Pathologic Classic HD is the Definitive Edition of the original Cult Classic Psychological First-Person Survival game. In this unforgettable experience, players control one of three unique characters as they try to save a mysterious town from a deadly plague that cannot be stopped.
User reviews:
Recent:
Very Positive (12 reviews) - 100% of the 12 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Overall:
Very Positive (285 reviews) - 90% of the 285 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Oct 29, 2015

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August 23

Pathologic Reimagining on Steam

http://store.steampowered.com/app/505230/
The not-yet-real existence of the new Pathologic has just found additional tangibility: the game has a Steam page now. If you want to keep an eye on the game’s progress and news, there’s no better way of doing so than following said page.

And you may need to do the eye-keeping for a bit longer than we were hoping. The game’s release will be postponed until Autumn, 2017. Why? Basically, Pathologic has grown in scope and ambitiousness since its inception, so it demands additional time and man-hours now. Find out more here.

But hey, at least it has a Steam page.

It’s like we’re halfway there.

17 comments Read more

April 21

Patch 1.03 is Here

We've failed to catch any gameplay bugs this time around (suspicious, huh), so this patch is text-based.

Patch Notes:
— [Text] yet more typos in the English version;
— [Translation] the Italian translation, generously donated to us by the game's original translators, Stefano Gaburri and Claudio Todeschini, added.

10 comments Read more

Reviews

“.....Pathologic is the single best and most important game that you’ve never played.”
Rock, Paper, Shotgun

“....you will be psychologically and emotionally tested like you never have before”
9/10 – God Is A Geek

About This Game


The original Indie Cult Classic returns fully restored, and more evocative than ever.

Pathologic Classic HD is the Definitive Edition of the original Cult Classic Psychological First-Person Survival game. The game represents a unique and unforgettable experience as it transports players in a weird town which crouches, ominous, in the far reaches of an ancient steppe. It was once a small drover settlement, huddled around a monstrous abattoir—but something about the butchery it was near has changed it. It has developed an odd social structure over the course of several generations. It could have quietly continued along its weird way, but a sudden outbreak of an unknown and inevitably lethal disease has decimated the citizens. Prayers did not help. Science did not help. So, finally, they have turned to outsiders for help: three of them enter the town in hope of finding a cure or—failing that—an explanation. The first outsider was a ruthless investigator, assigned by local authorities. The second is a far-sighted Ripper who has used his extraordinary abilities to gain a reputation as an ingenious surgeon, who has come to the town in search of his father's terrible heritage. The third—and last—outsider is an eccentric girl rumored to have mystic healing abilities; she may become the town's salvation were it not for the constant fear that plagues her, the memory of the horrors of her recent past.

On the surface, Pathologic is a first person horror adventure game where you control one of three "heroes." Dig deeper, however, and you’ll find an experience that will affect your emotional and psychological state. In the world of Pathologic you’ll find yourself in situations where morals and good deeds are meaningless in the face of raw despair and endless need. Talk to the denizens of the town and decide for yourself if you wish to ease someone else’s pain or save every bit of precious medicine to protect yourself from the invisible and inexorable plague. Become witness to the miasma of horror as the plague begins to overcome the town.


  • Brand New in-house English script: For the first time ever, the game has cast off the major issue that had previously disallowed international audiences from accessing it.
  • Brand New Voice-overs.
  • New content: A certain amount of text that had previously been cut from the international version of the game have now been restored
  • Updated textures and higher resolutions support.
  • New visual effects.
  • Newly Included Fan-Made Polish translation: thanks to the hard work and generosity of Jakub Derdziak & Aldona Derdziak.
  • An Italian translation, kindly donated to us by the original translators of the game, Stefano Gaburri and Claudio Todeschini.


