animation. Since Higgs won't break the grenade throwing animation once he's started it, you can sprint out in the open towards him, and there's not a thing he can do about it.
All you need to do is bind Higgs five times, and kick him when he's down, for this first part of the boss fight to be over with. Now onto the next part.
Higgs Knife Fight Strategy
Once you’ve bound and beaten Higgs a few times he’ll pull a knife. Wait for him to rush you and stand your ground with the strand readied. You’ll see a prompt when he gets close to press R2 to parry, and then R2 again to bind. You’ll need to do this four times. Higgs will periodically throw grenades at you as well, though they’re easy to dodge.
Higgs Fist Fight Strategy
The final part of this fight is a Punch-Out style fistfight, health bars and all. You’ll need to press square to punch Higgs, while keeping an eye on your stamina bar below the health bar. Use L2 + R2 to block, and hit the prompts to shake Higgs off when they pop up. Every now and then you’ll get the option to eat a Cryptobiote, this will restore some health.
Higgs makes one tough classic Kojima boss, but there's definitely methods for taking him down with ease. For more help with the game be sure to check out our look at the Memory Chip locations. Elsewhere there’s also our full explainer, which tries to make sense of the particularly wacky story here.