In which we meet a bird, visit an asylum and see many many masks…
After passing the now wide open gates at Victory Square, we stand before the skyrail leading to Comstock House, towering on his own sky-island, crowned with the angelic statue of Elisabeth and resting upon the founders’ faces.
In accordance with the old and ancient rule of “what could possibly go wrong” we pull the lever to call the gondola to get us up there.
Songbird shows up, tossing us in one of the adjectant towers. DeWitt blacks out, hallucinating about the Luteces standing in his old office: “bring us the girl and wipe away the debt”. Finally awake again, we’re still under attack of songbird. He’d have torn us to pieces, were it not for Elisabeth. She apologizes for escaping and bids him to take her back. This would be THE perfect moment for a non-standard game over: Elisabeth wanted to make DeWitt promise to kill her before ever letting her be taken back into Comstock’s hands. It would have been pretty awesome to get the chance to actually do it, right here, right now. It totally wouldn’t fit the narrative (Elisabeth just sacrificed herself to save DeWitts life)… but who cares? I don’t want to write “I’d love to have shot here right there”, as it sounds more mental than I’m comfortable with, but having the option would have been awesome.
DeWitt passes out again, and when we’re back among the conscious and leave the tower we now see… a bridge leading to Comstock House. Probably an unexplained, unshown tear.
Alright, the bridge it is. We pull the lever, bringing the bridge in a more horizontal configuration and move on. Into a white-out.
In front of Comstock House, we’re greeted by… snow. But according to DeWitt it’s june. Seems like we just missed half a year,
probably most likely more. This can’t be good.
Moving towards the door, we encounter a tear through which we can hear Elisabeth. She wants to take her captors to get their hands off her and asks to be brought back into her tower. Inside, we not only find a statue of Elisabeth in her role as prophet and bringer-of-justice, but also encounter more PA-announcements from her. They sound an awful lot like old man Comstock.
The slabs on both sides of the statue hold pictures of sinners, categorized by sin. We pass more tears on our way, hearing a more and more distressed Elisabeth behind each. It’s quite clear the she is being held against her will and not too happy about it.
Moving on, we find out the we’re in some kind of asylum. Fallen into disrepair, but still inhabited by the poor souls locked in this hellhole. And all of them wear masks, depicting a founding father. So THAT’s the reason nobody tried to storm this place. Comstock House only holds the name, but is not the actual house of Mr. Comstock but an asylum. It could have been so easy. But no, the lore clearly states that “Comstock established the residence as his principal workplace and central headquarters of the Founders” [source]. So this man added an
asylum re-education centre for social dissidents right into his headquarters. Okay. Then why isn’t the bloody Vox all over this place, tearing it apart? Seriously, WHY? This is driving me nuts even more nuts with every new piece of information. But things WILL get worse.
We run into a warning sign. “No sin evades his gaze”.
The depicted individual stands behind the elevator-shaft and serves as an alarm. If the Boy of Silence sees you, all inmates withing a certain distance turn hostile. They cannot be disposed of and teleport away when attacked or triggered. Later ones can be stealthed, this one serves as technology demonstrator. After fighting our way past the inmates, we can hear Elisabeth scream behind a closed door. A plot-closed door, of course, so we have to head upstairs for the warden’s office to unlock it. I probably should have tried to get some of the explosives used in the bank…
Over the course of this section we pass several more tears, each showing is more of Elisabeth’s fate. She is being held here, and Comstock’s scientists work on ways to bring her in line with the prophecy. Common themes are that she should finally come to terms with the fact that DeWitt abandoned her, that she alone is responsible for her suffering (“your father gave you a lovely home and you destroyed it”) and that she’s being tortured.
The whole thing reeks of “why did you make me do this“, indicating quite a bit of competence in re-education. After all, that’s what this whole thing is for.
We also hear more from Elisabeth over the PA, more Comstock-y talk, indicating that at least in one world Comstock succeeded.
Inside the wardens office we pull the lever to open the plot-gate, turn around and I nearly got a heart attack as a Boy of Silence stood right behind me.
What happens behind this door will be told in the next part, for now I want to speak some more about the asylum.
This whole area is yet another example of excellent level design. It’s a run down, broken place, a textbook example of the abandoned hospital. Except that there are still people being
tortured re-educated here. People who wear founding fathers’ masks. And being controlled by wardens with listening-device-helmets who most likely spend some years too many in them. We walk past the remnants of gruesome medical “attention”. We get surprised by a wheelchair, rolling into our view all by itself.
We pass a ruined dormitory, which is still inhabited despite snow blowing through the broken windows.
And, as one of the most creepiest parts, we pass the workshop where the inmates build the heads for the motorized patriots, Songbird’s callstations and presumably their own masks.
This place feels creepy. Dangerous. I really wouldn’t want to be there. So I’d say the designers nailed it.