    • An indie cult classic.
    • 12 days in a plague-ridden town. Time is running, and mostly it’s running out; numerous events unfold, whether you’re there to witness them or not.
    • 70+ hours of real-time gameplay without grinding or repetitive quests. As time goes by, more and more things happen, inviting you to participate and change the course of events.
    • 3 playable characters with 3 unique storylines. The Bachelor’s, the Haruspex’s, and the Changeling’s plots are interconnected, but every side of the trilemma is represented separately via unique events, quests, dialogues, and subplots.
    • The plot is critically acclaimed and often regarded as the high point of the game. It’s not just about the fate of the dying town—it’s about an ideological conflict, represented by a multitude of characters and factions, each with their own idea of what life, death, and miracles are.
    • An open-world game. While the plot is there to grab you, the town has no artificial boundaries: you are free to explore it from day one, carving out your own story.
    • Survival is tough. The dying town demands that you constantly keep an eye on your status, maintaining a full belly and decent immunity. That will require tough choices.
    • Communicate, barter, rob, or steal. There are many ways to acquire your bare necessities, each of them with its own benefits and drawbacks.
    • The atmosphere of bleakness and despair without cartoonish evil or bad guys. Playtime is over—there will be no jump scares or simple solutions. You will have to do it the hard way.

System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP or Later
    • Processor: AMD Athlon 64 2.3 GHz / Intel Pentium 2.2 GHz
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Radeon HD 4890 1024MB / GeForce 210 512MB
    • DirectX: Version 9.0
    • Storage: 2 GB available space
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated! Learn more
Recent:
Very Positive (12 reviews)
Overall:
Very Positive (285 reviews)
Recently Posted
Combiner
10.7 hrs
Posted: August 20
This is a desert on the threshold of death.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Samael_00001
19.1 hrs
Posted: August 18
It's a very complex and mature game and by far one the the most atmospheric ones. 10/10

I've also played another game from this studio - Tension (aka The Void) and it was a masterpiece, a pure Art. These guys know how to make games! It's a Great Time to be Alive! ;-)
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Deltax
66.3 hrs
Posted: August 16
A criminally under rated gem of a game. Definitely one of, if not the most unique playing experiences I've ever had. The biggest flaws come from the fact that the project was more ambitious than the development teams budget and current technology would allow in 2005, and it shows. If you can get past its technical difficulties, clunky gameplay, bizzare/unsettling faces (I'm looking at you, Carouser) and somewhat outdated graphics, it's a great play.

Helpful? Yes No Funny
Десрубинс
7.5 hrs
Posted: August 15
A truly excellent story.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
KyoSai
0.9 hrs
Posted: August 13
Just started it and I can tell this is going to be a long...GREAT game.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQ-DeFKHq8k
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Pennywise
46.1 hrs
Posted: August 12
Pathologic Classic HD.

(This review is solely based on my general knowledge of the game and my one playthrough as The Bachelor)


THE GOOD:
+ Thick and immersive atmosphere is bound to leave a strong impression on you and keep you on your toes for hours ;
+ Soundtrack is gorgeous and adds greatly to the atmosphere of the game. My favorite soundtrack in Horror themed games ;
+ One of the best plots I've ever played on a videogame. Everything is ingeniously connected ;
+ Lore is interesting and well handled throughout the game, only adding to the character development, plot and atmosphere ;
+ The characters are complex, interesting and display personalities and motivations you'd expect to find in the real world. Dialogues are well-written and entertaining ;
+ Your decisions matter. Chances are you won't know which ones matter most or at all, but you will see the consequences of your decisions sooner or later ;
+ Survival mechanics are simple yet effective and quite significant, molding your experience and perception of the environment ;
+ Good replay value - you can play 3 different characters through 3 different paths, with different character interactions and quests, leading you to uncover things you didn't uncover in the previous playthrough.
+ Worth the full price of about 13€/15$. On sale about every 2 months, I believe.


THE BAD:
- There are some typos. After about 60% of my progress, I would get typos on every other dialogue scene ;
- Combat is clunky and unappealing. Gameplay overall feels weak even for the 2005 game OG Pathologic was, only this is the remastered version of 2015. Good thing that you can avoid combat nearly altogether ;
- User Interface is a trainwreck. It's really just a bunch of shortcuts to different menus that can't even save the pages where you've left them. Something as simple as switching items feels like a chore. Can be distressing ;
- Graphics are pretty bad. Much like the gameplay, they were already mediocre back in 2005. For the 2015 remaster, all the developers seem to have done was add a couple of lighting effects and 1080p support. Pretty dope ;
- While endorsing the whole "hardcore" orientation of the game, the absence of a small starting tutorial feels unjustified.


