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Bioshock Infinite: Play-through

Booker DeWitt

Bioshock Infinite (game)

I've been writing about virtual reality, simulated worlds, and the new forms of entertainment and education they will engender for thirty years. Other than Kerbal Space Program, which is more of a simulated world sandbox than a game (there is no specific goal and no conflict other than with the laws of nature), I have not played video games since the age of Pac-Man. As we approach the threshold of the Roaring Twenties, I thought it would be a good idea to check in and see the current state of the art and whether it justified the things people were saying about contemporary games being a new art form and interactive medium of fiction.

The game I chose to play was Bioshock Infinite, the latest in the Bioshock series (but an entirely different story line from the previous games). This game, originally released for consoles in 2013 and ported to Linux in 2015, was rated very high by reviewers, with most rankings 9/10 or 10/10. The budget for the game was not disclosed by its privately-held developers, but was said to be around US$ 100 million for development and a comparable sum for promotion, larger than many major motion pictures. It has sold more than 11 million copies since its release. I learned of the game from a detailed description by James Lileks on his blog.

This review will be presented in a very eccentric manner. I will not describe the plot from an omniscient standpoint (for that, see the links above), but rather things as I encounter them. These are my notes, written in the style of a software development log or system narrative. I will post items in comments, one or more per day, time permitting, running behind my play-through of the game (providing a buffer for days I have too many other things to do). In each entry, I will provide links to an on-line play-through which will give you more details and screen grabs. There's no point in making my own, since the job has already been done superbly. There will, of course, as in any play-through, be major spoilers in the comments. I will make no effort to avoid or mark them. If you want to experience the game without any foreknowledge, don't read the comments that follow.

I am playing the game on an Xubuntu Linux system under the Steam gaming environment. I am using 1920×1080 screen resolution in “High” resolution rendering mode with “Normal” difficulty. As I am interested more in exploring this virtual world, how it is rendered, and how a visitor interacts with it than testing my prowess against the game engine, I am exploring it with the aid of play-throughs prepared by people who have made it all the way to the finish. These are guides, however, not cheats—there is substantial randomness in the game and you're on your own when the shooting starts—it's generally up to you to figure out how to defeat the assaults you'll face as you progress through the game.

This is a “first-person shooter” game: you are the protagonist and have to reach your objectives by defeating foes—human, mechanical, and supernatural—with weapons, wits, and capabilities you acquire as you pursue your quest. If you find this repellent, so be it—that's the model for many games, and it's the one adopted here. Personally, I find most of the combat episodes tedious, although it's fun learning tricks to defeat adversaries and deploying newly-acquired weapons and “vigors” (supernatural powers) against them. What is the most fun is exploring the huge, magnificently-rendered world here. The production values are equal to contemporary CGI movies, but you're not stuck in your seat munching popcorn but able to explore it at will, looking at things from various perspectives and interacting with this world you're discovering. The game is, as far as I've played it when I'm writing this, beautiful, with superbly-rendered three-dimensional models; an airy, misty ambience; and a musical track, both vintage and original, which complements the story line. There is explicit violence (although nothing which would go beyond a “PG” rating in the movies), but no obscenity or nudity (at least as far as I've played).

I should note that the credits screen includes the following acknowledgements:

This software product includes Autodesk® Beast™ software,© 2013 Autodesk, Inc., Autodesk® HumaniK® software,© 2013 Autodesk, Inc., Autodesk® Kynapse® software,© 2013 Autodesk, Inc., and Autodesk® Scaleform® software,© 2013 Autodesk, Inc.

I had no idea Autodesk was such a player in the game space, as well as CGI movies. You never know what the kids will do after they grow up and move out…. (Guys, you only need to use the “registered” or other marks on the first reference to the word.)

And here we go….

2018 July 29

Keyboard commands:

    Movement
                W
              A   D
                S

    Space       Jump
    C           Crouch (toggle)
    Left shift  Sprint
    Right shift Walk
    F           Take/Use item
    J           Play Vox

    Left mouse  Fire weapon
    Right mouse Fire vigor
    Z           Iron sights
    E           Switch weapon
    V           Mêlée
    R           Reload
    Q           Swap vigors
    1-8         Select vigor

    N           Navigation aid
    O           Gameplay menu

    Esc         Exit to control menu

Vigors:
    1           Possession
    2           Fire
    3           Crows
    4           Shock Jockey
    5           Bucking Bronco
    6           Charge
    7           Undertow
    8           Return to Sender

First run-through for familiarisation. Played through to the Fraternal Order of the Raven but missed the Lansdowne Residence getting there.

Possession vigor Passing through the fair, we stop at a booth which offers a free sample of the Possession vigor. We immediately use this to possess the machine guarding the entry to the lottery and proceed on toward it. At Raffle Square, an imprisoned couple is exhibited, we draw a baseball with the dreaded number 77, and are forced to throw it either at the couple or the barker on the stage. I throw it at the barker, but it doesn't make any difference which you choose (except for a small detail much later in the game).

Pistol Immediately after throwing the ball, we're identified as the False Prophet and attacked by police. The only weapon we have to defend ourselves at this point is the sky hook, which can be used to attack people with the V (mêlée) key. During this initial attack, one of the policemen killed will drop a pistol, which we can pick up with the F key. This will be our only weapon for a while. We pass a vending machine which allows us to upgrade the Possession vigor to possess people as well as machines. It's only $50, which we've accumulated in our searches so far, so I opt for it.

Devil's Kiss (fire) vigor Proceeding further, we're attacked by a Fireman who throws balls of fire at us. We dodge and shoot at the Fireman with the pistol and eventually he explodes. After the explosion, we find the Devil's Kiss vigor in the debris. This gives us the power to throw fireballs and set fire traps just like the Fireman.

Discovered there's no Save function. You have to play through to a major checkpoint (usually a location to explore) before it will save. I've never seen the rotating arrow it claims it displays when autosaving.

Walkthroughs:

2018 July 30

To disable Steam cloud backup of game according to this page, go to the main Steam control panel, display the name of the game, right click and select “Properties”. On the pop-up dialogue, click the “Updates” tab and uncheck “Enable Steam Cloud”. Next, within the game, go to Options->Gameplay and turn off Steam cloud. This will take effect only after you have completely exited from the game and Steam and restarted Steam.

As it turns out, Steam cloud was already disabled in Options->Gameplay, which means it probably wasn't being used even though it was enabled at the Steam level. Just to be sure, I exited the game and Steam and restarted everything.

The game save data for Bioshock Infinite appears to be in: ~/.steam/steam/userdata/890137677/8870. It is claimed that backing up and restoring this will restore the game to where you were at the time of the backup.

Added ~/bin/steamWatch to watch for changes in the Steam save directory. At present this is just an “ls -R” every 60 seconds; it should be made much smarter, including an automatic save on any change.

Here is a good guide and walkthrough. The walkthrough has chapters for each phase of the game.

Here is another complementary walkthrough. There are items in each of these which are not mentioned in the other.

Machine Gun Restarted at the Comstock Center Rooftops chapter. I'd gotten everything pretty much right before that, but after reading this walkthrough I wanted to visit the Lansdowne Residence first. Getting to the Residence across the rooftops, we have the first opportunity to use skyhooks and attack a policeman from a hook. Searching the area after the attack, we find a Machine Gun, which we add to our armament. You can carry two weapons at a time, and switch between them using the E key.

Played up to the entrance of the Fraternal Order of the Raven. This is a checkpoint, and a save occurred upon arriving there. I decided to call it a night. I got to the Lansdowne Residence by shooting out the skylight with the pistol and jumping through it to the room below.

Walkthough:

2018 July 31

I missed the Voxophone 008 and Sightseer 008 outside the Montgomery Residence rushing to get to the Order of the Raven without getting shot to pieces. I may go back there after I'm through the Raven and have returned to Lansdowne with the key to the chest.

Implemented a steamPeek.pl program to watch the save file directory. Whenever a new save is made, a message is printed to alert the user and a flashback of the save directory is made. Installed in ~/bin/steamPeek.

Picked up at the entrance of the Fraternal Order of the Raven. This time I killed all of the first floor members in the dining room and looted their corpses. Then I proceeded to the bar, collected silver, salt, and health, and then proceeded upstairs to the balcony above the meeting hall. I attacked the attendees from the balcony with the fire bomb which killed most of them, then machine gunned down the remainder who came up the stairs. Looted the corpses. I then went down into the hall, found the corpses were gone, but emptied lots of lock boxes and things found on the benches. At the altar I found an infusion and the key to the treasure chest at the Landsdowne Residence.

Murder of Crows vigor Went to the room with the elevator and went upstairs. Found the side room with the sliding bookcase and obtained the gear (magic pants with shield-enhancing properties) and goodies. Looted everything in surrounding rooms. With full shield, health, salt, and ammo, entered the door to the aviary. When attacked by Crow, I dropped fire bombs and ended up killing him with the machine gun. I got killed twice in the process of doing this, but I ended up killing him and obtaining the Murder of Crows vigor. Went back and refreshed ammo and salt from sources I'd bypassed when full.

I had a heck of a time figuring out where the back door to the Order of the Raven is and finally had to use the N key for hints—it's in the back of aviary. Went out on balcony.

Walked up to edge next to the police barge, boarded by Space W (jump, then forward), used telescope which showed the Monument Island Gateway. Jumped back onto balcony.

Used the skyhooks to go to the second balcony in the direction of the Gateway. Skyhook attacked a policeman on the balcony. Entered the apartment, killed a number of police, and collected goodies including quite a bit of money. There is Gear here (Mêlée Fire Hat). All of this exhausted my salt, so I hooked all the way back to the Order of the Raven and chased down two vials of salt I had not used (being full) whilst there. Returned via hook, stopping at the first balcony and, unopposed, collected goodies.

Hooked to the Monument Island Gateway. This opened another chapter (precluding going back to the Lansdowne Residence, which I decided was more trouble than it was worth). This made a snapshot and I decided to call it a night.

I ended up in good shape on all consumables except ammo. I may have to buy some at the vending machine before entering the Gateway.

Walkthroughs:

2018 August 4

Back after a hiatus due to system administration headaches, a new version of WordPress, and getting this month's Saturday Night Science out.

Fought my way through Monument Island Gateway, picked up goodies there, searched and looted the barge. Took the sky-line to the maintenance station, fought my way in, found the infusion, and unblocked the sky-line with the lever. Went to the police barge and eventually found the abandoned apartment where the next piece of gear was found. Took the sky-line to the terminal, found the hole in the wall and boarded the Zeppelin.

After activating the Zeppelin, it catches on fire and you have to escape through the hole in the floor to the sky-line, which takes you to the end station at Monument Tower. This is the start of the next chapter. The save is called TC_PostZepCrash.

Elizabeth Continued, got to the library and found Elizabeth. Went through Battleship Bay to the arcade. Chose the Cage. Lots of goodies to collect (I'm full) and precious little combat. Lots of great exploration. Called it a night at the save of BW_Vending.

Walkthroughs:

2018 August 5

Resumed at the Battleship Bay Arcade.

In the side room, found the Vampire's Embrace gear. From the vending machine, bought machine gun ammo to top off.

Shotgun At the ticketing office, drew weapon and triggered ambush. Fought through, exchanging pistol for captured shotgun. After battle, ticket office was closed but went around the back way, killing a couple more attackers and found the infusion. Chose increase salt capacity.

Elizabeth ran away during battle. Now must find her.

Followed Elizabeth to the gondola and activated. No loot on gondola, no fight getting to station. Collected loot on bottom level of station, went upstairs and used telescope there.

There's a not particularly useful map of Soldier's Field on the top level. We find ourselves at the entrance to Soldier's Field. This is a one way turnstile to the next chapter.

Carbine Entering Soldier's Field brings us up to snapshot BW2-0. Used the lockpick to enter the office to the left. Used infusion to increase health. Got carbine and lots of ammo. Now carrying machine gun and carbine—it has greater capacity than the shotgun. There's a safe there, but it requires 5 lockpicks. Found one in this office.

Exploring Soldier's Field boardwalk. Did not steal from ice cream shop cash register.

After activating the lever to summon the gondola, which will malfunction because we don't have Shock Jockey, we get a new checkpoint: BW_STEUsed.

Next, near the entrance to the Hall of Heroes, we find the fifth lockpick. Now we have to backtrack all the way to the Welcome Centre (including lifting the broken gate), visit the side office, and open the safe where 256 Eagles await. We now have a balance of 1119 Eagles.

On the way back to the Hall of Heroes, we stop at the Ice Cream parlour where the cash register is unguarded and steal 14 Eagles. Hardly a large haul, but it's easy money.

Taking the lift to the Hall of Heroes, we reach checkpoint BW_BottomOfLift.

Bucking Bronco vigor We obtain the Bucking Bronco vigor. Note that vigors are selected by absolute number. Bucking Bronco is 5, and we don't yet have 4. There's a safe here, but we need 5 lockpicks and have only 1. Must revisit later.

Reached the checkpoint BW_SkyhookSeige and, totally bewildered, called it a night.

The solution to the cipher is, “Tip the hat to the Vox”.

