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Bioshock Infinite: A level analysis from a gameplay point of view #6

This sixth and penultimate part will cover all the elements we didn't analyze so far: Collectibles and Vending Machines. Despite being side elements, they are still relevant to understand the game's pace

This is the following of the analysis' fifth's part and, if you are new, to the first part.
I highly suggest to read all the previous parts to fully understand the game and its behaviors.

Today we talk about two side, but not less important than any other, elements we didn't cover so far: Collectables and Vending Machines.

Let's get to business!

Collectables

Figure 15

Collectables are present in every area of the game (except the first and last one).

They provide insights about the game world and the story, leading knowledge-seeking players to look for and collect them, increasing the game duration in two ways:

  • Time spent looking for collectables
  • Time spent watching/listening to collectables

This brings players of the targeted type into a virtuous circle: Playing brings knowledge, knowledge brings immersion, immersion brings the desire to know more, therefore by playing.

This leads us to our last conclusion of this series:

Conclusion Number Fifteen: Collectibles with an otherwise untold relation to the story bring the player to consider them part of the core story and, therefore, finding them is part of the game’s core.

Vending Machines

Figure 16

Vending machines allow the player to:

  • Buy Items ("Dollar Bill")
  • Buy Weapons' upgrades ("Minuteman's Armory")
  • Buy Vigors' upgrades and missed Vigors ("Veni! Vidi! Vigor!")
  • Restore Salts ("Salts Machine")

Let's start with the Dollar Bills:

Dollar Bills are the most present machines and are findable in almost every location: Those provide another form of sustain to the player selling ammos, medikits, salts and lockpicks.

Their absence (or low presence) in Comstock House and Hand of the Prophet shows the higher challenge in those areas: not only the difficulty is higher, some resources are also limited. The player will have to get medikits, salts and ammo around those areas, exposing himself to enemies attacks.

Minuteman's Armory & Veni! Vidi! Vigor!:

Minuteman’s Armories and Veni! Vidi! Vigor! let the player buy upgrades and are often present to allow him to buy upgrades he couldn’t afford previously, or to buy upgrades needed for a specific location as a weapon may be more effective than others.

Last but not least, Salts Machines:

Salts Machines are present only in the first half of the game before or during tougher battles, where players might not have the ability to manage the salts spending in a fight.

Later in the game those are completely absent, as the player should have a better management of the salts, or he could rely more on Elizabeth’s tears.

This concludes today's topics, despite being smaller elements they still provide some insights of the game, so I thought they deserved their own article.

TL;DR: Collectibles can increase the player's interest in the story and game's world, therefore they are a powerful tool especially for narrative purposes. Resource-providing machines can change the game's pace, so be sure to manage them to fit your ideal experience.

Today's topic wasn't as fascinating as some previous ones, but I really think even the tiniest element is core when analyzing or designing a game; as they say, "The devil is in the details"!

I'll see you in three weeks with our very last article on this game: we'll take a look at all the conclusions drawn so far, so stay tuned!

  1. Introduction and Duration
  2. Items
  3. Gears, Weapons, Vigors
  4. Enemies and Difficulty
  5. Tears
  6. Others

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