THE DISCLAIMERS:
- This game doesn't carry the translation issues over from the original game like some people claim it does, I felt quite the opposite (I did not play the original, but I also couldn't find any translation issues to begin with) ;
- Many people crutch their opinions on the pretense that dialogues and overall vocabulary used in the game is pretentious and uncomprehensible at times. The game clearly builds around a remote town with admittedly strange people and it doesn't try to bypass this fact. During my experience, for almost every weird metaphor and analogy any character would spew, my character (who "comes from the city") would give me the option to ask for a simpler answer in the form of a warm "Are you going crazy?" or a literal "What the hell do you mean with all that?". For a game with such a cast of eccentric characters, it actually, simply cannot get any more self-aware ;
- I've seen people trash this game for how repetitive it gets, with all the back and forth tracking for completing quests and lack of action - It's a plot driven game, Sherlock, and curiously enough, it does compare to the Sherlock Holmes games more than it compares to Silent Hill, Serious Sam or whatever you were looking for here ;


Although obviously falling under the Survival Horror genre umbrella, this game isn't remotely comparable to the vast majority of the most reknowned games in this genre, such as Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, etc. If I had to tag this game for how it feels to me, I would tag it as a "Plot-driven Survival Thriller". Although this game is, admittedly, technically weak, I've had over 40 hours in-game without finding any bugs whatsoever. I didn't find Pathologic to be a very hard game in terms of difficulty, only perhaps a very hard game to get into. Upon starting a playthrough for the first time, it's good to keep in mind this is the remaster of a 2005 indie game. Like most of the old games before modern engines made games feel more natural and intuitive, Pathologic has to be learned and there is nothing quite like it when you do, which is also a big compliment when you're not talking about the technical aspects. Be aware that this game is heavily text-based and voice acting is almost non-existent. Since ugly alternative looking indie games are in vogue these days, if you're looking for a plot rich indie game with some adventure thrown in, this might be the game for you.

Now, Pathologic is punishing and it doesn't cater to the player like most games do at some point, regardless of genre. If you're looking for a "fun" game, you're better off trying elsewhere. Pathologic will deceive you, it will discourage you and make you feel like crap in the process. As a reward, you'll be given the chance to slowly and progressively discover the town's well kept secrets. That is, if you manage to make it through each day, which in itself will too feel rewarding, although strongly devalued by the game's narration and overall flow. If you're into challenging games, this approach might actually motivate you to keep tackling through the game.

I recommend this game wholeheartedly.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Canadian Marshmallow
16.9 hrs
Posted: August 5
This game is bad.
This story, this world, this atmosphere, is absolutely brilliant.

