Our Prima Games community members are so talented, both with the controller and the written word, that we are always excited to share their contributions and accomplishments. In less than one week since the game's launch, Philip Vazquez has managed to methodically attack Bioshock Infinite's Trophy list and unlock the ever-ellusive Platinum Trophy!
We could tell you more, but we'll let Philip take it from here.
First, let me begin by saying that I don’t, by any means, consider myself to be a trophy hunter. I look to them as a way of increasing the enjoyment of a game that I already enjoy. I also make it a point to never look at the trophy list or any guides during my initial playthrough because the majority of the enjoyment I get from games is experiencing things first-hand. I feel that looking at a list or a guide before beating a game might ruin some aspects of the game or may make me focus on getting a trophy instead of just enjoying the game for what it is.
I will do my best to avoid as many spoilers as possible but, be warned, some will be present.
There was something about Infinite that really struck me when I first reached Columbia. The city was bright and vibrant and it felt alive, a character in and of itself, which is something I felt BioShock and Rapture lacked. So, from the get-go, I was lost in the amazing atmosphere Irrational Games had crafted. When I finally rescued Elizabeth, I instantly fell in love with her character. The way she reacted when I came tumbling down into her library was just priceless. She brought so much emotion to the story, it was hard to not want to protect her from the dangers that Columbia had in store for her.
My initial play-through was on Normal, just to get a feel for the game. I typically do this on each game I play so I can enjoy the game and story without possibly getting frustrated, which will mar my experience. I also got the Fink Manufacturing Pre-Order bonus, which gave me a little bit of a headstart in terms of money and equipment, but was not a significant contribution overall.
One thing that Infinite does, thankfully, is show you the progress of some trophies, such as the collectibles (except for Infusions), weapon kills, and others that deal with doing certain repetitive tasks. When I noticed that virtually every weapon had a trophy for a certain number of kills, I made it a point to focus on getting the trophy for one weapon and then tossing it aside for the next weapon that I was missing the trophy for.
In my experience, some of the best places to farm the weapon trophies are the fights with the Siren that take place in the Memorial Gardens, Bank of the Prophet, and the entrance to Comstock’s House. There are plenty of different weapons scattered around in each of those areas. If you kill the normal enemies there without causing them to dissolve via fire or electric kills, the Siren will keep resurrecting them for easy kill farming.
Other than that, I simply enjoyed my first playthrough, picking up whatever collectibles I could find on my own. When I was finished, barely three days after I started, I sat there, jaw nearly on the floor, stunned at how amazing the ending of the game was. I wanted more! I needed to have my questions answered and I wanted Elizabeth at my side again, tearing things apart to make my journey more dynamic.
I checked my trophy count and noticed I had earned around 60-65% of them. All I was missing were a few minor trophies and collectibles, and beating the game on 1999 Mode without using a Dollar Bill (which, by the way, I thought was a genius name for the general store in Infinite). It was at this point that I looked for some tips and strategies for besting 1999 Mode.
Most of what I read pointed to using the Season Pass “Early Bird” DLC. Although this DLC pack gives you some decent gear, the main advantage in regards to 1999 Mode is the five extra Infusions you get at the very start of the game, giving you a huge health or salt advantage. It is recommended that you ignore shields until you max out health and salts. This is due to the small increase shields get compared to health and salts. Since I wanted the Season Pass anyway, this was a nice bonus.
I also decided to use a guide that listed where all the collectibles were, and began my 1999 Mode adventure...
One of the items you get from the “Early Bird” DLC, which was not mentioned anywhere that I saw, is a piece of gear called “Electric Punch." It gives you a 70% chance to stun an enemy for four seconds during a melee attack. That piece of gear was probably the single biggest help to finishing the game on 1999 Mode. With the exception of Handymen and the Siren, this worked on every single enemy. When there was one enemy, even Patriots, I would hit them with a shot of Shock Jockey and then run up to them and melee attack them. They would be continually stunned until they died. This allowed me to conserve precious ammo and salts as well as take barely any damage during smaller fights.