Walkthroughs:

2018 August 6

At the Hall of Heroes Plaza, went through the Fellow Traveller first, then back to the ticket office. I found and used lockpicks to enter the ticket office, found the gear. Used the vending machine to upgrade Carbine accuracy. Then proceeded to the gondola where I'd already pulled the lever to unblock the skylines. Finally made it to the Hall of Heroes, which requires several jumps between skylines and, after getting stuck, a C reverse to backtrack. Finally arrived at Hall of Heroes Museum and motion became completely stuck in front of the sign (but other keys worked). It had just saved BW_OutsideMuseum, so I exited to desktop and restarted. When it came back up, I was unstuck. This is the first clear-cut bug I've encountered.

Sniper rifle Arrived at the Hall of Heroes gondola station. Searched the gondola and found the RPG and goodies. Upon approaching the station was attacked by long-range snipers. Elizabeth threw a sniper rifle which the Z key allows you to use with a scope—very useful. Sniper rifle I also tried the RPG, but it wasn't any more useful in this encounter than the shotgun. Expended one crow attack with little effect. Finally prevailed and searched the area, finding sufficient salt, health, and ammo to restore the status quo ante. Bought a little more ammo at a Dollar Bill to top off. Finally entered the Hall of Heroes, which starts a new chapter with a checkpoint of BW3. At this point, $1408, Locks 1, everything topped off.

Fought through the Wounded Knee exhibit in the museum, reached checkpoint BW_HoH_WKDone.

Visited the Boxer Rebellion and defeated the Fireman. Obtained two more lockpicks. Returned to the main room and killed some more goons. Passed checkpoints BW_HoH_BRDone and BW_HoH_HubDone. Popped back into Wounded Knee to find some Salts I didn't need when I passed there the first time.

Shock Jockey vigor Played through the Hall of Heroes and obtained the Shock Jockey vigor. Used it twice to defeat the raven in the main hall and to zap a conduit allowing me to exit. This got me to checkpoint BW_HoH_ConduitOn. From here it's on the gondola, but there's a big battle looming. I'll call it a night here.

Walkthroughs:

2018 August 7

After returning to Soldier's Field, searched all of the stores, which were now closed, finding more money. You can manually raise the gates closing the stores. Several doors have Tesla coils next to them which you can power up with the Shock Jockey vigor and open. Inside are more gear and lockpicks. Went back to the Employees Only section of the Patriot's Pride pavilion where we now have sufficient lockpicks to open the safe, inside of which there are 256 Eagles.

Used a skyhook to get to the balcony of the hotel. This is a murder scene where you find gear, a lockpick, and another Voxophone.

A few words about using gear. When you take gear with F, you do not automatically start using it. To do that, equip it with H. The J key compares the gear in the box with that you're currently using. You can select which gear you want to use with the game play menu O, scroll to the Gear panel, scroll to the category of gear, and choose the one you wish to use.

Went to the gondola dock, used Shock Jockey to power up the control panel, pulled the lever.

This triggers an epic attack from two police sky barges. I wasn't sure at the start where the fire was coming from, then I learned to look up. Used Crows vigor, chain gun and sniper rifle, then hooked up to the left barge, eliminated one last policeman, searched corpses, and found some additional loot. After subduing the attack, went back to the plaza to look for some replacement salt and health.

Went back to the gondola, where the control room can be hairpin unlocked. Inside is a new lockpick and some Eagles. Activated the handle and the gondola takes us to the Aerodrome, where we (finally) get checkpoint BW-Aerodrome.

Added the ability to have steamPeek.pl play an audio clip every time it discovers and archives a new checkpoint. This keeps you from missing a checkpoint and playing on beyond the point you intended to stop, then having to choose between continuing to play to the next checkpoint or losing everything you've done since the last.

When you enter the aerodrome station, there's another attack which is relatively easily defeated. Searching the station we find another lockpick, salts, and an infusion. I used this one to strengthen the shield. I'm trying to balance them out.

This gets us to Finkton Docks, to checkpoint Fink.

Walkthroughs:

2018 August 8

Started out exploring Finkton Docks. Elizabeth had disappeared and now we're supposed to pursue her. There is no opposition here, and we get more lockpicks and gear. Now we start chasing Elizabeth, and she keeps disappearing through tears before we can do anything about it. At this point we get checkpoint SFink_Docks.

We have to use skylines to follow Elizabeth, and search each place we land. One time I flubbed a dismount and fell to my death. Be sure you dismount onto terra firma!

We finally get to Fort Franklin Pier and run into an epic battle with a sky barge. It has a turret which must be possessed and then destroyed before possession wears off. I finally got it by charging, possessing, and the shooting it while possessed with the volley gun. Got killed about five times getting to that point. Went back to the prison and collected the infusion there.

Following the skylines, we get to a dock and get attacked by a Handyman. This is a pure animation, but we learn that you're supposed to shoot at the heart in the middle of the chest in real combat. Finally we get to Elizabeth and she gives this screed but finally agrees to rejoin forces. In the process of this we pass checkpoints SFink_RescueLiz and SFink_LizRescued.

This is a good thing, because we next go to the Finkton Worker Induction Center and find a gondola with a locked door she can open using five of our lockpicks. There is gear and a silver bar here.

Near the entrance to the induction centre there is vending machine where we can buy three lockpicks. Next we enter the station itself and pass checkpoint Fink2.

Now we explore the top floor of the station, unopposed, collecting lockpicks, money, viewing a kinetoscope, listening to a Voxophone, and finding lots of ammo. There's a locked room (can be picked), with a safe inside with lots of money. There are also additional lockpicks.

Volley gun Next, we must descend into the lower floor of the station. Elizabeth can open the door with a hairpin, but when we get there we're fighting again. This time there's a motorised patriot we can possess and lots of cops to kill. I switched back and forth between the volley gun and sniper rifle and got killed three times before I was able to get behind the patriot while possessed and blow him away with the volley gun. Finally, when all are subdued (with very low supplies), it's time to search the area.

Hand cannon There is a safe with lots of money, various resources, and a locker with a Voxophone with a confusing message. There's also a diary in the locker that Elizabeth reads; also confusing, but we'll probably come to understand it as the story unfolds. Finally, activate the elevator which shows all kinds of 1984-style weird scenes as we descend and then stops halfway. The telephone rings and there's a message from Fink trying to recruit us to his cause. After hanging up, the elevator completes its descent and we enter a room with Flambeau who makes his pitch and then leaves. The room contains a number of resources we don't, at this point need, plus another lockpick and the Hand Cannon (first time we've seen it). Since I have accumulated plenty of ammo for it, I picked it up, replacing the volley gun. We'll see how it works before long, I'm certain.

After searching the area, proceed through the door into Finkton. This passes checkpoint SFink_Hub01A where I called it quits for today.

Walkthroughs:

2018 August 9

Vigors used in combination (one after another with the same target) have greater power than simple addition. For example, if you launch crows at a group of adversaries and then send Shock Jockey to the same area, the crows will become electrified and electrify the enemies they attack. Here is a guide to vigor combinations.

It's also important to know to which vigors the various enemies are vulnerable. Here are guides for common and powerful enemies.

Entered the Plaza of Zeal, searched area to the right, including inside a clock shop which took one lockpick to open. Collected lots of ammunition and money and topped up all expendables.

Continuing to search, walked past a security zone and was attacked by cops and two turrets. The hand cannon works really well on turrets! Possess them, then blow them away while they're still green. You'll get a warning not to attack your allies. But they're only your allies while possessed, which isn't for long! Waste the suckers while they're still green. This brought us to the SFink_HubTHunt checkpoint.

Hooked to search roofs above buildings around the square. Found more ammo and, most importantly, a volley gun on the roof above Chen Lin's gun shop. Finally, entered and searched the gun shop and, after searching the top floor descended and encountered Lady Lin, who told us Lin has been abducted and can be found at the Good Time Club (which we've passed on several occasions during the search). On reaching the bottom floor of the gun shop, where I found some money I'd overlooked before, we got to the SFink_GunShop checkpoint. Left the gun shop to the outer annex and got the SFink_FinktonHub checkpoint. Now it's off to the Good Time Club.

On the way to the Good Time Club was attacked by a Handyman. I used the Crows plus Fire vigor, which stunned him and then took shots to the heart with the volley gun. Got killed twice before I was able to make the hit. After killing him, got new gear (which I took but did not start to use, as the one I have now seems better) and a lockpick.

There was no further resistance in the plaza, so I continued to search, replenishing consumables to the top. I finally found the tailor shop and collected the lockpick there. There was a vigor vending machine in the entry to the tailor shop, and I upgraded the damage for the fire vigor, using about half of my cash.

Finally, entered the Good Time Club. This made the SFink_GoodClub checkpoint, where I decided to hang it up for today, since there's apparently a huge battle coming as soon as you walk further into the club. As I enter the club, I'm carrying the sniper rifle and volley gun with near full ammo for both.

Walkthrough:

2018 August 10

Entered the Good Time Club and encountered the all-aspect attack I was expecting. There was a Fireman, lots of police, a Motorised Patriot, and after all were defeated, a Crow. After getting killed around seven times I defeated them all and ran squarely into what I have to consider a bug in the game engine. I had defeated all of the adversaries and looted their corpses, but the doors which were supposed to open after I vanquished them all remained blocked. After wasting the better part of an hour trying to find a way into these places, I gave up and restarted the game from the SFink_GoodClub01 checkpoint. Immediately I had to fight through the attackers again but, this time, after prevailing, the doors were open. I can't see this as anything other than a bug. This is the second bug I've encountered, the first being the freeze on 2018-08-06 in front of the sign at the Hall of Heroes. In both cases, restarting from the last checkpoint fixed the problem. In this case, however, the restart required re-fighting a major battle.

I found the Hand Cannon very useful in dealing with the Mechanised Patriot. Possess him to gain the opportunity to shoot the mechanism from behind and then it's a one shot kill. Blowing away the head may buy you five or ten seconds to get behind and finish the job but no more.

After getting through this very tedious battle, I searched the side rooms that opened up, collecting lockpicks and an infusion, which I used to increase salt capacity. Found and opened a safe with almost 200 Eagles, which were welcome since I'd spent so many upgrading the fire vigor yesterday.

Collected gear in the room with the fireplace. This one is marginally more interesting than the one I had, so I equipped it.

Now we descend into the prison. We find a locked room (Elizabeth can open it with a hairpin) containing the codebook for the Vox cipher we've recently seen. Moving on and checking out the cells, we find Slate, who we spared back in the Hall of Heroes. He is non-responsive.

We open another cell which requires five lockpicks and find a dead prisoner but more gear.

Finally, we get to cell number nine. As we descend into it, we reach checkpoint SFink_GoodClubD. It has been two hours since the last checkpoint! This is not good gameplay design, folks, especially since one of those hours was wasted due to a bug in the scenario.

Having finally reached a checkpoint, I close today's narrative, unsure when I'll take it up again. Checkpoints should be around every half hour, not unpredictable from ten minutes to two hours.

Walkthroughs:

2018 August 11

(It was actually early August 12 UTC when I got back to finish this chapter, but let's call it August 11 UTC, which it is.)

Well, this just got a lot more interesting. After yesterday's adventures I descended into the prison toward Chen Lin's cell and found him dead. Upon examining the corpse, The Lutece brother and sister appeared and explained that in an alternative reality he was still alive. Elizabeth opened a tear into that reality and we entered it. As we enter the alternative reality, we pass checkpoint GoodClub02.

Alternative reality doesn't just change one thing. The prison, which was almost empty when we explored it going down was now filled with oppressed people and victims of tyranny. There are lots of new loot to find that wasn't there before, and enemies we'd killed who need to be killed again, plus there are new enemies to be defeated. None of these are the kind of epic combat we endured yesterday (no super-villains). The sniper rifle works very well in these encounters. The adversaries don't aim well and there's usually plenty of time for an aimed shot to the centre of mass or head. Also, always launch crows against massed opponents and, if you have the salts, follow up with fire.

Finally made it back to the Plaza of Zeal where we expect another major battle. After having been beat up by WordPress and everything else today, I'll defer that to the morrow. We close the day with checkpoint SFink_FinktonHub.

I need to replenish salts and health. I may need to go back into the Good Time Club to find resources I didn't need at the time before venturing into the tree chipper.

Walkthrough:

2018 August 12

I was running low on salts and health so I went back into the Good Time Club to look for them. This is a chapter change and checkpoint, but doesn't take you back. I found salts to top up to 100% but no health. Went back out to Plaza of Zeal, another chapter change and checkpoint. Was immediately attacked, as expected, and fought off attackers with sniper rifle and volley gun. Since we're in an alternative reality, some things we defeated before, such as the automated turret, are now back and had to be possessed and blown away with the volley gun again. After suppressing the first attack, explored the plaza and found some ammo, money, and salts. On the wharf there was a tear with health kits on the other side, so I was able to top up health.

From the wharf, I went back to the clock shop where I solved the puzzle of the clock and got another infusion and Voxophone. The grandfather clock tells you how to set the clock on the wall to open the hidden safe.

Now we proceed to Chen Lin's workshop (checkpoint SFink_GunShop) where the shrine to Buddha has transformed into a shrine to Comstock in this reality. Upstairs, we meet a ghostly Chen Lin who seems obsessed with the sound and danger of machines. Going back downstairs we meet Mrs Lin who is now an occidental. She tells us Chen Lin has been driven insane by having his machines confiscated and taken to the Shantytown Police Impound. So, it's off to there. When you leave the gun shop, there's a checkpoint of SFink_FinktonHub.

(The fact that you can force a checkpoint by entering and leaving particular venues is useful to know. If you need to put the game down and not lose your progress and you've passed through one of these gates recently, just go back and forth through it to cause a save to the present point.)