If you're feeling suicidal, this is honestly a perfect fit for you.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Wesson
18.9 hrs
Posted: August 5
Ah, the Pathologic (russian-speaking folks such as myself know this game as "Мор.Утопия".
Its been 11 years, and playing this game still feels like reading Hemingway as a 5 year- old.
- The first russian classic game which always comes to my mind if someone asks me, and that is something. (No, both Stalker and Metro games are Ukrainian francises)
- Extremely "hard-to-follow" or rather "what is going on lol" storyline;
- Dead Rising-like in-game timer (that is no one is going to wait for you, the game will end in certain amount of ingame days, whether you like it or not);
- Three characters, who's basically represent difficulty: Bachelor - normal (it is still hard af on your first playthough though), Haruspex - Hard, Changeling - Nightmare;
- Hoboconomy! Loot all the trash bins, trade those good with kids. (Teen girls for ammo, boys or little girls for drugs, YES);
- PLAGUE and everything that comes with it;
- "Best combat system 2005 no kappa I swear";
- Surreal world;
- Atmospheric soundtrack;
- NO CONS (well, people seem to complain about the terrible localization but it doesnt bother me);
I strongly recommend to play the game with Russian dub and English subs, 50% of the game's atmosphere is ruined with English dub.
9/10 from me, expected more improvements in the HD version. If you are into games with a strong story, get this one, you wont regret it. Classic which only gets better as it ages.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Maylage
73.1 hrs
Posted: July 26
Give it some love and use some common sense and the dated graphics really don't bother you, because this is a pretty great game.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
(ATaC) Zultan
39.8 hrs
Posted: July 20
Ever wondered in what exact manner your morality would begin to decay if the town you lived in was rotting from the inside out with an horrific plague? Play this game.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
13 of 13 people (100%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Recommended
18.9 hrs on record
Posted: August 5
Ah, the Pathologic (russian-speaking folks such as myself know this game as "Мор.Утопия".
Its been 11 years, and playing this game still feels like reading Hemingway as a 5 year- old.
- The first russian classic game which always comes to my mind if someone asks me, and that is something. (No, both Stalker and Metro games are Ukrainian francises)
- Extremely "hard-to-follow" or rather "what is going on lol" storyline;
- Dead Rising-like in-game timer (that is no one is going to wait for you, the game will end in certain amount of ingame days, whether you like it or not);
- Three characters, who's basically represent difficulty: Bachelor - normal (it is still hard af on your first playthough though), Haruspex - Hard, Changeling - Nightmare;
- Hoboconomy! Loot all the trash bins, trade those good with kids. (Teen girls for ammo, boys or little girls for drugs, YES);
- PLAGUE and everything that comes with it;
- "Best combat system 2005 no kappa I swear";
- Surreal world;
- Atmospheric soundtrack;
- NO CONS (well, people seem to complain about the terrible localization but it doesnt bother me);
I strongly recommend to play the game with Russian dub and English subs, 50% of the game's atmosphere is ruined with English dub.
9/10 from me, expected more improvements in the HD version. If you are into games with a strong story, get this one, you wont regret it. Classic which only gets better as it ages.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
9 of 9 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
46.1 hrs on record
Posted: August 12
Pathologic Classic HD.

(This review is solely based on my general knowledge of the game and my one playthrough as The Bachelor)


THE GOOD:
+ Thick and immersive atmosphere is bound to leave a strong impression on you and keep you on your toes for hours ;
+ Soundtrack is gorgeous and adds greatly to the atmosphere of the game. My favorite soundtrack in Horror themed games ;
+ One of the best plots I've ever played on a videogame. Everything is ingeniously connected ;
+ Lore is interesting and well handled throughout the game, only adding to the character development, plot and atmosphere ;
+ The characters are complex, interesting and display personalities and motivations you'd expect to find in the real world. Dialogues are well-written and entertaining ;
+ Your decisions matter. Chances are you won't know which ones matter most or at all, but you will see the consequences of your decisions sooner or later ;
+ Survival mechanics are simple yet effective and quite significant, molding your experience and perception of the environment ;
+ Good replay value - you can play 3 different characters through 3 different paths, with different character interactions and quests, leading you to uncover things you didn't uncover in the previous playthrough.
+ Worth the full price of about 13€/15$. On sale about every 2 months, I believe.


THE BAD:
- There are some typos. After about 60% of my progress, I would get typos on every other dialogue scene ;
- Combat is clunky and unappealing. Gameplay overall feels weak even for the 2005 game OG Pathologic was, only this is the remastered version of 2015. Good thing that you can avoid combat nearly altogether ;
- User Interface is a trainwreck. It's really just a bunch of shortcuts to different menus that can't even save the pages where you've left them. Something as simple as switching items feels like a chore. Can be distressing ;
- Graphics are pretty bad. Much like the gameplay, they were already mediocre back in 2005. For the 2015 remaster, all the developers seem to have done was add a couple of lighting effects and 1080p support. Pretty dope ;
- While endorsing the whole "hardcore" orientation of the game, the absence of a small starting tutorial feels unjustified.


