Pathologic 2 is a Plague! A review of a neglected game

Many people have long ago got used to the idea that they don't make good games in Russia (apparently, by analogy with movies and other media products). If we take this fact as a given, then without exaggeration I postulate: the creators of Pathologic 2 are the last hope of Russian game industry.
Before I became acquainted with this, I dare say, work, I personally knew nothing about its developers, namely about Ice-Pick Lodge, and their games. As probably many people who are used to follow mostly "high-profile" projects and novelties.

The game itself is, in fact, a remake of their 2005 original titled "Mor. Utopia", in English Pathologic.




Actually, when after Layers of Fear 2, choosing a game to review, I read the phrase "author's story art thriller" in the description, of course I just got so jazzed, because I've had enough of the murky crap in Layers of Fear. However, when I found out that the developer was domestic, I couldn't restrain my curiosity. And, as it turned out, for good reason.

Immediately


from the start, even on the loading screen, we are warned, they say: "You may not immediately understand what's going on
.
But soon the picture will start to come together." And that's damn nice and thoughtful of the developers, especially after the ill-fated Layers of Fear 2. And yes, I do not accidentally bring it up again, because we find ourselves in a kind of theater and we are also told: "play your part".

True, here at least they give the director a glimpse into his sly mug.


The theater, on the other hand, is not so simple: there are beds with sick people everywhere, and dead bodies stacked behind the stage. After talking to a couple of suspicious individuals, we leave the theater (dash) hospital and stomp through the streets of the city, which is clearly experiencing bad times: the streets are in chaos, soldiers are burning people with flame throwers and there are clouds of black dust everywhere.



We reach what appears to be those in power: The "inquisitor" and the "commander," who report that everything has been spent, you've let everyone down, the cure for the plague in the city hasn't arrived by the deadline, and now the city will be bombed.

Again the sly-ass director shows up and offers to start all over again. Like, to start the story from the beginning (although we don't seem to have had time to BEGIN THE STORY).


In

the

present beginning

we are given a brief explanation of who we are, as well as where we're going and why we're going at all

! And then you have to watch what happens!


We find ourselves in a freight train car, a coffin falls out of the crates, a man gets out and starts chatting to us. The train goes off the tracks, we get off, a huge bull is standing on the tracks, fires are burning all around, talking stuffed animals with bird beaks are nearby, and we walk into a cloud of ashes. We're back on the train with a man, who offers to play dice for fortune. We find ourselves in a house with plague patients, we get a woman some water. We wake up in the train again, chatting. We move to a clearing with some steppe dudes and incomprehensible weirdos, fight an aggressive Mongol, and then swap HERSELF with him. The train arrived, the man says goodbye, we go out, we find ourselves in my father's house, we open one of the doors and get out of the train again. The bandits attack and they fly off quite easily at the hands of the protagonist. The game begins.



Do you know what really happened? We were taught almost all the game's mechanics: dialogues, collecting and using items, the key character traits, fighting, trading, and we were also given an introductory information about the storyline and started to immerse ourselves in a rather gloomy and mysterious atmosphere.



And from that moment on, the game will almost completely stop dictating what to do and where to go, and leave complete freedom of action and movement.

SettingThe town


where the story takes place is not a small one and is divided into districts, in each of which you will have a reputation scale, changing depending on certain actions
.




At its level of "You're not welcome here" and lower residents and stores in the area will refuse to communicate or trade with you, and at the level of "Here you hate" passers-by men and day and night will just immediately attack and beat your face up to the lethal end.



Drain the same reputation will be extremely easy, especially at the beginning of the game, when, without knowing the city, you can simply talk to the population to throw suspicion on yourself and suddenly find that everywhere attitude has dropped to a minimum value. Only the cemetery won't be a problem: after all, "you're always welcome here.

There will be many people living in the ill-fated town: the townspeople-workers, the tribal inhabitants of the steppes, the strange Odonga creatures, the half-naked women, the street children who have formed their own independent communities, the three main families who hold power in the town, as well as a host of plot characters with their own histories and relationships.





The conflict between the various groups and personalities is an important part of the plot, and since there is no separation of black and white and everyone has a well-founded motive, it is often not easy to choose who to support.

GameplayFreedom


of action in Pathologic 2 is no-nonsense, I'd say, mature. Throughout the game, you'll be forced to do almost no actions at all. In the preface makes it clear that you have to live in the city for 12 days, but you can, roughly speaking, for all this time just lock yourself in a house or run away into the fields (which, incidentally, I could not find the boundaries). Time will go forward, without reference to any triggers or plot cutscenes, and events in the city will evolve regardless of your involvement. Another thing is that you are unlikely to survive without getting involved in something.

Speaking of surviving. Did I mention yet that Pathologic 2 is a survival? And yes, it's also, in turn, no joke at all, I'd even say one of the hardest, if not the hardest, I've ever played. If you look at the game's steam page, for example, you'll find that almost every negative (and many of the positive) reviews will refer to the inadequate difficulty.