I had the opportunity to pick up an RPG dropped by one of the police I killed in the earlier battle. This came in handy when attacked by more cops on the way to Shantytown. It isn't elegant, but it gets the job done. When you enter Shantytown, there's checkpoint SFink_ShantyTop. There's an office before the elevator that takes you to Shantytown where you find some goodies and a lockpick and you get to see a new vigor behind bars. We haven't yet acquired the ability to unlock it.

When you take the elevator down to Shantydown, you reach checkpoint Fink3. The ambience of Shantytown is like nothing we've seen before. This is where Columbia hides its gritty underside. We pick up some lockpicks, then get attacked by a bunch of locals who can be dealt with with crows and the sniper rifle. Didn't even get killed once! Picked up another infusion they were guarding and applied it to increasing maximum health.

Vox Repeater Proceeded on to the Graveyard Shift bar. On the way, there's an opportunity to pick up a Repeater rifle. Thinking it better suited to inside work, I exchanged the RPG for it. I'm now carrying my trusty sniper rifle and it.

Entering the Graveyard Shift takes us to checkpoint SFink_ShanHub02 where I'll call it a night and go out to look for Perseids.

Clouded out! Let's proceed through Shantytown.

In the Graveyard Shift, I scavenged but did not steal. I do not steal from active agents—it's wrong, and they tend to shoot back.

Went down to the basement, played the guitar, and collected the keys we'll need later.

After leaving the bar, we find a bunch of beggars smashing open a vending machine for the money. We can open a tear to a pile of food which will distract them while we collect the money. Upon entering the plaza after the bar, we pass checkpoint SFink_ShanHub01.

Now we proceed to the Bull House impound and encounter fierce resistance including turrets and a Mechanized Patriot. I might have been wiser to have been carrying something more potent than the sniper rifle. I used up all of my salts and most of my ammo, but by hooking to different firing positions managed to take them all down. There are tears which can provide med kits to restore health.

You can use sky-lines to get from point to point in the area. Some of them have useful things including a Voxophone.

Finally we arrive at the police precinct where we pass checkpoint SFink_Lockup01. Now I'm really out here for today.

Walkthroughs:

2018 August 13

When you find loot, you're told when Salt or a particular kind of ammo is full, but you're never told when you're already at 100% health. (This limit increases as the game progresses and you find infusions and use them to increase maximum health.) When finding food, be sure to check the health bar at the top left and if it's full, skip taking the food. That way it will still be around later if you're in need of restoring health after a battle.

Occasionally you'll encounter rotten fruit which does nothing but decrease health. I presume this is a trap for people who blindly hit F to take everything they discover.

Started today's adventure inside the police station. Searched the office in the entryway and found the lockpick and Kinetoscope. As you approach the door to the interior, there's a tear you can open to obtain cover. I turned it on but never had need for it.

Crank gun Lots of cops attack (it's a police station, after all). Being police, they're pretty easy to defeat, but that's just the warm-up as a Mechanised Patriot soon appears. I tried my usual trick of possession and running around the back to shoot the gears, but every time I wasn't fast enough to take the shot before the possession wore off. I blew off its head and finally killed it with frontal shots. It dropped a crank gun which I picked up.

Then you enter the main hall on the ground floor. There you'll be attacked by more cops. After defeating and looting them, searches of the ground floor turn up more lockpicks and an infusion in a chest which can be opened with the keys we found in the basement of the Graveyard Shift bar.

Going upstairs, we find a tear which provides access to medical kits. This allows topping off health, which was seriously depleted. Elsewhere, there is a locked room which requires 5 lockpicks to enter. In it, we find another infusion and gear. I took, but did not equip, the gear. The two infusions were used for salt capacity and shield strength, respectively. There are more lockpicks to be found on this floor.

Returning to the ground floor, we revisit the room with the safe and now it contains a bunch of silver Eagles and a silver bar.

Descending toward the basement, we get a glimpse of Chen Lin's tools locked up in the impound. At the bottom level there are jail cells, one of which contains a dead woman and a lockpick. As we enter the basement we pass checkpoint SFink_Lockup02.

Vox Burstgun There are other things to explore on this level and some supplies. Finally, as we approach the tools, we see a tear in which the room is empty. This is apparently another alternative reality in which Chen Lin's tools were never seized. We walk through the portal and find the storeroom which previously contained the tools is now full of seized Vox weapons which, if we wish, we can take. But the Burstgun doesn't seem more capable than what I already have and ammo is much harder to come by, so I gave them a pass.

Now, since we're in alternative reality, we need to re-explore the police station. All we find is a new Voxophone on a desk on the way back upstairs. As we proceed to the door of the police station, there are explosions and impacts from outside we can hear.

Exiting the police station passes checkpoint SFink_ShanHub01. (Note that these checkpoint names are re-used, but each save file is distinguished by the time and date of the save. I don't know if a Continue is done from a single save file or whether it requires them all.)

Walking outside, we encounter a new phenomenon: a pitched battle in which nobody is shooting at us! Vox, who in this reality are armed, are fighting with police. We can search corpses and may get fired upon by automated turrets, but neither side attacks us. I tried to use the sky-lines to hop to the other side of Shantytown and avoid the battle, but I'm sufficiently lame at navigating them I kept ending back up where I started. I ended up going overland, finally reaching the other side of the square where, outside the Graveyard Shift, people are having their pictures taken with a blown up Handyman. There's a Voxophone there.

Entering the bar takes us through checkpoint SFink_ShanHub02. There's another Voxophone inside and some supplies. Once again, I refrained from stealing things behind the bar. I topped up health from a Dollar Bill.

Then it's just a matter of returning to the elevator and leaving Shantytown back to the Plaza of Zeal in Finkton. Walking through Shantytown shows how different this reality is: there are corpses of defeated police everywhere, the residents are armed, and posters of Booker DeWitt celebrating him as a hero of Vox are on the walls. Booker begins to vaguely remember his part in the revolt.

Charge vigor When we take the elevator back to Finkton, we pass checkpoint Fink3. There we find the storage room we saw before with the Charge vigor, whose bars have now been blown away in the conflict. We drink the vigor, which confers great power in mêlée conflict. The direct key to select the vigor is 6.

Exiting to the plaza, we pass checkpoint Fink2. There is a battle underway in the plaza and this time they're gunning for us. These are soldiers, not cops, who shoot better and have better armour. There is an automated turret we must take out. This was a difficult battle, and I used up all of my Repeater ammo. I used hooks to evade part of it and get to Chen Lin's workshop. Entering it passes checkpoint SFink_ShantyTop. (Where do they get these names? Beats me!)

Inside both Chen Lin and Lady Lin are dead in this reality. There's a Voxophone on the table. I'm running pretty low on supplies and am out of ammo on one of the weapons I'm carrying so I'd have liked to enter the weapons shop to look for supplies, but the door was blocked by steel wheels which were presumably debris from the battle.

Leaving the gun shop anteroom passes checkpoint SFink_ToFactory. Now we're to proceed to the factory, but it's here I decided that was enough for today. We could be in better shape here: Salts are around 50% and Health 75%. Money is $1211 and we have 22 lockpicks. It's said we'll have opportunities to replenish in the near future, but that's supposed to be after a battle. We'll see.

We're currently carrying a Volley Gun and a Vox Repeater. If I come across a Sniper Rifle or Hand Cannon I may want to trade in the Repeater, as it will be difficult to reload.

In the process of today's events, unlocked the “Armed Revolt” achievement. That's just 10 out of 80 achievements and, in terms of chapters, we're well beyond the half way point (24/40).

Walkthroughs:

2018 August 14

Resumed inside the entry to the gun shop. Crossed the street to the locked door on the other side of the street. Vox partisans are engaged in combat there and one eventually breaks the lock so we can enter. As we proceed toward the factory, there's another battle which is eventually joined by a Mechanised Patriot. We can open a tear to a rocket automaton which will help defeat it. There are a lot of salts here and a tear which opens up to multiple med kits. There are additional police to deal with as you approach the factory gate.

Once they are subdued, all Hell breaks loose and it isn't immediately obvious where it's coming from. It turns out a Zeppelin has pulled up to the side of the platform leading to the factory gate (to the left as you're looking back from the gate). At this point we pass checkpoint SFink_ToFactoryZep.

The source of all the bother is a robotic rocket cannon mounted on the belly of the Zeppelin. You cannot destroy this from the ground with any weapon or vigor and it cannot be possessed. All you'll accomplish trying is to use up all your ammo and salts. This is a particularly bad idea given what's coming.

The only way to silence the cannon is to destroy the entire airship. To do this, you have to get on board, which requires hooking to the skyline from the platform near the factory gate, making a transfer to another skyline, then waiting until it brings you near enough to jump aboard. I found the skyline connection at random. You have just an instant to dismount onto the Zeppelin platform. I remain totally lame at this skyline business—things just happen too fast and I'm usually looking in the wrong direction.

Once on board, there are guards and a robotic turret to deal with. At this point, I was armed only with the shotgun and machine gun, since I'd run out of ammo for anything more powerful and I couldn't find an RPG in the plaza. The usual trick of possess the turret, approach it, and shoot from close range works here. When you enter the main part of the gondola, you're attacked by a few police who are easily dealt with, and then a Mechanised Patriot who isn't. You don't seem to be able to kill one of those suckers with either the machine gun or shotgun regardless of how many times you shoot the gear on its back or how accurate your aim.

I got killed five times trying to deal with the Patriot, and this is extraordinarily frustrating because each time you're resuscitated you're back at the entrance to the plaza, so you have to run the gauntlet of the plaza (where the Zeppelin continues to fire rockets which can kill you, but it doesn't seem to be particularly aiming, so it's a matter of luck whether you get hit), then hook to the skyline, find the magic transfer, and finally dismount at just the right time to get back aboard. I spent the better part of an hour getting through this until I finally killed the Patriot. The secret was noticing that in the bow of the gondola there's an RPG just sitting there. I had plenty of RPG ammo, so once I had that I could use it on the Patriot's back, which did the job in one shot. With the Zeppelin now pacified, I searched it for resources, finding a sniper rifle with which I replaced the shotgun. So far, as long as I have ammo for both, I like the combination of the rifle for reaching out and touching adversaries and the RPG for general mayhem. The only disadvantage of the RPG is that you can't carry all that many shots, so you have to pick them carefully.

After collecting everything on board, I proceeded to the engine in the back of the gondola where there a bunch of wires you can cut with the attach hook (the game tells you about this as you approach the engine). Once you cut the wires, the Zeppelin will begin to fall. (Why? Airships don't need the engine to maintain altitude—that's what the big gasbag is for.) Anyway, what you're supposed to do is immediately leave the gondola and wait on the platform outside until a skyline passes as you fall, then attach and escape back to the plaza when it takes you over a suitable landing point.

I was outside on a platform (you have to choose one), and I never saw a skyline pass until I was killed in the Zeppelin crash. When resuscitated, I was pleased to see that the Zeppelin was now destroyed and that I was able to proceed to the factory. I searched the plaza again and restored consumables from what I found.

Entering the gate to the factory, we find more supplies. There is a telescope at the top of the stairs, just before you're about to open the door to the factory itself. Opening that door passes checkpoint Fink4, where I stopped for today.

At this point I'm at 100% on health and salts, have $1037 and 22 lockpicks, and am carrying the sniper rifle and RPG with reasonable (but not full) ammo for both. This was not a big day for collecting things, and I'm in about the same shape as I started the session, but better armed and with the Zeppelin and two dead Patriots behind me.

Walkthroughs:

2018 August 15

When we enter the factory, we find lots of loot including gear which seems useful (full restoration of health after reincarnation). There are lockpicks and ammo and lots of corpses to search. Finally we make it to an elevator which, while rising, shows remarkable scenes of things we've encountered previously being manufactured in the Fink factory.

The elevator stops halfway and a phone in the cabin rings. It's Daisy Fitzroy, who says that the Booker DeWitt who was a hero of the Vox was killed and replaced by an enemy, me, and that Vox is now sworn to destroy him. Having been warned, we proceed upward as the elevator resumes rising. When we reach the top level, we pass checkpoint SFink_FactTop. Starting at this point, we should assume any Vox we encounter are enemies, not allies.

After killing some Vox, we find more Gear in a side room and a Voxophone near a blackboard with a sketch of the Songbird automaton. It's Fink speaking of the merger of man and machine. We we enter the office of the factory, we pass another checkpoint, SFink_FactOffice. This was, as I played it, only a minute past the last one. There's no knowing the time until the next one. Somebody who develops a checkpoint/restore at a low level for this game environment will be a hero to busy and distracted players (and no, signals TSTP and CONT don't work—I've tried them).

Undertow vigor There is a safe in this room with lots of loot around it, including the first gold bar we've encountered. We now have more than 2000 Eagles for the first time. There are also more lockpicks. Finally, near the door to leave the room, we find the Undertow vigor. This brings distant enemies closer or (hold right mouse) allows seizing them and casting them into the void. It has direct select key 7.

Now we have to hairpin unlock the door to the outside. We soon find ourselves in a battle with enemies firing from an adjacent sky barge and dropping in from sky-lines. Then a Fireman joins the fun and must be dispatched by a combination of vigors (I used shock and crows) and the handy-dandy RPG. I eventually used the sky-line to land on the barge and eliminate the remaining resistance. There are some supplies there.