THE DISCLAIMERS:
- This game doesn't carry the translation issues over from the original game like some people claim it does, I felt quite the opposite (I did not play the original, but I also couldn't find any translation issues to begin with) ;
- Many people crutch their opinions on the pretense that dialogues and overall vocabulary used in the game is pretentious and uncomprehensible at times. The game clearly builds around a remote town with admittedly strange people and it doesn't try to bypass this fact. During my experience, for almost every weird metaphor and analogy any character would spew, my character (who "comes from the city") would give me the option to ask for a simpler answer in the form of a warm "Are you going crazy?" or a literal "What the hell do you mean with all that?". For a game with such a cast of eccentric characters, it actually, simply cannot get any more self-aware ;
- I've seen people trash this game for how repetitive it gets, with all the back and forth tracking for completing quests and lack of action - It's a plot driven game, Sherlock, and curiously enough, it does compare to the Sherlock Holmes games more than it compares to Silent Hill, Serious Sam or whatever you were looking for here ;


Although obviously falling under the Survival Horror genre umbrella, this game isn't remotely comparable to the vast majority of the most reknowned games in this genre, such as Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, etc. If I had to tag this game for how it feels to me, I would tag it as a "Plot-driven Survival Thriller". Although this game is, admittedly, technically weak, I've had over 40 hours in-game without finding any bugs whatsoever. I didn't find Pathologic to be a very hard game in terms of difficulty, only perhaps a very hard game to get into. Upon starting a playthrough for the first time, it's good to keep in mind this is the remaster of a 2005 indie game. Like most of the old games before modern engines made games feel more natural and intuitive, Pathologic has to be learned and there is nothing quite like it when you do, which is also a big compliment when you're not talking about the technical aspects. Be aware that this game is heavily text-based and voice acting is almost non-existent. Since ugly alternative looking indie games are in vogue these days, if you're looking for a plot rich indie game with some adventure thrown in, this might be the game for you.

Now, Pathologic is punishing and it doesn't cater to the player like most games do at some point, regardless of genre. If you're looking for a "fun" game, you're better off trying elsewhere. Pathologic will deceive you, it will discourage you and make you feel like crap in the process. As a reward, you'll be given the chance to slowly and progressively discover the town's well kept secrets. That is, if you manage to make it through each day, which in itself will too feel rewarding, although strongly devalued by the game's narration and overall flow. If you're into challenging games, this approach might actually motivate you to keep tackling through the game.

I recommend this game wholeheartedly.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
7 of 10 people (70%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Recommended
16.9 hrs on record
Posted: August 5
This game is bad.
This story, this world, this atmosphere, is absolutely brilliant.

If you're feeling suicidal, this is honestly a perfect fit for you.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
10.7 hrs on record
Posted: August 20
This is a desert on the threshold of death.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
66.3 hrs on record
Posted: August 16
A criminally under rated gem of a game. Definitely one of, if not the most unique playing experiences I've ever had. The biggest flaws come from the fact that the project was more ambitious than the development teams budget and current technology would allow in 2005, and it shows. If you can get past its technical difficulties, clunky gameplay, bizzare/unsettling faces (I'm looking at you, Carouser) and somewhat outdated graphics, it's a great play.

Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
Recommended
7.5 hrs on record
Posted: August 15
A truly excellent story.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
322 of 343 people (94%) found this review helpful
50 people found this review funny
Recommended
32.6 hrs on record
Posted: October 29, 2015
Oh God. Oh God. OH GOD. SAVE ME. They remastered it.

This may be the best game I've played in years. Strike that, this is the best game I've played in years. My background picture comes from this game. My facebook background picture comes from this game. I damaged my social relationships to a frankly alarming point by talking about this game to everyone I knew. I've skipped entire nights of sleep, just because I was too fascinated (my hands were literally shaking) by the approaching climax. I've let my beard grow wild and my eyes became those of a haunted doctor struggling against an invisible, inexorable enemy, just like the character I was playing. For weeks after completing it for the first time, I dreamt of mad bulls, of crows, of tunnels full of whispers in an alien tongue, of dark wells, of lies and treasons. Oh, the lies, the lies this game tells you.

But we'll get to that a bit later. First things first.



