In which we visit Columbia’s world-famous shopping-labyrinth, run into a rather cheerful fingerprint-scanner and see the dead rising.
After finishing the shooty times, we stand in front of a hairpin lock. And another. And… a third? My tingling plot-sense tells me that all of those doors will be relevant – why else should we be able to open them without additional picks? Our target is Comstock House, so we can either work our way over Harmony Lane, where we will be greeted by some snipers, or over the Market. The Bank of the Prophet can be entered, but doesn’t hold anything interesting – yet. The way over the Market brings us close to the old Lutece Labs, now closed down by order of the Columbia Science Authority.
I don’t see any reason why one would conduct dangerous experiments that threaten the borders of time and space themself in the middle of the local shopping mile, but then the DESY-particle acellerator is build below Hamburg. [I know that DESY wasn’t criticized for threatening to end the world (the LHC was), but it’s the only accelerator I’m aware of beneath a city. Shut up.]
The other path, the one through Harmony Lane, leads us towards the Photo Studio. I’ve missed some exposition (in fact, I missed the whole building), so I’ve no idea why it is special. It IS special, but more on that later.
The whole are is dominated by the conflict of the advancing Vox Populi and Comstock’s men. On various occasions you can just wait in cover until the majority of conflict is over and mop up the survivors.
The Emporia is pillaged, burning and it’s clear which side has the upper hand in this conflict. Comstock’s likeness is eradicated with broad strokes of red paint and red
flags rags hang all over the place. Elisabeth even remarks that the Vox seem to have agreed on their favourite colour.
We make our way past this crumbling glory towards Comstock House. Elisabeth asks along the way how they are ever going to fix this mess – my best shot: they wont.
We also pass another great scenery: the half-broken store of Mr. Fink’s brother, Mr. Fink. Mr. Albert Fink of Albert Fink’s Magical Melodies, that is. Here we find a voicelog where Mr. Fink (of Fink Mfg) tells Mr. Fink (of Albert Fink’s Magical Melodies, who get’s his musical ideas from tears) about a certain biologist, where he’s getting the ideas for the vigors from – which make him good money. Obviously, this is a reference to Dr. Suchong (I hope I spelled this right) of BioShock I-fame. The creator of the plasmids. And dear designers: I can see how Mr. Fink could make money by selling weapons to the public. But WHY do we NEVER EVER see even ONE single vigor used by ANY random NPC? How can he make money from a product NOBODY EVER USES? AAAARRRRGGH!
Anyway: I wasn’t kidding when I said that the store is broken. Something must be wrong with the quantum particles, as they no longer seem to be fixed at a certain height.
The Victory Square, the area before Comstock House, is empty. “Empty” empty. No one is there. It’s deserted. Not a single man of Columbia’s military or law enforcement, not a single Vox Populi-fighter. This is supposed to be the home of the one man the Vox want dead. The figurehead of Columbia. The man responsible for their suffering. No one.
I thought this place would be under siege. Every man of Columbia’s forces would be here, barricading themselves against the onslaught of the Vox. The Vox, bringing every piece of heavy weaponry they could find, to gain access to the gates. A battle of epic proportions, forcing us to find another way in. There is “wrong”, “dead wrong” and this:
These shields seem to be what passes for bunkered emplacements in Columbia. Please note the absolute absence of fighting. There are some corpses, indicating a fight in the near past, but that’s it.
The plot-reason for this is simple: access to Comstock House is restricted by a semi-intelligent fingerprint-reader, which confuses Elisabeth with her mother and is very happy to see her, especially given the fact that she’s dead for 19 years. Once again, I kid you not:
But as the device put it: her fingerprints don’t seem to be quite hers today.
INTERLUDE: this is a gate. There is no one defending it. WHY didn’t the Vox break it down? I really don’t get it. I can see NO justification other than “the plot demands” for it. End of interlude.
Elisabeth sees only one solution for this: get Lady Comstock’s fingerprints. It’s a good thing that the graveyard is nearby. Next to the shopping mile. I could understand a single crypt here, near Comstock House, to allow for public mourning of the First Lady. But no, it has to be a graveyard. There is a reason for this.
We enter the Memorial Gardens and overhear a short conversation between two Vox: “The silver eagle will be worthless one day, but gold is always valuable”. It’s nice to see that this narrative is used here – a political party in Germany is currently using the same argument to get people to buy gold from them so they can get more funding. Totally irrelevant in the context of the game, but was the first thing that came to my mind here. Okay, and I honestly thought the silver eagle (the currency of Columbia) was, well, silver. Looks like I’ve been wrong.
We go towards the Crypt of Lady Comstock, Elisabeth opens a tear to a version of the gate which has a lock, picks said lock and proceeds towards the sarcophagus.
Booker insists on opening it. And, as we all expected, something happens. Comstock talks to us (presumably via the omnipresent PA), reprimanding Elisabeth for following the false shepherd, and… the ghost of Lady Comstock rises. And boy is she angry.
Elisabeth thinks that somehow Comstock used her to open a tear to do… whatever to the First Lady. Who in the meantime started to raise the dead, which can’t be a good thing.
And once more I thought “the amount of game played today will not be a full post”, and one more I was wrong. The adventures of Lady Ghost Comstock will continue in the next installment of this series.