There's a Tesla coil on the platform, which we can activate through a tear. This gives us, if we stay close to it, power which we'll need because, before long, we'll be attacked by a Handyman. The Handyman can appear anywhere. He can be stunned by Shock or Fire, but the RPG or sniper rifle seems ineffective even if you aim carefully at the heart. I finally picked up a Repeater dropped by a Vox I'd dispatched earlier, and it did the trick. You're supposed to find gear after killing a Handyman, but I found nothing after searching the remains. There's a telescope near the Tesla coil. You get points for using it, but, as usual, there's nothing interesting to see.

After all of this action, we proceed to Fink's office where, we see, through wire-reinforced glass, Daisy Fitzroy threatening a young white boy with a pistol. We boost Elizabeth up to enter a ventilation shaft, then pound on the glass to distract Daisy. When she turns in our direction, Elizabeth drops from overhead and kills Daisy with scissors. She says it's in her nature. OK, Liz, we've learned something new about you.

As we leave Fink's office we pass checkpoint SFink_FirstLady, which is where I decided to hang it up for tonight. I still haven't had a chance to effectively use the Undertow vigor. I now have $2016, 30 lockpicks, am carrying the sniper rifle and RPG and using the newly-acquired “Fit as a Fiddle” gear which restores health after reincarnation along with the “Scavenger's Vest” where enemies you kill have an increased probability of bearing ammo when you search their corpses.

Walkthrough:

2018 August 16

Right before opening the door that leads to the First Lady's Airship, there's a door to a room containing Fink's body and a Voxophone. An adjoining room is the one we looked into from outside which contains an infusion. I used to increase maximum health.

When you enter the airship there are a few things to collect and a locked door. You pound on the door but nothing immediately happens. Then you can proceed to the control panel of the airship, set a course, and set off toward Emporia. There's a flyby by the Big Bird, and we change course again. Elizabeth reappears, having come out of the room with the door you knocked on. She looks in better shape than previously and more elegant. There are a few more encounters with the Bird. When we arrive in Emporia, we encounter the Lutece brother and sister, the latter of whom is playing a player piano. The brother hands us a card with plans for the Bird.

Pushing aside the piano opens up the way to a plaza outside the dock and brings us to checkpoint Emp. On the plaza we see citizens fleeing Columbia boarding a sky barge and being forced to leave their baggage behind to get everybody on board. Naturally, we loot all the unattatended and abandoned luggage. We're able to pretty much top off everything. Leaving the environs of the gondola, we cross a bridge and come under attack by Vox, who have a Fireman on their side. One of them is armed with a grenade launcher. We're able to summon a Mosquito through a tear and use it to wipe out some of the opposition. Finally, I manage to blow away the Fireman with the RPG and use crows against the grenadier and then waste him with the RPG.

Vox Hail Fire With things now quiet, I was very low on health and salts, so I went back across the bridge and picked up resources I'd bypassed the first time because I was full-up. Looting the corpses of the Vox yields lots of Vox ammo. I exchanged my sniper rifle and RPG, both of which were very low on ammo for a Vox Repeater and Hail Fire.

Outside the station there's an overturned baggage cart with another lockpick. The station door can be opened with a hairpin. We cross checkpoint EMP_PianoScene somewhere in the previous events. I don't recall precisely where, but it was only 7 minutes after Emp.

Inside the station, there is a locked door (3 picks), inside of which there's another infusion, which I applied to salts capacity. Back in the main hall, we summon a hook with a tear and use it to get to a maintenance platform where we find some ammo and another lockpick.

Vox Heater There are corpses in the station from which we obtain lots of Vox ammo. Proceeding to the gondola dock outside, we meet several more Vox which are reasonably easily dealt with. I was unimpressed with the Hail Fire, so I exchanged it for a Heater one was carrying. I have lots of Heater ammo.

Approaching gondola platform summons a massive Vox attack, accompanied by their own Motorised Patriot. Fortunately, we can summon our own through a tear, and it helps somewhat. There is also a turret near the gondola which we can summon but I never used it. I had to do the usual trick of possessing the Vox Patriot then shooting it in the back with the Heater.

At the end of this battle I was almost zeroed out on health and salts, so I began to search corpses and resources around the gondola. I jumped onto the gondola and opened a hairpin lock to its control cabin. This took me past checkpoint EMP_Funicular.

This put me in a funny position, since I haven't finished searching the other side of the platform. I assumed the checkpoint would be when I started the gondola to go to the next chapter, but with this game you never know. I don't want to continue tonight, so tomorrow I'll begin by going back and searching the rest of the platform before proceeding back to the gondola and further on. There's a sniper rifle and ammo in the control cabin and a hand cannon in the other end of the gondola.

We end the session with $2284, 30 lockpicks, and carrying the crank gun and heater.

Walkthrough:

2018 August 17

We resume near the gondola at checkpoint EMP_Funicular. Searching the right side of the platform reveals a telescope and some goodies. I was low on salts and health, so I went back into station and pretty much topped things up. I exchanged the heater for a shotgun I found in the station—it's easier to find ammo for it. Returning to the gondola, I exchanged the crank gun for the hand cannon there.

Pulling the lever takes us on a gondola ride to the station at Port Prosperity. On the rise we encounter the Lutece twins and learn that the sister was the one who invented the quantum flapdoodle that makes everything float in the air.

We find some supplies and proceed toward the ticket office where we meet two Vox. The Hand Cannon makes quick work of them. There's a ticket office to the left with some supplies, a desk containing salt (which we don't need at this point) and a lockpick. But you can't pick up the lockpick! In the same office there's a safe which requires three lockpicks. After opening the safe and taking the 150 or so Eagles inside, now you can pick up the lockpick on the desk. It looks like there's a limit of 30 on how many lockpicks you can carry and that once you reach the limit you can't pick up any more. You'd think that when you tried to pick up a lockpick and were at the limit you'd get a red “Full” indication as for anything else, but no.

There is a lot of money to be had searching the station—more than we've ever encountered before. Outside the ticket office there's another lockpick and a Voxophone. There's another ticket office on the other side of the corridor. This one has another safe with around the same amount of money inside and, also requires three lockpicks. There are supplies at various places in the office and its back room.

Proceeding further into the station, we come to the Salty Oyster bar and restaurant. This requires three lockpicks to enter. After entering, we're attacked by three policeman who are no match for the Hand Cannon. Searching the place, we find one replacement lockpick. Under one of the tables, there's another piece of Gear which I took but didn't equip since it didn't seem better than the one I already had. In the back of the bar there's a Kinetoscope and two bathrooms. In the back bathroom there's an RPG and ammo. I was already full of ammo, but replaced the crank gun with the RPG. I just love that thing, and it doesn't have the start-up delay before the first shot that the crank gun has.

After all of this I was as flush with cash as I'd ever been (more than $3000), so I visited a Minuteman's Armory vending machine I came across and upgraded the Hand Cannon (increase damage and decrease reload time) and RPG (increase damage). This brought my balance down to around $1750 but, given what was to come, seems in retrospect a wise investment.

Leaving the ground floor of the station, we walk into a battle. There are police and a Fireman. Finally managed to defeat them, expending several RPG rounds. There was nothing really new about this—mostly tedious. Around this point, I was hoping that after subduing them I'd come to a checkpoint; I was approaching the one hour point.

No such luck.

I had seriously depleted my ammo, so I went back to the Salty Oyster where I'd left some RPG ammo in the toilets because when I passed that way the first time I was full up. I also found some Hand Cannon ammo along the way, but not enough to completely top up.

Now we go up another flight of stairs and right into another, larger fight. There are a large number of Vox, multiple Firemen, and a Mechanised Patriot. On this level there is a Tesla coil you can summon with a tear. I learned how you use these. Simply take up a position near the coil and many attackers who try to approach you will be zapped and stunned (but not necessarily killed). This can buy time to aim and shoot them or use vigors on them. It does not help with those who attack you from a distance, however, which the Firemen and Patriot do. The Vox were eliminated relatively quickly, but the Firemen and Patriot took a lot of Possession and RPG action to deal with, as well as getting killed around six times.

At this point we're an hour and a half into game play without a checkpoint, but there's one more nasty surprise waiting. After you've finally killed the Patriot and the action music has stopped, you discover (if you're running steamPeek, as you should) that the EMP_Station checkpoint has just been made. Fine, you think, that makes sense—just after the big battle. But when you resume from that checkpoint, you're in the middle of the battle with the last Patriot and you have to kill him all over again! The only other alternative is to continue to play to the next checkpoint, heaven knows how far that may be (so far we've seen them anywhere from seven minutes to an hour and a half apart). I honestly do not understand what the game designers were trying to accomplish here other than irritate their customers. Once the player has accomplished something, why make them repeat it just because they may have other things to do with their life?

We end up with $1944 and 25 lockpicks and seriously depleted consumables. I'm hoping we'll be able to replenish them after killing the Patriot (again) and searching the area. But this is more than enough for today.

Walkthrough:

2018 August 18

Resumed at the EMP_Station checkpoint and, as I described yesterday, had to kill the Patriot once again. This is the fourth time I've killed that same Patriot, the last two because I simply couldn't believe they put the checkpoint there and had to confirm it.

That buys a bit of peace, so it's time to search all the areas we've been fighting through. I managed to find health and salts to restore losses from the battles. Searching an office to the right of the Comstock statue yields a lockpick and money.

There's also an office to the left of the statue, and this one has a safe (3 lockpicks) and, in a storage room to the back, a Voxophone. We're learning more about the Lutece field and parallel realities.

Now we go up another flight of stairs and there's a gate with a hairpin lock. Opening it triggers an attack from two Vox snipers who were quickly subdued with crows and the RPG. They were firing from a balcony which you can only get to via a hook. It's worth exploring there, as the corpses and containers yield useful things.

After searching this level, we enter the bookstore, which requires one lockpick. On the counter there is gear: the Hill Runner's Hat. I took it, but did not equip it. There's another Voxophone on the counter next to the stuffed bear. Now we get into quantum entanglement communication across parallel universes—where have I heard this before?

Descending the stairs into the reading room triggers another Vox attack. This one is sneaky. You're attacked from the stairs in the bookstore and that one is easily dealt with, but what you don't know is that more are now waiting outside. For the moment, you can explore the reading room where you find a Voxophone which tells you about the button below the cash register in the Salty Oyster, which we visited before the big battle.

When you leave the bookstore (or even approach its door), you will be attacked by Vox, and they keep coming at you as you search the area to top up consumables. Just when you think you've got the last one, you go down another flight of stairs and they're at you again. Finally, we make it back to the Salty Oyster.

Return to Sender vigor Inside, to the left and below the cash register, a brass button has appeared. (It's not obvious at first glance.) Pushing it opens a secret door to the left as you're standing behind the register. Inside this room is an infusion which I used to increase shield capacity and the Return to Sender vigor. This vigor has direct select code 8, and completes the suite of vigors—we now have them all. This room also contains some cash, lockpicks, and another Voxophone.

Fortunately, the Vox seems to have stopped bothering us, so I spent some time exploring regions we'd passed through to top up consumables. I also found quite a bit of money which didn't seem to be there the first time I passed through. I managed to top up Hand Cannon and RPG ammo.

Since I was now once again feeling flush with cash, when I passed a Minuteman's Armory I purchased the 25% damage increase upgrades for the Hand Cannon, RPG and Sniper Rifle.

Returning to the top level of the station we pass through a one-way turnstile and (finally) reach checkpoint EMP_Turnstiles. This was more than enough for one day, thanks.

We end up with $1778 and 26 lockpicks, still carrying the Hand Cannon and RPG with everything topped up.

Walkthroughs:

2018 August 19

We start on the other side of the turnstile. There is some loot here, and then we proceed to an elevator which requires an access code. When you press the button to summon the elevator, it tells you the access code is required and Elizabeth says she doesn't know how to pick such things. Go back and there's a pile of books on the counter nearest the door. These books weren't active before, but now that you've called the elevator you can push them aside and find the key written on a pad of paper below them. Go back to the elevator, which will now work and take us to Downtown Emporia. When we arrive there, we pass checkpoint EMP2. Continuing the gross inconsistency in checkpoint times, this one was no more than five minutes since the last, EMP_Turnstiles.

As soon as you arrive in Emporia and walk up to the platform, you're attacked by Vox, cops, and a Handyman. The Vox are shooting from barges, balconies, and dropping onto the platform from the skyline. They keep shooting at you and distract from attacking the Handyman. I finally shocked and stunned the Handyman and got in a kill shot with the RPG. As always, when you kill a Handyman, you get new gear. I took but did not equip this one.

Now I set off to explore Emporia. I started by taking the skyline and dropping off at various places. I did not explore in anything like the order of the walkthroughs below. When I entered the lobby of the Prophet's Bank, I hit another checkpoint, EMP_BankExterior, just 15 minutes since EMP2. Great, I thought—maybe there are lots of checkpoints here so you can explore in any order and come back when you like. This was not to be.

For much of the time I was essentially lost. Every now and then (far too infrequently for my taste) you encounter a “you are here” map, but there are so many twisty-windies and ups and downs it's easy to become disoriented. As you wander, there are several set piece battles you walk into, some involving Patriots, Firemen, Vox, and snipers. But as you search alleyways and buildings, there is also isolated resistance. This comes as a surprise but they are generally not as difficult to defeat as the mass attacks.

I found an infusion, which I used to increase health capacity.

