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I've cleared the game on the normal difficulty, and now I'm going back over it again in 1999 Mode. One thing I noticed during my first playthrough is that there's just not enough money to buy everything - weapon upgrades and vigor upgrades are particularly expensive.

I spent my cash in my last playthrough willy nilly, but I feel like with the increased difficulty I need to make some more considered decisions. My money and salt budget are likely to be very tight.

Are there Vigor upgrades that are overpowered or essential for play at higher difficulties? Are there any in particular I should ignore outright as being completely useless?

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Murder of Crows upgraded was awesome to have against light enemies. Not only did the crows stop them in their tracks for a brief moment, if one died, the body could set off another chain of crows to attack those that are still alive. Could prove useful, especially if salts will be hard to come by. –  Jeff Mercado Mar 31 '13 at 16:53
    
You definitely want to get the vigor boost for Possesion that requires less salt when you use it. –  Gmoneyrocks Mar 31 '13 at 17:53
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I just finished 1999 yesterday and honestly what I found surprised me. It really seemed like the vigors were balanced, even in 1999 mode. As long as you are utilizing them properly, all of them are effective. If I were to focus on three, they would be Murder of Crows (for Handymen and to distract peons while taking care of heavys), Shock Jockey (allows perma-stun of 80% of enemys), and Overtow (this is critical when you get to the Hand of the Prophet, as you can literally just knock all of the enemies off the Zeppelin instead of fighting them.)

If there was one that was underpowered it was Possession. Any enemy that you posses will get demolished by other enemies almost instantaneously without dealing any measurable damage, and at a high vigor price to boot. The only way I could even use Possession was to get by some turrets without destroying them to preserve ammo (presuming you are going for the Scavenger Hunt achievement as well.)

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What upgrades did you take for the three you used most? Did you take both for each of them? Were there any other upgrades you got? The upgrades are specifically what I'm interested in. –  agent86 Mar 31 '13 at 21:02
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When I finished the game, the only two Vigors I had upgraded were Posession Aid (due to it only being $50) and Shock Duration Aid (allows to perma-shock most heavies.) I found it was more useful to put my money into upgrading a small sub-set of guns as the 'Scavenger Hunt' achievement left me with little to no ammo most of the latter half of the game and having 3-4 highly upgraded guns to switch to was more useful than having upgraded Vigors. –  Mondrianaire Mar 31 '13 at 21:12
    
I disagree. I felt Possession vigor was an absolute necessity. Possessing Flak Cannons and having them commit suicide saved me on so many occasions. –  Dom Apr 3 '13 at 5:16
    
Whereas I found Posession rarely useful, but the upgraded Murder of Crows, with the overkill boots and blood to salt shirt nearly game breaking. "Oh look, a horde of enemies" one crow, one headshot, spawns more crows and electricity, by the third headshot, any number of light enemies were dead from the chaining electricity and crow bombs. –  Kexlox Apr 5 '13 at 5:05
    
Perhaps you could add your strategy for the zeppelin fight here? I don't think anyone's mentioned overtow. –  BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Apr 8 '13 at 8:36
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I wrapped up my 1999 mode run yesterday, and documented my overall strategy here.

As far as vigor upgrades go, I spent money on the following:

  • Murder of Crows upgrade for increased duration
  • Shock Jockey upgrade for increased duration
  • Charge upgrade for invulnerability/shield recharge
  • Possession upgrade for humans

MoC is great versus handymen, but it wears off very quickly. Similarly, Shock Jockey is great against Patriots, but wears off quickly. Bucking Bronco is probably the #3 duration upgrade I would pick, as it's very useful against groups of the weaker enemies that tend to charge you.

Charge's invulnerability+shield recharge is awesome. It's essentially turning your salts into health. If you couple it with Brittle Skinned, you'll charge to an enemy, hit them to make every shot count for double, and then you can unload into them. It was key for fighting the Lady for me, and for surviving the endgame.

Possession's human upgrade is nearly free. It's relatively expensive in terms of salts (even if you invest in the salt reduction) but there are times when a human enemy just won't quit, and in these cases I found it to be ammo-efficient to use it. For these hardened, armored enemies, I did tend to prefer to Undertow them off a cliff if possible, though.

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