Pathologic is a 2006 russian game about an early XXth century small fictional town located in the middle of the russian steppe. A few days after the beginning of the game, the unnamed town is beset by a mysterious plague and everything starts falling into utter chaos. You are a healer and your goal is to discover the source of the plague and put an end to it.

You are given a choice between three characters : the Bachelor, man of logic and reason and professional doctor by trade ; the Haruspex, both learned in classical medicine and in the ancient local traditions of shamanism ; and the Changeling, a mysterious young vagrant girl who claims she can perform miracles. You have to complete the game as either the Haruspex or the Bachelor to be able to play as the Changeling (Devotress in the original version).


What you are reading is a review of the remastered version that came out on Steam on 29/10/2015, not to be confused with the remake of Pathologic, scheduled for November 2016. Aside from polished graphics, the main point of the remastered version is a way better english translation and a better voice acting. The original made quite some waves in Russia when it originally came out, but due to a very bad english translation and poor voice acting, wasn't very well-received abroad, and since it was the first game of the studio, they had very little at their disposal in terms of advertising. In any case, those problems are over now, thank Zeus, and Pathologic Classic HD is perfectly understandable and "enjoyable", so to those of you who played the original and think : "All well and good, Zyphilis, but I already bought and played this game a while ago, could you please get to the point and tell me if I should buy it again ?", I say yes. Do help yourselves to another slice of trauma.



Now that all that tedious stuff is said, let's get to the interesting part. Why is Pathologic unique ? What makes it so good ? What makes it "the best game you've never played" (quoted from a massive, outstanding review made by an RPS journalist named Quintin Smith, review that you should absolutely read, but only after completing the game because it's so full of spoilers) ?



Pathologic is ambitious. Impossibly ambitious. Its main theme is sickness and everything in the game revolves around it. If you've played The Void, another masterpiece by Ice-Pick Lodge, you know that the studio has a knack for deep links between gameplay and story (as root1902 and pointed out in his excellent review), and this is where I think Pathologic borders on pure genius : little by little, you will realise that what you initially thought to be a clunky gameplay design is actually a deeply thought-out device to make you feel uncomfortable, unwell - in a word, sick. Sick, exactly like the town you must save at all costs.

This is what the bleak colour palette, growing ever more sinister as the end nears, will make you feel. This is what the tough, unforgiving, clunky combats will make you feel : that you are a sick, desperate man/woman forced to fight for survival. Which you are. This is what I meant when I said before that while playing it I felt the same way my character did. This is why the first thing you see when starting a new game are the three main actors on a stage. This is why the very first people you talk to are two grim masked figures, more or less telling you this : "Welcome, delicious friend ! You will have a great role to play in this tragedy".

Do you see it ? Do you see how this is genius ?

Pathologic irresistibly draws you into its world and makes you a part of it. Little by little, perhaps without you even noticing, like a gentle cough in winter that just doesn't seem to go away, you'll start to have the diffuse but distinct, terrifying feeling that you must save this town not only to beat the game, but because by doing so, you'll save yourself somehow.


_________________________________________
(Work in progress)


So far I've played 2 of the 3 characters the game lets you play, the Bachelor and the Changeling. I'm planning of playing it (at least) one more time with the Haruspex, and then complete this review.
_________________________________________


In the meantime, do yourself some good (in a terrible, terrible way). Buy Pathologic and step into the storm.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
210 of 219 people (96%) found this review helpful
12 people found this review funny
Recommended
13.5 hrs on record
Posted: October 30, 2015
Pathologic is a game where you have to choose between following up on promising information or breaking into a house to ransack it for food and medicine. it's a game where you either give a woman some medicine to ease her suffering even though she's terminal anyway or stab a little girl in the face with a scalpel and take some bullets from her body so you can postpone your own death. there's no "moral choices". there's no good or evil. everything's ♥♥♥♥ed and everything hates you and everyone around you is going to die and the few who don't are going to lie to you and use you and force you to do their ♥♥♥♥ for them.