We find two Voxophones with confusing messages relating to the Comstocks. Two gear packages were found, “Blood to Salt” and “Shock Jacket”. I equipped the former. When you kill an adversary at close range, 40% of the time your salts increase. I used a lot of ammo in the various battles but managed to find replacements. The basement of the rebel bar, after you've subdued the resistance, is a treasure trove of ammo. Emporia much be a rich place. There's lots of money to be had, even on corpses you search.

Finally, we come to the Comstock house. At the gate there is a palm print reader. Elizabeth places her palm on the reader and it says something like, “So nice to see you, Lady Comstock, especially since you've been dead 19 years.” Now we must go off to the Memorial Gardens to, I dunno, find Lady Comstock's hand? Anyway, mercifully, at this point we passed checkpoint EMP_Airlock1 and after around two hours I get to put this down for today.

We end up with $3336 and 24 lockpicks, still carrying the Hand Cannon and RPG, both with almost full ammo and health and salts topped up.

Walkthroughs:

2018 August 20

We're off to find the corpse, the hideous corpse of Lady Comstock!

We proceed to the left with the gate of Comstock House at our back and encounter another telescope. This one is balky, but when it finally decides to work it, as usual, shows nothing interesting. Along the alley that leads to Memorial Gardens there are interconnected open shops to the left. There are money, supplies and a lockpick there, the Ammo Cap gear, which provides 40% probability of auto-fill of a magazine without reloading (I equipped it), and a safe which, opened with three lockpicks, yields more than 200 Eagles.

Proceeding to the cemetery (all of this is unopposed), we search the place and the many corpses there, some of which are carrying substantial amounts of money and ammo. We find another lockpick. There is a tear behind which is a Crank Gun. I exchange the RPG for it, continuing to carry the Hand Cannon for up close and personal persuasion. Beneath an archway, there's another tear with medical kits. We don't need them right now, but it's nice to know they're there. We pass two adjacent graves with “Lutece” headstones: what's that all about? There is an open suitcase near one with a tennis racket and other items on top.

Eventually we approach Lady Comstock's crypt and see her inside, in a sealed glass coffin, but the gate is barred by a shimmering lock we can't open. The trick is to go to an adjacent crypt we examined before and found also barred by a gate. But on either side of the gate are torches which can be lit by using the fire (“Devil's Kiss”) vigor on them. This opens the crypt and inside we collect gear: this time the Bullet Boon which increases magazine size on all weapons by 50%. This is great, but I'll defer equipping it until I'm in a place where there's ammo available.

Return to Lady Comstock's tomb, a tear has now appeared in the lock and Elizabeth can open it. We proceed inside to Lady Comstock's coffin. She looks perfectly preserved, so all we need to do is open it up, saw off her hand, and away we go. Elizabeth seems to have no problems with this—just not that into Mom, I guess.

Around the back of the coffin there's a padlock we can open. The moment the coffin is opened, all Hell breaks loose. Lady Comstock's corpse evaporates and a wraith appears, berates Elizabeth and seems to envelop her in some kind of spectral discharge, then flies out the door. Elizabeth seems unharmed by this.

The moment we step outside the crypt, Hell's-a-poppin'. Lady Comstock's ghost appears to have the ability to raise the dead and turn them into heavily-armed zombies. Just about the worst place you want to see a demonstration of this is in a cemetery, but here we are. There's little point wasting ammo on the zombies—you may avert an imminent attack but they're just resurrected and come back at you. What you have to do is kill the ghost, and that isn't easy.

The ghost is a bit like the Crow—you can only attack it when it materialises, and only high powered weapons work. Your best bet is to keep the zombies at bay with vigors (which neutralise them for a period of time) and wait for the ghost to appear nearby, then blast away. I used up all of my crank gun ammo on the ghost, inflicting some non-fatal damage and finally nailed her at close range with the trusty Hand Cannon. Once you've dispatched the ghost, the zombies cease hostilities. Their corpses yield no loot.

After this battle is over, we hear voices and find the Lutece twins at the graves, apparently digging their own graves. They conduct another of their enigmatic conversations as we overhear them. Salt, health, and ammo were severely depleted in the fight, so I made another pass around the cemetery collecting resources I'd bypassed on the way to the crypt because I was full. I was able to top up health and salt, but only found a little ammo. I traded back the crank gun (which was out of ammo) for the RPG, for which I had a full supply. (When you pick up a weapon, the one you dropped remains there and you can return for it later.)

Well, so much for the cut off the hand approach. All we have after this episode is a dead (at least for moment) ghost. As we're leaving the cemetery, the Luteces appear again and tell us we must go on a quest to three previously locked places in Emporia which we now must visit. As it happens, I encountered all of them in my random wanderings yesterday. Now we have to go back, unlock them, and obtain what's inside.

As we leave the cemetery, we pass checkpoint EMP_Cemetery and that's enough for today.

We end the day with $3658 (a new high—there wasn't anything to spend money on today other than resurrection, not that I'm knocking it), 24 lockpicks, and full health and salt. I'm carrying the Hand Cannon and RPG, and could use ammo for both. All infusion properties (health, shield, and salt) are at level 6. We obtain achievement “Vigorous Opposition” today, number 16 of 80. I think I'll start the next session by equipping the Bullet Boon gear and then looking for ammo to fill up the increased capacity it confers on all weapons.

Walkthroughs:

2018 August 21

Before leaving the cemetery, I equipped the Bullet Boon gear, increasing magazine size by 50%. I wandered back the way I'd come to see if I could find some more ammo, but none was to be had. I then proceeded toward Lutece Labs in the Market district. The street is nearly destroyed and there's the Magical Melodies building floating in the air near the crumpled street. Gingerly going around the back, there's a hole in the wall and you can see some interesting things inside including a red tear. It is possible, but very difficult, to jump from the street to a plank that extends from the floating house. It took me around 15 minutes of trying and beginning to think I was missing something I needed to pick up elsewhere when I managed to get to just the right position and hit Space (jump) and W in the right order and I was inside. A phonograph starts to play a Cindi Lauper song rendered in 1912 style. There is a locksmith set with 3 locks and a Voxophone which talks about how Fink's music publishing operation is stealing music from parallel universes and publishing it in Columbia—that explains it!

That's all there is to find after all the effort getting into Magical Melodies, but it's easy to jump back onto the street. Now we proceed toward the Lutece Laboratories, checking for supplies along the way. I stopped at a Dollar Bill and topped up RPG ammo—everything else was full. Outside the lab building, we're attacked by one revolutionary. I think it's usually more, but I may have killed some of them when I passed this way a couple of days ago while lost. The lab opens with a hairpin.

Inside is a lockpick and, upstairs, a Voxophone, and another infusion, which I applied to salts capacity. Back on the ground floor, if you walk right up to the sparking machine you're allowed to open a tear. This is the first of the three tears we're looking for. A Voxophone drops from the tear. Playing it, we hear Rosalind Lutece claim that Elizabeth was created by the machine (or perhaps summoned from a parallel reality). Immediately after we open the tear, we pass checkpoint EMP_LutLabTear where I called it a night.

There are amazing blackboards in the the Lutece Labs.

Bioshock Infinite: The Lutece Labs blackboard

At the end of the session, I have $3728, 29 lockpicks, and full health, salts, and ammo.

Walkthrough:

2018 August 22

Everybody was bank vault fighting!
It wasn't that exciting.
In fact, it was a little bit boring,
I almost started snoring.

There was freaky Comstock ghost,
and all her zombie host.
It takes twenty direct hits,
to blow the wraith to bits.

It isn't about skill,
but coming back when killed.
You gotta keep on shooting,
as your life's rebooting.

But that comes later. We start out where we left off in Lutece Labs, where we can pick up and play the Voxophone again about Elizabeth's origin. Leaving the lab building, we find ourselves on a street in the Market District which we explored before while lost. Many of the shops were unlocked on that pass through and could be re-explored now without additional lockpicks. Of course, that meant they'd been picked over, but we did find a few things I swear we didn't see before, such as a book containing a Vox code in the Hudson's clothes store basement. I'll bet that book doesn't appear until you've released Lady Comstock's ghost.

One of the stores had Minuteman's Armory and Vigor vending machines and I spent some of yesterday's loot on the Crows Boost ($575), which increases the stun duration of the Crows vigor and the RPG speed boost ($333), which doubles the speed of the RPG projectiles. Apart from buying ammo, health, and salts and paying resurrection fees, there isn't anything else you can do with money (that I've discovered), so it makes sense to use it on these kinds of upgrades when you're feeling flush.

We're heading for the Bank of the Prophet in the Financial District, which we visited before while lost, finding nothing much of interest. Well, now, when we approach it, we find it guarded by two Crows, a bunch of Vox, and finally a Fireman. Defeating them, we collect a substantial sum of money from the corpses.

Now we can enter the lobby of the bank, where we've been before. As we enter, we cross checkpoint EMP_BankInterior. We've picked over this area before, but found a few things we'd searched before which allowed topping up health and salts which had been depleted in the battle to get here.

This time, there's an elevator at the back of the lobby which wasn't there before. Going inside and pressing the button takes us to the main floor of the bank where more trouble awaits. Moments after we arrive at this level, we'll be attacked by a bunch of Vox. The strategy is to immediately climb the stairs to the left where there's a Sniper Rifle on the platform. I exchanged the Hand Cannon for it. When the Vox swarm in on the floor below, you can pick them off one by one (easier if you've immobilised them with a vigor—I used my trusty Crows) with the rifle. I'd forgotten how much the recoil of the Sniper Rifle reduces the rate of fire. This is a real issue in an engagement with lots of attackers like this one. The next time I pass a Minuteman's Armory, I'll pick up that reduced recoil upgrade; I'm sure it will pay off somewhere in the future. Once the battle was over, I went back where I dropped the Hand Cannon and exchanged the Sniper Rifle for it.

Once the Vox are defeated, we can return to the main floor and search their corpses and everything else. There is a lot of money here—more than we've ever seen before, including two safes. There's also lots of ammo and salts—you always find ammo lying around in banks, don't you?

Before proceeding to the giant vault, which is currently locked, we explore two side corridors and find more gear and lockpicks. I had already topped out at 30 lockpicks, so I couldn't take advantage of them. The gear was “Overkill”, and I opted to take it but not equip it at the present time.

In one of the side rooms off the left corridor there's a typewriter where you can enter the Vox code from the book we found in the basement of Hudson's. This causes a filing cabinet to slide away, revealing a hidden room containing more lockpicks, a large sum of money (gold and silver bars) and an infusion, which I used to increase shield capacity.

Once we've searched everything, we proceed down the corridor to the right. A Crow appears but does not directly engage us. Instead, he sends a bunch of revolutionaries which can be dealt with realtively easily. But when you've gotten the last one, a sniper starts taking shots, and it takes a while to figure out whence he's shooting. Once you suss that out, the RPG makes quick work of him. I was then expecting the Crow to get into the fight, but he didn't. Never try to figure out a birdbrain.

After searching corpses and the area of the battle, in a side room we find more gear, “Spectral Sidekick”. I took, but did not equip it. In another room in this area we find another safe which takes three lockpicks and yields lots of money. We also find another Voxophone, which fills in more of the back-story of Elizabeth's origin.

Now we can approach the statue in the vault where there's a shimmering tear. Opening it releases a red Raven which immediately attacks us. The old one-two punch of shock and RPG did the trick, and we find another Voxophone next to the corpse, which continues Elizabeth's story from another perspective. When you open this tear, you pass checkpoint EMP_bankTear.

Now, when we return to the vault door behind the statue it is open and we can see inside. The moment you step inside the vault, you're attacked by the ghost of Lady Comstock and her zombie minions. As at Memorial Gardens, there's no point wasting ammo on the zombies—the ghost just quickly resurrects them and sends them back at you (the resurrection graphics are particularly nice—you can confuse them with the ghost itself—you don't get much of a chance to appreciate them, however, since you're getting shot at from all directions). The best approach is to stun the zombies with vigors, then wait for the ghost to approach and shoot at very close range with high powered weapons such as the RPG and Hand Cannon. Don't expect a one shot kill, however—she's already dead! You have to grind her down with hit after hit after which you'll finally get in that last shot and she goes poof and all the zombies drop dead—or re-dead—or whatever. I got killed and resurrected around 20 times trying to get through this battle. It was only because I'd obtained and equipped the “Fit as a Fiddle” gear which causes health to reset to 100% on resurrection that this didn't end badly.

Finally, you make that last shot and all is quiet. At this point everything is severely depleted and it's off to search corpses, desks, and everything else to try to replenish health, salts, and ammo. After backtracking through much of the bank, I topped up everything except for a little ammo which I can pick up for a song the next time I encounter a Dollar Bill.

Finally, we proceed back to the elevator that brought us here. Pressing the button takes us back to the bank lobby, at which point we pass checkpoint EMP_BankInterior2. At this point we're done with the bank and can proceed to the next tear. That's enough for now, thanks.

We end today with the second of the three tears checked off, with $4717 (a new high for end of session, although it was higher before all of the resurrection action), the full 30 lockpicks, and carrying the Hand Cannon and RPG. Health and salts are full, and ammo is adequate for anything other than the kind of battle we just endured. I'm hoping we'll get a chance to top up before the next attack.

