Basic Trope: Becoming more powerful in a game by getting better equipment rather than leveling up.
- Straight: The only way to make Alice become more powerful is by collecting new guns as you progress.
- Exaggerated: As you play you pick up better armor, guns, air supplies (for aquatic levels), jetpacks, vehicles, radios and save points!
- Downplayed: Alice can be leveled up, however this only upgrades her equipment.
- Justified: In-Universe, Alice is already as powerful as she can be on her own.
- Inverted: As you get more powerful, Alice's weapons and armor deteriorate to show her becoming less reliant on them.
- Subverted: It appears that better equipment will be the only way to level up...but after a few levels you find a piece of equipment which enhances Alice abilities as she trains, which in gameplay terms adds up to gaining Experience Points and leveling up.
- Double Subverted: The gains from leveling up this way are so small most players don't even bother.
- Parodied: In one town there's a Snake Oil Salesman selling useless items which he claims increase your character level.
- Zig Zagged: In the Tutorial Level XP gains are switched off, so Alice only equips better items, then in the main game they balance out...however each zone has its own Absurdly Low Level Cap and can only get more powerful with better equipment until the player progresses to the next area.
- Averted: Alice's power levels stay the same throughout the entire game.
- Enforced: The game's developers wanted it to be fast paced, so they used this trope to make the player able to power up in discreet stages (with better weapons and armor) rather than Stat Grinding.
- Lampshaded: "Ah, a slightly better gun, it's about time!"
- Invoked: Alice plants caches of better equipment ahead of her to avoid suffering from a Bag of Spilling effect after the tutorial level.
- Exploited: At the beginning of the game, Alice challenges Bob to a dual in a town she knows she won't reach until the second disk. Bob accepts, not realizing that she'll probably have a much bigger gun than him when they next meet.
- Defied: In a bit of meta-humour, Alice goes out of her way to get what would have been the Infinity +1 Sword; she can only power up by gaining character levels.
- Discussed: "I really should have found some better equipment by now...."
- Conversed: "So can you level up in this game?" "No, you just pick up better equipment."
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