you aren't going to have fun. if you're looking for a game that rewards you for doing good, look elsewhere. the most reward you'll get is not being as hungry after you eat some bread, which is important because otherwise you'll die. you get hungry, you get tired, you get sick, your clothes fall apart, your food goes bad, your weapons break, and as the people around you begin to die you scramble to stay one step ahead of the Plague. every second of every day counts, because it's a second you could be spending in any number of ways, and those seconds are seconds not spent doing something equally important somewhere else. all you can do is hope to survive one more day and find a cure, or an answer, or a reason to keep playing.

in an industry where the maturity of a game's story is measured by how many sex scenes it has or how many times "this choice will be remembered" pops up in the corner, Pathologic stands out as an awkward tumor ― awkward because, in spite of its deceptive appearance, it is in fact the only part of that body that has not fallen victim to the cancer.
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122 of 129 people (95%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
Recommended
86.7 hrs on record
Posted: October 29, 2015
Hands down, the best game I have ever played!

Pathologic is a very ambitious, very unique, genre-bending, medium-defining video game which does things no other game has done before or since. It is also devilishly vague, extremely difficult, incredibly slow and takes place entirely within one small greyish town over a period of about 30 hours. But as you go on you realise its incredibly slow pacing, its single greyish location, its trudging from one place to another are all essential to creating such an incredible atmosphere and game.

It tells the story of a small Russian town in the early 20th century steeped in tradition and built on the back of its meat industry. As you arrive in town, the leader of the town, who had spread propaganda of his own immortality is found dead from a disease known as "the sand plague". News of this plague then begins to spread throughout town and the game's excellent cast of characters all react in differing ways. The interaction with the characters is one of the game's greatest strengths, with every character acting in their own interests as the paranoia of the plague and the loss of the town's steady leadership begin to spread. The characters are generally really well written and easy to empathise with, which makes the political conflict in between them really intriguing and often you will be torn between different characters as you learn to understand their motivations and traits throughout the game. The story itself is also really rich and has some of the greatest twists and most intriguing characters in all of gaming.

But it's not the narrative which makes Pathologic great, so much as they way the narrative is implemented into the game. Never have I played a game which blends story and gameplay so well. This is for a couple of reasons: Firstly, as the story is told over a perpetual timeframe of 12 days, different characters will live or die depending on whether you complete the main quest on each day and your interaction with the characters may change their personality and how they try to react or reason with themselves over the inevitable demise of the town. This gives a sense of panic to your own actions as you know if you don't complete them in time certain important characters may die and you'll never find the end of the story. The player also has the choice of controlling one of three characters at the beginning of this game - all these characters have their own perspective of the disease and interact with the characters and narrative in an entirely different way. The other two characters who you didn't chose still take part in the narrative anyway and even more interestingly - you may come in conflict with them but never realise their motivation unless you play as the other character.

But more importantly than that is the survival gameplay and Pathologic has by far and away the best survival system of any game I've ever played. It features 6 main survival mechanics - reputation, health, immunity, hunger, exhaustion and infection and these survival mechanics are all balanced heavily against each other. By this I mean, if you are feeling hungry you might find a lemon or raw meat, these quench your hunger but may weaken your immune system. You may feel exhausted and need sleep but while sleeping you cannot eat or take medication so your hunger will rise and your immunity levels will drop. You may be out of food and need to attack innocent people to get some simply to stop yourself starving to death, thus causing your reputation to diminish etc. Trying to increase one of your survival mechanics may cause another one to decrease and so on, so there is this constant balancing act going on and make no mistake, balancing these survival mechanics is hard. But that is exactly what makes the survival system so great - it's always nagging away at you, never giving you a moment's rest as the time ticks on and it creates this incredibly stressful and emotionally dejected feeling which really allows you to experience the situation and unrest the plague has caused and allows you to understand the rationale behind the characters.