Walkthroughs:

2018 August 23

We begin this session inside the bank lobby. Leaving it, we can proceed to the photo studio either via a sky-line or overland. I opted for the latter since every time I get on a sky line I end up in the wrong place. Along the way, I picked up some Hand Cannon and RPG ammo and am almost full. I stopped at a Minuteman's Arsenal and, as mentioned yesterday, bought the Sniper Rifle recoil decrease ($288) and Hand Cannon recoil decrease ($350). Next, I stopped at a Vigor vending machine and sprung for the Crows Trap Aid ($1485)—this turns corpses you killed with crows into crow traps for other adversaries. All this spending earned me the “Grand Largesse” achievement for spending more than $10,000 at vending machines.

Arriving at the photo studio, it can now be opened with a hairpin (before releasing Lady Comstock's ghost, the lock was unbreakable). Inside there isn't much of interest: some money in the cash register and a lockpick set which we can't pick up because we already have 30 lockpicks. The main attraction is the third and final tear. Opening it paves the way to the Comstock House and releases a Voxophone where the proprietor of the photo studio sows more confusion about Elizabeth's origins. Opening the photo studio tear brings us to checkpoint EMP_PhotoTear.

The next objective is the Comstock House where we've been told that opening the three tears will somehow grant us access (recall that is where the handprint reader is which we originally planned to fool by sawing off Lady Comstock's arm before everything got all ghosty and woo-woo). On the way there, we were unexpectedly attacked by several Vox beasts, including some with grenade launchers. Defeating them used up lots of ammo and consumables, so after peace was restored I backtracked to replenish supplies before the big battle expected at the Comstock House. I ended up buying some Hand Cannon and RPG ammo at a Dollar Bill to be absolutely full.

Returning to Comstock House, as we approach the courtyard in front with the statue, Lady Comstock's ghost has a third run at us (you can't keep a good spectre down) aided, as usual, by a bunch of zombies, this time including a number of grenadiers. I exchanged the Hand Cannon for a Sniper Rifle I got through a tear and activated a Mosquito through another tear to distract the zombies. I used a mix of Crows and Fire to suppress the zombies while taking shots of opportunity at the ghost with the RPG and Sniper Rifle. As in the bank vault, you have to just slowly grind her down. This time I only got killed around twelve times before tranquility was restored.

After the ghost is “killed”, it reappears again in front of the statue and has a heart-to-heart with Elizabeth, who explains to it that it came from a parallel reality where things differ from here. The ghost finally removes the lock from the Comstock House, opening our way to explore it. This passes checkpoint EMP_Airlock.

As before, the battle depleted, well, everything, so it was off to search the abundant corpses left behind from the carnage. For ghostly re-animated walking dead, these guys sure carry a lot of money, and I was also able to top off health and bring salts back up to around 90%. I found Sniper Rifle, Hand Cannon, and RPG ammo to replenish, but not top off, supplies of each. I decided it wasn't worth going all the way back to the Dollar Bill to completely top up these supplies.

Now we enter the Comstock House and find nothing in the foyer. Passing through a door brings us to a bridge which seems to end in mid-air. Opening the door passes checkpoint DCom, where I called it quits for today. This triggers the “Blood in the Streets” achievement, awarded for completing Emporia. We found no new gear today.

Walkthroughs:

2018 August 24

We start by operating the lever at the end of the bridge to Comstock House. We black out and wake up back in DeWitt's office, with the Luteces blocking the usual exit door. We go through a side door (which didn't open before) and it's an attic with a hole in the top. The Big Bird arrives, has a conversation with Elizabeth, and swoops away with her, destination unknown. Looking out a hole in the side of the attic, we see the bridge to the Comstock House and two skyhooks. By attaching to a hook and dismounting on the bridge past the lever, we trigger a process by which the bridge extends toward the house. There's a white-out, and when it clears we're in a snowstorm (Booker remarks that's odd for July) with snowdrifts along the bridge. We walk up a large staircase and enter the house, passing checkpoint DCOM_InsideCH.

Proceeding further into the house, there's a great hall with a statue of Elizabeth and sign boards around it chronicling the misdeeds of Booker. There are candles everywhere. Going up the stairs past the statue passes another checkpoint, DCOM_GroundFloor. They're coming fast and furious here.

Finally, we reach an elevator and, taking it to the top floor, step out onto a bridge. There's yet another checkpoint here, DCOM_FirstFloor. As soon as we cross the bridge, we're spotted by a Boy of Silence, the first we've met. These do not attack directly, but animate puppets wearing Ben Franklin masks who attack en masse with sticks. Once these guys start coming at you, the best approach is to use vigors like Crows and Fire and their corresponding traps and only expend ammo when they close in and are about to whack you.

After killing the last Franklin puppet, there's a nasty surprise: two automated cannons high above the entrance to the house start shooting at you. It takes a while to figure out where the fire's coming from. Two shots from the RPG will silence them once you figure this out.

Now you can enter the house in peace, but you'll probably be depleted in just about everything. To the left is a room with a particularly uninteresting Kinetoscope and a much needed Health kit. And then, blooie, the game crashed to the desktop.

Restarting puts us back at the elevator, having to fight the whole battle over again. Fighting through it, we proceed to explore, get a little further, and blooie again. Restart, fight, and this time it hangs and has to be process killed from a SSH login from another computer. This happens two times more, even when I switched to full screen mode and disconnected the secondary screen just in case.

What changed? Well, today I updated the operating system on this machine to Xubuntu 18.04.1 from the 16.04 I was running before. I can only assume there is either some fundamental incompatibility between this system and the game engine or, perhaps, an incompatibility with the new version of Steam provided with the 18.04 update and the files in the ~/.steam directory, which were, of course, not updated.

What is clear is that this frequency of crashes combined with the random and often very long intervals between checkpoints in the game render it completely unplayable. You simply can't get from one checkpoint to the next, even, as in this case, when nothing much is happening between them other than peaceful exploration, before it crashes and bounces you back to the most recent checkpoint.

To see if I can get a handle on what's going on, I'm going to download Steam and the game onto Ragnar (where I've never previously installed Steam), which has been running 18.04 for several months from a clean install, copy over the checkpoint directory, and see what happens. If it works there, I may simply continue there, assuming its performance is adequate, or maybe try uninstalling and reinstalling from scratch on Hayek. But for the moment I'm at an impasse which has nothing to do with the game play but flaky software underlying it.

All right, after the better part of an hour fighting with the thing, I've managed to get it running on Ragnar. The most difficult part was discovering that after I'd copied over the save directory, it ignored the save file even though I'd turned off backup to Steam Cloud in the game until I quit the game, quit Steam entirely, restored the save directory once again, and then brought everything back up.

The second issue is that Ragnar is the antithesis of a gaming machine. Even with graphics quality set to “Low” (which isn't all that bad, actually) and resolution to 1024×576, the display is still jerky with random pauses. This makes it extremely difficult and frustrating to aim at moving targets—you miss lots of shots due to graphics lag that you'd have nailed on a faster machine. Now I'm beginning to twig to why gamers spend so much money on machines with fast GPUs.

Playing on Ragnar, I resumed at the DCOM_FirstFloor checkpoint outside the elevator, fought my way into the building for what is now the fifth time, and began to redo everything I'd done prior to the previous crashes, nervous, of course, expecting another crash. This time I made it to the incenerator room, collected the Voxophone and salts, and proceeded through the bathroom to the dormitory where another Boy of Silence unleashes puppets on us again. These are annoying but not as difficult, so far, as other adversaries, since the one-two punch of Crows and Fire makes quick work of most of them. Their corpses, however, never yield anything—you might as well not bother searching them.

Leaving the dormitory we're attacked by a Crow accompanied by several guards. The guards distract you from catching the Crow when he's vulnerable, and are best dealt with using vigors until you've killed the Crow. The graphics delay made this about three times as hard as it should have been.

After this, we can go upstairs where there's another Kinetoscope and a useless locksmith's bag (we're maxed out on lockpicks). Searching this floor yields little of use until we enter what appears to be a workshop where the puppets are assembled and/or maintained. At this point we pass checkpoint DCOM_Workshop—we've made it to a checkpoint without crashing—go Ragnar!

Beyond the workshop is a warehouse where we encounter another Boy of Silence and, of course, puppets. These are dealt with in the usual way and we collect gear which I took but did not equip. Thinking about it, I suspect the reason the Boys of Silence and puppets are so easy to defeat compared to adversaries we've already encountered (Firemen, Crows, Handymen, etc.) is that without Elizabeth to throw ammo, salts, and health during a battle it is much harder to prevail. Now that Elizabeth is missing, the game serves up a less formidable enemy for us to confront. In the workshop there's another Voxophone and some salts, but not enough to get back to 100%.

Now we pass through a projection room where a film is running with subliminal cuts, and we jump through a broken window into a path leading to the Warden's office. There's another Kinetoscope in this corridor. The corridor leads to a guards' office where we pass checkpoint DCOM_Security. The audible signal for checkpoints doesn't work on Ragnar for some reason, so I didn't notice I'd passed this one until some time later. Otherwise I'd have stopped here.

Slogging along until the next checkpoint, there are lots of cabinets to check, many of which yield money but not as much health and salt as we could use at this point. We encounter more Gear, “Rising Blood Lust”, in which each kill of an enemy temporarily increases the damage of the weapon which made it. I may give this a try.

Finally, we arrive at the Warden's office, where there's another Voxophone and a lever which, when pulled, opens the security gate back on the ground floor which was barred to us as we passed it the first time. This plays a confusing audio message. Sowing confusion seems to be what it's all about here. More importantly, this milestone passes checkpoint DCOM_Warden, and we can put this aside for the day.

At the end of this chaotic and interrupted session across two machines, we have $2751 and 30 lockpicks, salt around 60%, health around 30%, and low ammo for the Hand Cannon and RPG. There has been previous little ammo to be had in the Comstock House so far and nary a vending machine in sight to turn money into ammo. (What? Theocrat-plutocrats don't have vending machines in their floating mansions in the sky—what a shock!)

I think tomorrow I may try porting back the ~/.steam directory from Ragnar back to to Hayek and possibly uninstalling and re-installing Steam on Hayek to see if that fixes the crashes. It's clear that the crashes are not inherent to Xubuntu 18.04, since that what Ragnar is running, but there may be something about doing an upgrade instead of a clean install that leaves something in an inconsistent state.

Walkthroughs:

2018 August 25

For what it's worth, the binary /usr/lib/games/steam/steam is identical on Hayek and Ragnar.

For the first attempt at back-migration to Hayek, bodily copied the entire ~/.steam directory from Ragnar to a 19 Gb /tmp/steamy.tar file on Hayek, which I installed in ~/.steam there, renaming the existing directory old.steam.

Started, and it came up OK at the last checkpoint om Ragnar. Played for 14 minutes and it froze again. Now I'm going to try rebooting with the auxiliary screen disconnected and see if it works in single screen mode from a clean reboot.

Rebooted single screen. Made it to the elevator past two waves of attacks by guards, where we find another Voxophone from Elizabeth and pass checkpoint DCOM_Return. Many terrified cries from Elizabeth in the background.

And, seconds later, it freezes again.

Copied the latest save directory back to Ragnar and restarted, still in 1024×576 graphics mode and Low quality to see if that improves responsiveness. It's ugly—let's see if it gets us there.

Pushing the button, rise up to encounter a door which was barred before but now is open. Proceeding past it, we find the silhouette of Elizabeth backlit by foggy light. As we get closer, she appears to be aged. She implores us to take her hand. When we do, we proceed to see New York burning, under attack from airships and maybe a Songbird. A sign gives us a clue the year is 1984. Aged Elizabeth hands us a card with a drawing and text about the Songbird. When we take it, we're projected through a tear and find ourselves back in 1912. After leaving the room in which we arrived, we pass checkpoint DCOM_Operating.

Once again, we hear Elizabeth's cries and warnings by those imprisoning her to keep the generators on which prevent her from opening tears to parallel realities. The corridor leads to the operating theatre, where two men are doing something to a restrained Elizabeth. We proceed around the operating room, undisturbed, to a staircase which leads to an upper level where the two generators that power the siphon are located. We're attacked by an automated turret which the RPG makes quick work of, and a bunch of Comstock's men, who are armoured and don't go easily. Finally, we're able to go up another level to the generator room where, unopposed by a cringing technician, we're able to pull a lever to turn off the generator. One down, one to go.

Now, as we go back down to go and turn off the second generator, we're attacked by two more turrets and more guards who paid no attention when we passed by them on the way to the first generator. These are as troublesome to dispatch as the first batch.

After we descend in order to go up to the generator on the other side, we're attacked by still more guards and a Mechanised Patriot. I don't know whether I was just lucky, but I disposed of this Patriot rather quickly with the Shock vigor and RPG. After this, there's no more opposition as you go up and disable the second generator. Again, there's a cringing technician. After the generator is turned off, you find a phial of salts in the generator room, which is much appreciated.

At the moment the second generator is turned off, a tornado appears, presumably summoned by Elizabeth, whose powers have now been restored, which wreaks havoc on the operating theatre facility.

Now we can return to the operating room proper, which is a bit difficult to get into due to all the rubble. Here we can free Elizabeth and remove a plug stuck into her upper back (presumably the “siphon” which deprives her of her powers). We hand her the plans to the Songbird, given us by her older self in 1984. She vows to kill Comstock. Booker says, “I won't let you. I'll do it.”

Now we return to the upper floor where we had the battles getting to the generators before. Now they're undefended, but I discover something I didn't know before. When you blast an automatic turret, its stand may contain goods, especially ammo, even kinds not used by the turret. I don't know if this is always the case, but it would have been handy to know before.