I decided to focus on the shotgun and sniper rifle due to the large damage output they have, one being close-range and the other being long-range. If need be, I picked up whatever was at hand if I was running low on ammo. In terms of upgrades, it was all shotgun and sniper rifle. When it came to Vigors, I focused on three: Possession, Murder of Crows, and Shock Jockey. I upgraded Possession as fast as possible since it provides a great distraction and adds an ally to your cause for a short amount of time. I upgraded Murder of Crows' duration because I found that is the only thing that stops a Handyman, even for just a few seconds. Finally, with Shock Jockey, I upgraded that to increase the duration and I also made it chain to other enemies.
Later on, I discovered a piece of gear that was a huge help, “Last Man Standing.” When you get low on health and then get a kill, it adds approximately 50% health. As I am sure you can imagine this is extremely useful on 1999 Mode.
That was pretty much it. Not much was done differently than on Normal. Sky-Lines, when available, were very useful to get out of a tight spot or to perform some Sky-Line Strikes for a good bit of damage. Other than that, I just followed a collectible guide, moved around slowly, didn't rush in, and used the tactics learned on my first playthrough.
Overall that worked well, until... the dreaded Siren. Oh, how I dreaded that section of the game. Not only was she strong and agile, but the ability to keep reviving her minions was something I was not looking forward to. What started out on Normal as a great way to get some weapon kill trophies, turned into a nightmare, at first...
I found that the key to these fights were none other than Electric Punch, Last Man Standing, and Shock Jockey. Go to a small area where the enemies would be forced into a choke as much as possible. Use Shock Jockey (with the chain upgrade) and kill them with either a gun or melee attack. If they were being electrocuted when killed, their bodies would dissolve, making it impossible for them to be revived. This did not make the fight a cake-walk, but it did make it much easier to deal with. Patience was once again the key.
Now in the home stretch, I pushed my way through, using everything I had learned up to that point to make it until the very final fight. Now, let me pause for a moment and ask everyone a question: Who likes escort/defense missions? I know I sure do! (That was rife with sarcasm in case anyone was wondering.)
The last stand, the final fight of the game, easily took me an hour, or maybe even two. At the time I was talking with a friend over XBOX Live while playing Infinite on the PS3. All I’ll say is he can personally attest to my frustration due to the many times I told him to “shaddup!”
I can’t say for a fact what brought me to victory in that section other than trying over and over and over again. I had saved up around $2,500, so the $100 cost of being revived was not the issue. It was the fact that I could not kill the enemies fast enough while also focusing Songbird on the zeppelins, all the while trying not to die so I wouldn’t lose precious seconds waiting to come back into the fray. Eventually, I won out! The only real advice I can give is to make Songbird’s primary target the zeppelins and abuse your Vigors as much as possible. This is your last stand, hold nothing back all you former Pinkerton Agents out there!
It was such a relief to see the final scripted parts of the game play out, to sit back and enjoy one of the best endings to any game I have ever played for a second time. Beyond that, there was only one trophy that was a hurdle to overcome, “Heartbreaker,” which is killing a Handyman with only shots to the heart. Now, that isn’t too difficult, but I didn't know this trophy existed until after I finished the game on Normal and started on 1999 Mode. I was forced to try and do this on 1999, since, for some reason, once you are on 1999 Mode you cannot turn if off. I am sure accomplishing this on 1999 Mode is possible but, to be honest, it wasn't something I was really looking forward to doing.
This meant starting a New Game on Easy and playing through a good 25-30% of the game to get to the very first fight with a Handyman. Once I got there, it was a brief ten or so minutes until I heard the blissful “ding” of my platinum trophy appearance.
I can't honestly say how many hours it took to get every trophy. All I can say is that it took me 2.33 playthroughs over the course of five days to accomplish platinum. If Infinite wasn't the best game I’ve played so far in 2013, this never would have happened.
Infinite left me with a lot of questions, as well as a desire to see what more Columbia has to offer. Hopefully, the three future single-player DLC packs will satisfy this curiosity. I can only hope Booker and Elizabeth will be part of that adventure.
Finally, I want to give a huge thank you to Ken Levine, everyone at Irrational Games, and everyone at 2K Games for creating Infinite and all the wonders it contains!
Follow Philip on Twitter @Saix_XIII