Though there are two other things which add to the brutal survival system which heighten this inescapable sense of tension even more: 1. the economy and 2. the changing nature of the town day by day. The economy was apparently based on the World War I economy of eastern europe to represent the panic of a disease ridden town and it is merciless. Money is scarce so trading is the general way you are going to get things, the only problem is that shop keepers have all the power and so basic amenities such as bread, milk and medicine all become ridiculously overpriced. At times you will have to hand over weapons, bullets and protective clothing all for a lemon just to stop yourself dying of hunger. The economy only gets worse as the days go on too and shortages of different things (food, medicine, clothing etc.) means they fluctuate day to day making it unpredictable as to what you need to hoard adding to the tension even more. There are other ways to find resources though - scavenging bins around town to find trinkets and bottles will allow you to help trade with the townsfolk. Sharp things can be traded with children (and that was one thing which made me feel guilty) for ammo and sometimes food and bottles can be filled up with water at the well in town and traded with drunks for medicine and health items. Thieves and murderers who come out at night and start you can also be killed and then robbed of money, lockpicks and resources and finally, you can break into people's houses and steal their final resources from their own home. However, it's incredibly disconcerting when you start robbing people's homes and the men of the house start trying to attack you to defend their home and it's amazing how much this got to me. That was perhaps the greatest and most creative aspect of the of the economy - the way it made me feel guilty. At the beginning of the game, I wanted to be as nice as I could, but survival is so difficult I was forced to break into people's homes and steal their things, even kill a couple of innocent men simply trying to defend their homes and it surprised me how genuinely bad this made me feel, but it's testament to just how immersive and beautifully designed Pathologic truly is.

The town's ever changing nature is also another factor which make Pathologic so immersive and so emotionally draining. It's a cliché of Pathologic reviews to use this sentence, but: much is talked about in open world games in trying to create a "living world", whereas Pathologic does the opposite: it creates a "dying world" and by doing so creates this incredibly lively and riveting environment. Day by day, different areas become infected - different characters are introduced and react through different events. Riots begin to happen, military men with flamethrowers come in to stop the infection spreading. The sand plague becomes more and more potent as the days tick by and the town, its economy and its people begin to become more infected and more panicked as a result.

And this unyielding tension is only added to fantastic ambient soundtrack and the drab but fitting art design which all creates this amazing and utterly unique atmosphere.

Pathologic isn't just about building atmosphere therefore by reaching a certain point in the narrative and then a cut scene happens. Pathologic isn't an interactive film, or an interactive tv show, it's interactive theatre - it's about watching a slowly decaying town in front of your eyes and trying to survive yourself within that! For every minute I spent with this game I felt the muscles in the pit of my stomach tighten - it made me feel extremely tense, guilty and dejected at just trying to survive. It is one of the most emotionally draining experiences I've ever had in just about any art/entertainment medium.
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110 of 125 people (88%) found this review helpful
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Recommended
1.6 hrs on record
Posted: October 31, 2015
This is a positive review about one girl and her love for Pathologic. First, let me tell you how I came across this game. In 2005 I was at the market in Minsk, and while passing by the video game kiosk i was stopped in tracks as my eye caught a glimpse of the original Mor Utiopia (Pathologic) CD design. I approached it and ask the salesman what the game was about. The way the two men who worked there described me left it zing in my head.. so I bought the game. i did not own a PC because I was poor. But.. I bough tthe game anyway, because then th enext goal was to find somewhere to play it. I was obsessed with the idea of this world, I memorized every word on the cover. Still, I was only able to launch it when I moved to Canada in 2006. Launch would be a stretch because the second CD did not work... Lets fast forward to 2007. I managed to get a hold of a new copy (relative brought over). It FINALLY launched! I loved every second of it, the story was rich...then PC got upgraded to Windows 7, which was not supported by the security verification system that came on the CD (support up to Vista)...So I couldn't play anymore. :/ A year after that I re-bought it again on Gamers Gate because I still didnt play as the girl and I felt like I missed out. (played for her, it was amazing, obviously. *tears of joy*). Then a few years later a remake was announced and I was SO. STOKED. (still am.) Then last week i was checking the upcoming games and saw this Classic HD edition... SO I said "well ♥♥♥♥, am I not going to support my favourite developers because I already bought this game so many times? Hell no". SO, after buying Pathologic 4 times... maybe I can now finally complete the third and last character! :) I also bought this game for 2 other people because everyone deserves to know how great this game is. ANyway, I am really happy with this release. I will keep buying Ice Pick Lodge games, even if I have to do it over and over again.
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