On this level, there are two locked doors, neither of which we could open before because we didn't have Elizabeth to pick them. The first takes three picks and opens on stairs which lead us to a room between the two generator rooms we've been able to look into but not access before. Inside is an infusion, which I used to augment maximum health (all three: health, shield, and salt capacity are now at level 8), a gold bar, and another Voxophone.

We now proceed back down the stairs to the corridor where there's another locked door which can be picked with a hairpin. This leads to an elevator which takes us up to the roof level where we can board Prophet Comstock's Zeppelin. When the elevator arrives at the room leading to the roof, we pass checkpoint CHU. This gave us the “Higher Learning” achievement for completing Comstock House.

Searching the room in which the elevator deposits us, we find a bunch of money, some ammo, and some salts which we don't need. As soon as you exit to the roof, which requires a hairpin pick, you're almost immediately attacked by a bunch of soldiers and a Mechanised Patriot. There is a Mosquito and Rocket Automaton which may be summoned through tears and brought into the battle on our side. The Patriot was dispatched by Possession and the RPG. Once this first engagement is concluded, we advance toward the barge that's supposed to take us to the Prophet's Zeppelin. Before we get there, we're attacked again by soldiers on the barge and another Patriot. This time I used the Crows and Fire to dispatch and distract the soldiers while dealing with the Patriot. When this contingent have been eliminated, we're left in peace to explore the area. There is a lot of ammo on the corpses and in containers on the roof, as well as more salts than we need. A lockpick is found near a crashed barge on the side of the roof.

Three lockpicks open a locked room containing a Voxophone and a safe (one lockpick) with 200 Eagles inside. There are two lockpicks to be had in front of a locked elevator. There is also a Vigor vending machine which I used to purchase the Shock Duration Aid for $575, which increases the time the Shock vigor stuns the target. This should be useful if we encounter additional Patriots. Like an idiot, I accidentally walked into a fire in the room with the safe and used up half of my health. I had to backtrack and find health I'd bypassed on the way here to top up again.

Returning to the barge, there's another telescope—again nothing exciting to see. I pulled the lever on the barge to launch it in the direction of the Comstock's Zeppelin. This passes checkpoint CHU_BargeRide, which concluded today's adventures.

At this point we have $3603, 26 lockpicks, full salts, health, and ammo.

Walkthroughs:

2018 August 26

As soon as we resume, riding to the barge to the Hand of the Prophet Zeppelin, we're attacked by two barges full of armoured enemies. The best way to deal with this is to wait until they get close enough and then hook from our barge to theirs and attack from the hook. But watch out! Some of the enemy will jump to our barge and start shooting back at us. These guys are armoured, and one shot from the Hand Cannon, even at point blank range, is not guaranteed to do the trick.

Just when you think you've defeated them, you come under fire again and, as is so often the case, it isn't obvious from where. It turns out there are two mosquitos allied with them, which can be taken out with the RPG. Possessing them first gives you a better chance to aim and fire, but of course costs salts. There are some salts and health kits on the enemy barges which can be used to top up during the battle.

After prevailing against this assault, we finally arrive at the hangar deck of the Prophet's Zeppelin and pass checkpoint CHU_Hangar.

The hangar deck is heavily defended: there are automated turrets and many guards. When you think you've won, they start swarming in from the other side of the deck (which is divided by cabins and docking bays). There is an automated turret and rocket launcher which we can activate through a tear which will help in the battle.

After suppressing the defence, we start to search the cabins, where we can replenish health and salts. In one of the cabins there was a Vigor vending machine where I bought the Devil's Kiss Aid for $1241: this improves the lethality and spread of the Fire vigor. We find two lockpicks in one of the first cabins. Be sure to check the turrets you've destroyed—they contain ammo you may need later. In the process of this fight, I exchanged the Hand Cannon for the Sniper Rifle but then couldn't find the Hand Cannon afterward to switch back after having won. I'm pretty sure where I dropped it, but I went back and it wasn't there—or else maybe I mis-remembered.

After harvesting everything on this level, we proceed to the bow of the deck where there is a lever to clear the sky-line which is blocked by pods containing Mechanised Patriots ready to drop. After the line is clear, attach and we're taken to Deck 2, at which point we pass checkpoint CHU_MainDeck.

This deck is defended by a group of Comstock's men, which can be dealt with relatively easily with Crows, Fire, and the Sniper Rifle to clean up. Once peace was restored, I began to start to search the deck and what's the first thing I should find but a new Hand Cannon!

At the back of the deck is a Secure Area which takes three lockpicks to open. Inside are some ammo, supplies, and gear, the “Ghost Posse”, which I took but did not equip. Going up stairs outside the area leads to the upper level of this deck where we find another lockpick.

Toward the front of the deck we find the front hatch to Engineering which can be opened with one lockpick. (We've previously seen the back hatch, which can only be opened from inside.) Inside is a Voxophone with a message from Rosalind Lutece about how Elizabeth is to be the successor to Comstock.

Here, as on the Hangar Deck, we have to clear the sky-line by pulling a lever to drop the Patriot pods. This time the pods clear ever-so-slowly, which allows time for barges carrying Vox and Mechanised Patriots in their service to pull up and attack. I fired a few RPG rounds at the barges and took out some attackers, but mostly I just dodged the attack by using the sky-lines to jump from cover to cover until the announcement that the sky-line to the next deck was clear, and then I attached and got out of Dodge while the attack was still underway. I never did have to confront a Patriot directly in this attack. I have no idea whether they'll be waiting for me somewhere later.

The sky-line takes us upward to Deck 3: Engineering. Upon entering the hatch to the interior of this deck we pass checkpoint CHU_Interior. Upon entering Engineering we find some machinery in operation and some salts (which we don't, at this time, need). There are below-deck levels to explore, but nothing much to find there. Enetering further, we encounter a large control panel with Carbines and Volley Guns available to the left and right. I exchanged the Hand Cannon for a Volley Gun here.

As soon as we pass the panel, we come under attack by soldiers firing grenades from a distance and, soon thereafter, a Handyman. I activated an automated turret through a tear, and that kept the soldiers busy while I confronted the Handyman. As usual, seemingly direct hits on the heart from the RPG and Volley Gun didn't get a kill, but I finally hit him with the Fire vigor and, while burning, let him have it with the RPG, which did the trick. I then turned my attention to the soldiers, but apart from one shot with the RPG from a distance the turret seems to have wiped them out. I collected the gear left by the Handyman but did not equip it, as I like the one I have which improves shield duration and cuts regeneration time.

Once this battle is over, we explore a control panel on the other side of the wall from the first one and find some salts to top up and two lockpicks, bringing us back to the maximum of 30. Proceeding further into Engineering, we come under fire from two turrets, each of which are dealt with by one shot from the RPG. At the very back of the deck there's a Minuteman's Arsenal vending machine where I bought the Volley Gun Damage Boost 25% for $522 and Volley Gun Radius Increase 50% for $536. These should improve the performance of the only area-attack kinetic weapon to which we have easy access.

I'd hoped to exchange the Volley Gun back for the Hand Cannon, but again, when I went back to where I'd dropped it, it was gone. This time I'm absolutely sure about the location. There must be invisible cleaning robots that pick up weapons while you're otherwise occupied. Now it's a matter of going up to Deck 4. I hooked the sky-line at the front of Engineering but it just took me around and around within Deck 3. So, I proceeded on foot back to the other end, near the vending machine, and hooked the sky-line there, which is apparently a different one, and it took me outside and up to a platform on Deck 4. Entering the hatch from this platform takes us through checkpoint CHU_Conn where I called it a night.

We end up with $1452 and 30 lock picks, full health and salts, a full Volley Gun and short on RPG ammo. If I come across a Hand Cannon, I'll take it, but I haven't seen one so far. The use of the automated turret earned the “Strange Bedfellows” achievement, which is awarded for killing 20 or more adversaries using allies brought through tears. I have only 22 of 80 possible achievements so far (28%), and I'm certain to end the game with not many more, since many are for kills with weapons I have no interest in using or are unlikely to encounter from here on. Further, some relate to items in sequel games, not the main game being played here.

Walkthroughs:

2018 August 27

Entering the deck to the top deck (Deck 4), we see a stained glass window in front of which is a model of the tower in which Elizabeth was confined. It shows a confinement chamber at the top for the “subject” (this is where we rescued her so many chapters before) with the “Siphon” machine in a large vessel below. Elizabeth remarks that as a child she was able to open tears not just to a limited number of parallel realities but also to create entirely new realities. She speculates that the purpose of the siphon was to drain away these powers from her. Only by destroying the siphon can these powers be restored.

Entering another hatch, we find Comstock standing under another stained glass panel showing Elizabeth in a heroic pose. He is standing behind a baptismal font/birdbath. As Elizabeth approaches, he begins to anoint her hand with water using a sponge. He draws attention to her finger, which appears to have been partially amputated with a thimble on it. There is a remark about Booker bearing her finger, at which time Booker's finger begins to bleed. Comstock attacks Elizabeth, and Booker intervenes, grabbing him by the throat and eventually drowning him in the font. At this moment a hatch leading further into the command deck opens.

Going up one level takes us to a floor containing Comstock's bedroom and study. The bedroom has a Voxophone from Rosalind Lutece and a collection of weapons, none of which I took (though the Sniper Rifle was tempting). The study has a Voxophone from Comstock himself and—what do you know—a Hand Cannon! I exchanged the Volley Gun (with which I find it hard to hit anything) for it. Comstock's desk contains some much welcome Hand Cannon ammo, some money (what are we going to do with it at this point?) and some food.

Climbing one more level, we arrive at a locked hatch to the bridge. The high security of Comstock's Zeppelin is evidenced by the fact that this lock can be picked with a hairpin. Arriving on the bridge, there is a large wheel at a console in the centre. (There are no other active items on the bridge). Turning it begins to make the airship move, and we can see from the front window barges arriving from all directions to attack us. Elizabeth starts to smash a statue of Comstock on the right of the bridge. As the statue crashes down, it is revealed to have a mechanism on its back like a Mechanised Patriot. Elizabeth removes a whistle which can be used to summon the Songbird.

She uses the whistle and the Songbird arrives, smashing the window at the front of the bridge, revealing the front deck. Elizabeth implores the Songbird to defend us, and the Songbird nuzzles her and caresses her with its wing, then flies away. Elizabeth jumps through the window to the front deck and, as we follow, we pass checkpoint CHU_Top.

This is the beginning of the Final Battle. As we land on the deck, we're right next to a large generator. Two new indicators appear at the top right of the screen. The topmost is a bar graph indicating the status of the generator. If this goes to zero, the battle is lost and must be refought from the start. We're informed as soon as we land that we can now direct the Songbird to attack targets by pointing at them and pressing F. But each strike tires the Songbird, who must rest before the next attack. The second control is a timer which shows how much time remains before the Songbird is ready for its next flight of destruction.

The general strategy in this battle is to use the Songbird as much as possible, destroying aerial targets before they are able to land reinforcements, while defending the generator against attacks. It is possible to use a sky-line to get to the top of the Zeppelin, which gives a view of the entire deck and contains medical kits and a Sniper Rifle for longer range work.

As soon as you step outside the bridge, the Final Battle is joined. This begins with soldiers shooting at you, then rapidly escalates as barges show up and disgorge additional troops. You should deploy the Songbird against each barge just as soon as it comes into range, otherwise it will unload even more troops and also start shooting at you with its own cannons. You can also deploy the Songbird against troops on the deck (just point at the deck and hit F), but if another barge arrives while the bird is resting, you may be in trouble.

I found it advantageous to deploy Crows, followed sometimes by Fire, against advancing troops on the deck. Since I have the Crow Trap Aid, troops killed by Crows turn into their own Crow traps which attack subsequent waves.

You can adopt a different strategy for expendables during this battle. The deck is an ammmo- salt- and health-rich environment, and Elizabeth will pretty much throw you what you need as you need it, so just keep blasting away. One time I exhausted RPG ammo and had to swap to a crank gun dropped by a Patriot, but that's it.

One of the nasty tricks used by the assailants is to drop grenadiers on pylons near the bow who shoot from cover at the generator. The best way to deal with these is to use Bucking Bronco to throw them into the air and then hit them with the RPG while helpless in mid-air. You might also be able to throw them overboard with Undertow while in this state, but I did not try this.

The need to defend the generator creates an entirely new dynamic in this battle. You can still get killed and resuscitated as before, but if the generator blue bar goes to zero the entire battle is reset to the CHU_Top checkpoint as if it never happened. This is intensely irritating and frustrating after, say, the sixth or seventh time, as you lose all your progress. One advantage is that you start out with all your consumables toppped up as at the start of the first attempt.

If you're still in the game (generator running) after killing a bunch of barges, then Zeppelins will begin to show up. These can be killed with the Songbird, but usually not before they drop one or more Mechanised Patriot on the deck which will start to advance toward the generator. These can be killed the usual way by shooting in the back, but we haven't had to deal with more than one at a time in most previous encounters. Don't assume that because the Zeppelins have started to arrive that you're done with barges, however—you may still get one or more to mix things up.

Don't bother trying to shoot down the barges or Zeppelins with any of your weapons. The only thing that can kill them is the Songbird. If it's resting, you just have to hold out until it's ready.

