In which we visit the paradise on earth, hear a song and follow the most impractical commute.
A loading screen on our way told us that we don’t have to shoot first, some situations can be solved without violence. This will be important later.
We stand before the elevator to Finkton Housing, the one place on earth where every worker wants to live. It’s got nice, single family housing, state of the art plumbing, wide streets with lots of light and a garden for every family.
Just kidding. Here’s what we descent into:
I tried to tell Elisabeth to step aside while I take pictures, but as it turn’s out we can’t do that. We can’t make her stop making faces, either.
I start to wonder how all this, which is still part of the same complex as the factory square we just came from, is staying in the air. It feels a bit like the designer forgot where this is supposed to be. Or for some reasons putting in breaks between blocks just didn’t work here. Or it’s just because we don’t have a good look at the skyline or the bottom of the complex, where the floating-equipment would be.
On the other hand: this place feels great. Errr.. it feels like a godforsaken hell where no sane man would ever want to live. What is probably the intended feeling here. Which is great.
Down in the gutter we come across two situation where people tell me a) to back off (in front of an infusion, the magic juice that let’s us upgrade our health, shield or salt) and b) to give them money (aka “a robbery”, in front of a bar we wish to enter).
Remember that loading screen telling us that shooting isn’t the answer? Guess what we can do in both situations? Exactly: we can leave, or we can go in guns blazing. A “give money” button would have been appreciated, but yeah: this ain’t no open world game, this is a shooter. But a man can still dream.
In the cellar of the aforementioned bar we surprise a kid trying to steal food, in this case an orange. I’m a bit surprised that tropical fruit made their way down here, but they’re probably rather common in Columbia. They never struck me as odd before. I blame the scenery. Anyway, down here is a guitar. DeWitt can pick it up and play, Elisabeth sings to it and hands the boy an orange. For me, this was an extremely powerful scene, a moment of calm and humanity in all the madness going on in Columbia and the slums in particular. This is something done very well, and whoever is responsible for this moment deserves praise.
On we go to the Bull House Impound. We pass a group of people trying to pry open a broken vending machine. Near to it is a tear Elisabeth can pry open to give them access to a shipment of food. Yet another situation where the tears are used in non-combat gameplay in a meaningful way. Or maybe I should rephrase this: “In your face, vigors”. We also find two pilloried men, found guilty of labor agitation. These aren’t the first pillories we past, but as we are in an area where we will likely have to shoot our way past several armed guard and wont have to worry about anyone getting irritated by strange action… why can’t I set those men free? Again, maybe I’ve missed something, but it seems like they are a setpiece. Shut up with your “no open world”-arguments.
Past this we find the Impound. The place where confiscated Vox-stuff is brought. Most likely through the slums, as we pass a lot of stuff. How does this work? And where are the armed forces stopping angry (or worse: hungry) workers from grabbing everything?
Regardless of everything lying around here, we have to enter the building. Gameplay-wise, we find a skyline section. A good one, even. But what about the people working there? Do they really have to move through the slums and ride a skyline to get to work? Both skylines here move in circles – again, this makes sense gameplay-wise. But it makes it hard to buy this place. Yes, there is a skyboat-dock. But it’s on the side where we arrive, and the entrance-area doesn’t seem to have a pier.
Upon entering the building, we can witness a little physics-fail. DeWitt falls down a bit. I didn’t notice this avatar-placement-error upon loading a new environment before, however I did notice on two more transitions in this session. Maybe I just looked harder this time. It’s not a very big deal either, but I think it could have been avoided.
We enter the building and see something familiar to every person who ever tried to board a plane. Everyone who wants to enter will be searched. Or would, if anyone would be here. Who probably could inform the others about DeWitt. Why, oh why is there an unmanned checkpoint inside a bloody police station? Why? And while I’m at it: where did this Mecha-Washington come from that enters the area through the front door (where we just came in) after we’ve cleaned up inside? If they just dropped him in response to a call for backup, why aren’t there more men coming? Why would anyone send just one motorized patriot after the man who successfully mowed down large forces and several automata before? Or did I miss the waiting Washington in the entrance area?
The floor plan here is once again videogame-practical, but real-world impractical. There actually is a changing room (with showers), but to get there… take the front entrance, move up the stairs, walk over the whole upper-floor-balcony. I didn’t see any other doors. I might have missed it. Oh, and it’s one changing room with open showers for a seemingly mixed-sex force. Which in itself contradicts the setting: is this a 1912-working-women-are-odd-scenario, or a women-standing-in-the-front-lines-of-battle-is-totally-fine-scenario? I really don’t mind the mixed force, but it’s strangely at odds with the establish attitude towards women who actually work. Or is the great cause of patriotism the one line of work where it’s acceptable?
At this point, I’m again ~1k words in. I’m about halfway where I wanted to go. Let’s wrap it up here – actually finding the tools we’re looking for will take place in the next part.