In which this all ends, for now.
I have some bits and pieces as well as a final
commentary incoherent rambling.
Bits and Pieces
I didn’t comment on the everyday problems of a modular city in which some buildings have actual schedules. There is a reason for this:
The “flying city” was established right at the beginning as our background, as our tune to which this dance took place. I basically took it for granted until problems were shoved into my face, like the
quantum levitation Lutece field plot magic keeping the city afloat or the indestructible airship-hulls. The whole civil engineering-thing, the water&waste-management of the city and all that’s related to it, was never mentioned, never made itself known and didn’t attract my attention (followed by my ire).
And as I’ve just mentioned it: I really REALLY liked the idea of buildings having a schedule. “This store will be here from 9-11 am and 4-6 pm”. This absolutely fits the feel of Columbia. Same goes for the travelling barbershop-quartet encountered early in the game.
I have complained about the erratic positioning of the voxophones. In the at least at the beginning fully intact society of Columbia it just didn’t make sense to find a voice recording of eg. Comstock’s biographer at a beach. It’s just… unnecessary videogame-y. Same goes for the sometimes weird positioning of vending machines: why do we sell ammunition in a bank? If the things the player sees, the health-packs and ammunition and all this, are just a part of the inventory someone should have shown us. And why does a public vending machine sell RPG-ammunition anyway… oh right, the player needs a place to refill his supplies.
The kinetoscope machines on the other hand were mostly well-placed and a great way to hand lore to the player without breaking immersion, save for some crowd-scenes. Another thing very well done.
At Battleship Bay, in the “employees only”-section of a toy store, the owner had laid a table for two, with one of the puppets sold in the shop on the other chair. A seemingly small detail which turned “random NPC shopkeeper” into someone with at least a bit of character, to be found by anyone nosy enough to go there.
Good dialogue interrupts. As in REAL good. We often see a scripted interruption in a dialogue were there is this awkward pause between lines, one line ending in a half-word, everyone standing around for a moment, before the conversation carries on. And then there was the ringing phone on our way to the roof of Mr. Fink’s (of Fink Mfg) factory, which destroyed it all.
Final thoughts, aka yet another vigor-induced rant
These things really are dangerous…
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I really enjoyed this game. It did a good job at what it did, and I’d love to see more games like this. The mechanics are sound and feel good. It tells a good story and it tells it well, and it doesn’t fuck up an ending with lots of potential for failure. And boy does this game look good.
However, I will not end this series with praise. I cannot. There are
plasmids vigors in there.
The whole thing doesn’t work, and it doesn’t get better once we get new knowledge about them. It gets WORSE, and I can prove it. Most things I say now were said before, but here is whole mess, in a single post, with additional information.
We enter Columbia and see the vigor-salesman and the Bucking Bronco-tutorial-booth at the local fair. This is the only occasion ever where we can witness a civilian use of the vigors. During the rest of the game, the only users are DeWitt and selected special enemies of both parties, and even they use just a very small sample. No civilian use. Ever. Which leads to:
Every vigor we encounter is a weapon. A weapon I would not want to be sold to the public. Yet there are vending machines selling UPGRADES to make these things deadlier. What kind of sane society sells such things to the public? If we put the videogame-logic aside for a moment: the Vox stormed Fink’s factory. Theoretically they have full access to all vigors. The Founders would likely have access to them, too. The civil war in Columbia could have leveled the whole city in a matter of hours.
Taking into account that no civilian ever uses vigors and the military uses some of them sparingly: how can Fink make money with these? He says he does. But then, he also says that he got the idea by watching Suchong in Rapture creating plasmids. He made a drinkable version, using four times as much ADAM… wait what? ADAM? The sea-snail/little sister-resource? How..? The lore says that he gets the ADAM by means of expeditions into the deep-sea. Costly expeditions, which is why he thinks about making the vigors injectable to save production cost. But let’s remember what happened in Rapture: as it turned out, ADAM is both addictive and drives its users mad. Fink couldn’t have known (at least not the full extend of the catastrophe), as his contact with Suchong took place before the fall of Rapture. But he still uses the same insanity incuding, addictive agent. This MIGHT be the reason we don’t see civilian use – the vigor-using heavy hitters are all of questionable sanity, but they have more than enough other factors to account for this (fanaticism, among others). So maybe the public doesn’t use vigors because they drive the users crazy. How can he make money with them, then?
This whole thing falls faster apart the harder you look at it. And it feels like it’s been bolted on. There are probably thousands of possible explanations why I’m stupid and everything makes sense, but why weren’t they where they’re needed most – in the game, and going from there right in my face?
I thoroughly recommend this game. The bitching-and-moaning will continue once I get the DLC for cheap on steam.
I’d like to finish this series with a kinetoscopic recording: Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Albert Fink proudly presents Columbia’s gayest quartet with “God only knows”.