(Disclaimer: This is a continuation of my BioShock Infinite review. I will not go out of my way to avoid spoilers. This review is designed for gamers who have beaten BioShock Infinite and want to know more about 1999 mode before committing to it for another play through. I would not advise 1999 mode as a first play through.
Irrational Games designed 1999 mode to be more challenging. Coming from someone who was able to get through Dark Souls relatively well solo (besides O&S, I’m not that good), 1999 mode was challenging yet very possible. If you are going to play on 1999 mode I would recommend going for the Scavenger Hunt achievement. To do this you must play though 1999 mode without purchasing anything from the Dollar Bill machines. You have to find all your supplies from the environment and from Elizabeth.
So, what was playing under this mode like? Well, I’ll tell you. Thanks for asking.
When I played on normal difficulty I used a carbine and a shotgun as my weapons. I did this because in games, and in real life, I prefer using powerful weapons instead of quick-firing weaker ones. If there was a bolt-action rifle besides the sniper rifle (low max ammo), I would have used that. When I started 1999 mode I found these weapons as soon as possible. It pleased me to find out that these weapons were perfect for 1999 mode. Of course, this had a lot to do with my play style. I would typically stay back in a battle and try to get head shots on my enemies and use the shotgun for when I was rushed. This strategy worked well in 1999 mode, except for the handymans…
The handymans in 1999 mode are some of the hardest challenges in the game. When you do play your 1999 mode try to remember when and where the handyman will spawn and do your best to kill as many enemies as possible before engaging it. The only area where this didn’t go well was at the end of the Fink factory level. The handyman there spawns only when you get near it in a small area so escaping it is near impossible. I preferred to stay on the run and only fight the handyman when I could stun him. To be fair I don’t remember how I dispatched the handyman in the factory. I died, re-spawned, and he was gone. You can say that I didn’t beat it fairly, be my guest. It was dead so I moved on. Every other handyman is very beatable and if approached correctly should not give you any problems.
The motorized patriots are not as challenging as you might imagine. If you are being engaged by one when it’s alone, just use shock jockey on it and pound it with your shotgun. If the motorized patriot is accompanied by a lot of troops it’s possible to use possession on the patriot. The possession won’t last long but sometimes the enemy troops will heavily damage it before it changes back to being hostile.
Then… there’s the siren. The siren is the only “boss” battle in BioShock Infinite and she is a major pain in 1999 mode. There are multiple strategies online on how to beat her but I’ll describe but I did.
In the graveyard there’s a mausoleum to the upper left when you’re facing where lady Comstock is buried. There’s only one way in there so it’s adequately defendable. I went in there and waited for the siren to come in so I could unload my shotgun. I would then use Return to Sender for when she uses her big shockwave attack. This took me several tries before it worked. Even when it did work I eventually ran out of ammo when the siren reached low health and i had to run out and use a crank gun in order to finish her off.
The other two fights with the siren are not as difficult because there are better spots to fight from. In the bank, try to not go through the vault’s door. The resurrected soldiers can’t get in to you and you can just take your time to take long shots with the carbine. At the entrance to Comstock house there is an alcove near the entrance where the vending machines are where you can hide. From there you can pop your head out to take shots at the siren.
Those strategies are not the best but they’re what worked for me. You may find strategies that work for you better.
Then there’s the last battle. I looked online for a good strategy before I started it and it was still difficult. Just remember to sue Return to Sender traps around the power core and to use the skyline up to the sniping perch above the flight deck. Remember to use the Songbird to take out the motorized patriots, trying to take both out at the same time during a wave, and then use it to take out the blimps as soon as possible. You can not take your time in this fight; the power core will not regain health. If you have to use the Songbird to take out a blimp while there are patriots try using possession on one of the patriots to distract the enemies forces for a few seconds.
The rest of the battles in BioShock Infinite’s 1999 mode are very doable. As long as you remember to take your time and not rush then you shouldn’t have any problems.
- Challenge Is Enjoyable
- Restrictions Onto Combat Improve Roleplaying
- Game’s Faults Highlighted
- Siren Fight Very Annoying
- Last Battle Not Designed For 1999 Mode
Was 1999 mode fun? For the most part it was a blast, but the end battle did wax away some of the enjoyment. The last battle is very much a pain and after a second play through it is the scourge of the entire game while the siren is right behind it. 1999 mode does do the service of highlighting the faults in BioShock Infinite. I don’t think the last battle was designed with 1999 mode in mind and thus it can be ridiculously annoying. I would only advise playing this mode if you’re wanting all the achievements or if you enjoy a challenge. If you’re just curious about it then I would say to give it a shot but be forewarned that near the end it goes from fun to mildly aggravating