I found that taking the sky-line to the top of the Zeppelin and finding a good firing position wasted more precious time than it was worth. I found that defending near the generator or on the deck in front of it was most effective.

There is a huge trick in defending the generator without which I'm not sure it's possible to win this battle. What you need to do is, before you charge out of the bridge into the battle, select the Return to Sender vigor (8 key). Then sprint immediately to the front of the generator and place Return to Sender traps in front of the generator (I used three). These will absorb and return incoming fire from the principal direction of the attack and allow you to concentrate on defeating the attackers without depleting the generator's health. I didn't bother placing traps on the sides or behind the generator—you get a few attacks from that direction, but not many. As the battle progresses, you need to keep an eye on the generator since the Return to Sender traps eventually wear off and must be immediately re-placed to protect the generator.

It may be possible to use Return to Sender traps to create a protected firing position to defend the generator. I did not try this.

It was in the course of this battle that I earned the “Well Rounded” achievement for having use all eight vigors in battle.

As soon as you destroy the last Vox Zeppelin, the battle will immediately end and everything will go quiet. At this point we pass the CHU_Monument milestone. Elizabeth seems to have gone missing, but you can top up salts and health from resources around the deck. (I'm not sure they'll be needed from now on, but you can't be too careful.)

We find Elizabeth standing in the bow of the Hand of the Prophet Zeppelin. She hands us the bird whistle and we call the Songbird to destroy the Siphon. As the Siphon is destroyed, everything goes white and a giant snow crash tear seems to appear. We find ourselves in a place we've never seen before and find the Songbird seemingly in an aquarium, where it apparently drowns, its eye breaking. At this point we earn the “Bird or the Cage” achievement for having completed the Hand of the Prophet.

Elizabeth leads us toward a door, and we pass checkpoint LutT_Start, the beginning of the Epilogue to the game. I'll save that for the morrow. We ended up the day, and probably the game, with $1418 and 30 lockpicks, with infusion levels all at 7, and carrying the Hand Cannon and RPG.

Walkthroughs:

2018 August 28

The Epilogue chapter is titled “The Sea of Doors”. The background music is an instrumental version of “Beyond the Sea”. What appeared to be an aquarium in which we saw Songbird is actually a window with a plaque above which says “Welcome to Rapture: Opportunity Awaits”, and below it a vault door which says “Securis”—a possible airlock leading to the sea? Looking closer we see undersea buildings and a passageway between them with fronds of kelp waving in the foreground. Obviously we're in some version of the undersea settlement of the original Bioshock games (which I haven't played, but have read about).

Turning our back to the windows, to the right we see a banner which says, “The Great Chain is guided by our Hand”. There is a display case containing something I can't identify which is labeled, “RAPTURE Nov 5 1946: One man's vision, Mankind's salvation”. On the wall is a poster saying, “Pick your plasmid and evolve! The Wondrous World of Rapture”. On the wall above a staircase is another poster, “Light them up! Security Bullseye plasmids by Ryan Industries”. Pointing up the staircase is a neon “Plasmids” sign with a hand throwing thunderbolts up the stairs. The place appears to have sustained damage, with rubble and overturned chairs.

Going upstairs, there's what appears to be a derelict vending machine with a sign, “Gatherer's Garden: Genetic Modifications” with figures of girls on either side surrounded by Amanita muscaria mushrooms. From the balcony, we can look down onto the hall below, but all the doors are barred. On the other side of the balcony is a poster, “Get there in a Hurry! Teleportation, Plasmids by Ryan Industries”. In the middle of the balcony are two posters showing a flask, “Evolution in a bottle! Plasmids by Ryan Industries”.

The doorway through which Elizabeth went down the stairs has a sign above, “Rapture Metro”. We proceed through the door and down the stairs. There is more rubble and a fire burning at the bottom of the stairs.

Proceeding further, there's a discarded sign saying, “Ryan doesn't own us.” On the wall to the left, a sign, “Attention! All bathysphere travel is now DENIED.” Further on, in what must be a bathysphere bay, Elizabeth is waiting inside a bathysphere. We pull a handle to activate the bathysphere.

The bathysphere takes us through the undersea city to the surface where we see a stone monument and Elizabeth exclaims, “Thousands of doors—they're beautiful!” We leave the bathysphere and climb stone steps to the tower, where we pass checkpoint LutT_Surface. This ends up being the last checkpoint in the game.

Elizabeth tries to open a giant brass door with a hairpin and fails. Suddenly, a key appears in her hand. “Where did it come from?” “It's always been there, I just couldn't see it.” We open the door and see a sea of other towers. Elizabeth explains that each is a door to a parallel world: similar, and different. In each, a city, a lighthouse, and a man. She has glimpsed these worlds while imprisoned in the tower in Columbia. Following her along the path to the sea, the path extends as we walk. The pathway forks, and whichever way we walk it extends, We follow the straight path to a second tower.

This tower also has a door, which is unlocked. Passing through the door, we arrive on another sea, at dawn or dusk, with less impressive lighthouses and wooden platforms. On each, there is an Elizabeth and Booker. We follow the wooden path, which extends as we walk as the stone path did before. We reach another lighthouse, and going inside the boarded up door, we're in a river where a baptism is being conducted by a man (Comstock?) to cleanse the sins of Wounded Knee. Booker says he knows this place. Elizabeth says, “You've already been here”. The preacher invites Booker to take his hand, and Booker refuses. Elizabeth says, “You've already done it”. Booker takes the hand, but then, before being immersed in the river, refuses and walks away. He says to Elizabeth, “These doors are tears. Open one up. I want to be shut of all this.”

She replies, “Not until we find Comstock”, and leads the way to a small building on a hill. We open the door, and we're back in DeWitt's office, facing the man who hired him originally—Lutece!, “The girl for the debt.” Elizabeth is standing next to the side door of the office which, the last time, led to the attic of Comstock's House. This time, it's a small room with a crib and a baby. The man appears at the door, “Bring us the girl and we wipe away the debt.”

Elizabeth says she sees behind all the doors, and in every one Booker gives the baby to Lutece. Booker takes the baby and hands it to Lutece. Lutece takes it and says, “The debt is paid. Mr Comstock washes you of all your sins”, then turns and closes the door after him.

Opening the door, we find ourself back in the rowboat from the opening of the game, but this time with Elizabeth. We arrive at the lighthouse, where Elizabeth says, “Comstock is alive in a million worlds. It will only be over when he has never lived in the first place.” We follow the path to the lighthouse as before and upon entering, we're in an alley where Comstock is holding the baby and Lutece is talking to what might be a tear. Elizabeth is watching from the background. We grab Comstock.

A struggle ensues, with Booker saying, “Give me back my daughter!” Comstock jumps through the portal, which closes, chopping off the end of one of the baby's fingers. Everything goes dark.

There is the shield re-generation sound and crazy things start to happen to the screen. We have the weapon and vigor indicators back, and what looks like an Earth and Moon that move around with the mouse. It appears that everything is locked up.

After ten minutes, I gave up and restarted from the LutT_Surface checkpoint and played through again. This time, after the portal closes, we're back in DeWitt's office instead of cloud cuckoo land. Entering the side room, this time it's a larger, ruined room with Elizabeth inside. A large tear is open which, when we pass through it, we find the Luteces again, speculating that the “AD” brand on Booker's hand is penance for giving away his daughter, the baby Anna DeWitt. Then we're back in the boat again, with Elizabeth, rowing toward the lighthouse as at the beginning.

A new plan. “Go back to when he (Comstock) was born, and smother the son of a bitch in his crib.” We proceed to the lighthouse again. This time, entering the door, we're back in the river with Comstock. But this time numerous Elizabeths from parallel realities appear. If smothering Comstock is what Booker wants, then their drowning him is what must happen, as Booker and Comstock are one and the same. Booker is submerged and his vision fades to black. All of the parallel Elizabeths but Booker's companion in the adventure wink out one by one. Fade to credits.

After the credits, we find ourselves back in Booker's office. A calendar on the desk reads 1893 October 8. This time, opening the side door reveals the same small room as before, with a crib in the corner. Booker says, “Anna?”. Entering the room, before we can see inside the crib, fade to black and return to main menu. From the main menu all chapters are available for selection. There is no checkpoint at the end of the game: LutT_Surface is the last.

Here is an interpretation of the Epilogue of the game with even more massive spoilers than my narrative above and this a timeline which helps to sort out events occurring in the parallel universes. Note: despite IGN, the publisher of these pages, being part of the Ziff-Davis group, these documents contain, in the main text (not comments) unedited remarks by gamers, complete with innovative spelling and grammar and the trademark idiot “it's”.

We end the game with $1418 and 30 lockpicks. There is no need for either money or lockpicks after arriving at the Hand of the Prophet Zeppelin, so the money might have better been spent on weapons or vigor upgrades, but I don't think any of them available for that amount of money (except possibly upgrading Return to Sender to cost fewer salts) might have helped in the Final Battle. All infusion levels (Health, Shield, and Salt) were upgraded to level 7.

At the end of the game we were awarded three more achievements:

We earned a total of 27 of 80 (34%) possible achievements. Note that some of these can only be earned in sequels to the main game.

Walkthrough:

Here is a summary of game play and the state of things at the end of the game.

The gear I used through all of the latter part of the game was:

I obtained all of the vigors. Here is a list, with upgrades I purchased as the game progressed.

Here is a list of weapons and upgrades for them I purchased along the way. Vox weapons are indicated as (V).

After the disasters with Hayek on August 24 and 25, I completed the game on Ragnar in 1024×576 graphics mode and Low quality rendering. The response was still more jerky than on Hayek in 1920×1080 pixel mode with High or Medium quality, but sufficiently playable to make it through the end of the game. I would certainly not undertake a new game of comparable magnitude if constrained to that level of performance. Here it was a question of either abandoning the game in disgust after the collapse on Hayek or slogging away to the end with reduced resolution and performance.

2018 September 1

Purchased and downloaded the Season Pass of Downloadable Content. How this works is less than obvious. You buy the season pass, and it shows up in the game page, but it doesn't start to download automatically unless you force it to. It seems it normally downloads in its own sweet time, which is fine if you aren't going to travel the next day and be off-line.

By appropriate prodding, I got it to download, and an hour later it said it was installed. How to play it? You have to load the main game, where you now have a “Downloadable Content” menu item, from which you can select it.

The downloadable content also twiddles the main game save. I continued the last chapter save to make sure the download hadn't trashed it, and I got all kinds of messages telling me that things had changed because I'd bought the Season Pass.

2018 September 24

Finished the “Clash in the Clouds” shoot-em-up downloadable content mission. I ended up, after buying all of the vigor upgrades and weapon upgrades to my arsenal of choice:

with $47,263. I discovered a way of running up an almost arbitrarily large sum of money. When you're anticipating an attack by a Handyman (you're always told the adversaries to expect in each Wave), arm yourself a Crank Gun (you may have one liberated from a Patriot in an earlier wave, or find one in a tear while fighting the Wave). Keep one Handyman killer such as an RPG: the Crank Gun does no damage to a Handyman in my experience. Now, when the Handyman closes in, weaken him with Undertow, stun him with Shock Jockey, and then let him have it with with the full supply of Crank Gun ammo. You should be able to get lots of heart shots, each of which credits you with $60, even though they don't do any measurable damage. You'll eventually run out of ammo and probably be killed before you can switch to the RPG or Hand Cannon and get in more shots, but when you're resurrected, you'll start with a full load of Crank Gun ammo and you can do it again. (And of course, you keep the cash you earned across resurrection.) Lather, rinse, and repeat until you've run the cash balance up as high as you wish. Then, when you finish the Wave, go back and load up on weapons and vigor upgrades and, while playing the final arena, run up a huge balance so you can unlock everything in the museum when you're done. (Hey, you may say this isn't fair, but then neither is getting killed in the first second of a Wave when you didn't have any chance to see whence the fire was coming.)

When you arrive back in the museum, the Mechanised Patriot gives you a historical spiel. If you walk away, say, to record your score in the book at the ticket office or check out the vending machines and return, you'll hear a different spiel.

My ranking on the leader boards was as follows:

Arena Score Rank Ribbons
The Ops Zeal 1545 185744 0
Duke and Dimwit Theatre   1549 80928 0
Raven's Dome 2661 67650 0
Emporia Arcade 3060 47430 1
Global 8815 85756 1

OK, news flash, I'm still a lame-o gamer!

When you finally return to the museum after finishing all four arenas, there will be a tear for a water spill. If you open it a monster will attack and kill you. You pop right back to the game main menu, with anything you unlocked in the museum previously forgotten (but, your original cash balance before the unlocks will be restored). Don't unlock this tear unless you need it (see below).

Go around the museum unlocking kinetoscopes, phonographs, pictures, and models of characters. Some of the kinetoscopes show development of the game and are interesting. Once you've unlocked the models of both of the Luteces, a tear at the back of the museum will be available which takes you to Lutece Labs where there are six more voxophones to discover, which provide back-story to the main game.

Once you've unlocked everything in the museum, be sure to record your progress in the book on the way back to the entry hall of the museum. If you've won any blue ribbons (I won one, count it, one!), they'll be displayed under the portals to the arenas.

I had more than enough cash to unlock everything in the museum several times over, so I didn't try this, but if you end up with limited funds, you should be able to unlock a few things and then trigger the water puddle tear, go back to the main menu, navigate back, and proceed, your balance restored, to unlock a few more.

Walkthroughs:


by John Walker
September, 2018