Now, under public pressure, the game seems to have added the ability to reduce the difficulty, but here in the original difficulty it is definitely not for casuals. Welcome to all lovers of unlit chokes and all sorts of axes.

No, I'm serious right now. Sooner or later there comes such a depletion of resources that it's hard to believe you'll even make it. Judging by reports from the community, a lot of people quit because of this, even though they liked the game: they just couldn't get through.

This should be emphasized: the game does not allow you to relax at all, from the word go. No matter how hard you try, Mohr forcibly forces you to give up the habits of relaxed play and the ability to provide your character with everything you need. Absolutely takes you out of your comfort zone and makes you really feel the plight of the hero, when you have to sleep anywhere, you have no time to do anything, and you do not know if there will be food at least for the second half of the day.



Just incredible, monstrous and unquenchable hunger will drive you forward, and time flies faster and faster every day, even during the fucking shifting of items to go forward, depriving you of any chance to catch up with all the things that will incessantly arise.
Mor also won't let you save yourself: only in certain places in the city there will be clocks, only by means of which it will be possible.

VariationA


desire to stay alive is certain: It is impossible to be everywhere
in time.
And the hero, ready to die at any moment from hunger, or from fatigue, or from wounds, or from infection, in conditions of severe incomplete information will have to constantly make a choice, which depends on the fate of the characters and the city as a whole.



And yes, choice will mean, again, real "adult" variation. Not the feigned illusion of choice so beloved by modern developers, in the style of games from the late Telltale Games, for example.

No, depending on your actions (or inactions) practical any characters can die or survive, and the number of passing options will tend to infinity: for Mores - it's like life - they throw you to the mercy of fate, and then COULD and somehow twist yourself, no one will lead the hand.

As I mentioned before, the city will live (or die) without you. There will always be more paths and things to do than you can do, so Pathologic 2 doesn't shy away from hinting right from the start at its replayability. I won't say anything about the number of endings, but I can definitely say that there is more than one.

PlotTo


make a long story short, the plot is great
.
The world, the setting, and especially the atmosphere is unparalleled. The florid dialogues with the characters and their intricate phrases felt like a writer's handwriting, and the sum total, I personally felt the spirit of Dostoevsky's works with an admixture of mystical fantasy.



There is a crazy amount of symbolism and mysterious details, which as if slightly hinted at the secrets of the city: whether it be districts, with names like "kidney", "womb", "heart", "backbone" etc., a strange division of characters in the magazine categories of "blood", "bones", "nerves" or "voice of the plague", which can be heard in fact.



The detective investigation of all the stories turns out to be fascinating and addictive in its mystery and atmosphere, and what happens throughout most of the game can be described as something like "nothing is clear, but very interesting".

And most importantly: most of the questions you really can find the answer to! If you try, of course.

In short, I warmly recommend this game to fans of deeply thought-out worlds and cool plots.

Some consCourse


, the game is not perfect
.
First - it's still a long-building turkey from the Russian developers, the production funds which raised all over the world. Hence a number of disadvantages common to budget projects: the interface pieces jump out, disrupting the atmosphere, the passage through the door will cause flickering of textures.

And here the characters in the bar as the icicles lined up, waiting for the main character to come up to talk to them:



Learning stealth mode or stupidly was not, or it flashed unnoticed, so that I somehow managed to get through the whole game without it, and its existence became known only through a screenshot on the loading screen towards the end of the game



.





Also, judging by the reviews, the optimization suffers and many have serious problems with the performance in the game, the graphics in which for 2019, to be honest, is a little outdated. Well, I already mentioned above about the raging hunger and complexity - I personally, hardcore game took me to a kind of masochistic delight and made me really feel all the weight of the burden on the shoulders of a poor provincial doctor in an isolated plague-ridden city.


ConclusionSo


what do we have in the end?

Pathologic 2 is much deeper than it first appears and is an extremely versatile work, the likes of which are incredibly rare to come out these days.

It's both:
-The first full-fledged urban survival simulator I've ever seen.
-The simulator of a doctor looking for a cure for the plague, as well as cutting out kidneys and selling human blood to buy himself pies.
-Simulator of the nineties, when at any moment you can be stabbed by a thug and the streets are fucked up non-stop.
-Simulator of a homeless guy eating at the throat and picking up empty bottles from the trash.
-Simulator of a babysitter with a bunch of homeless, suicidal, schizophrenic kids with no instinct for self-preservation.

It also has boobs.



And, after all, in what other game can you trade kids' fucking MORPHY for peanuts?



One of the few cases where the Steam tags: "atmosphere", "deep story" and "survival" really describe the game itself 100%.

Pathologic 2 has something that many modern games don't - you'll need to actually play it! Not to sluggishly press a few buttons and watch the progress of the cinch on the screen, but to play thoughtfully and figure it all out on your own.

I wish Ice-Pick Lodge take the box office with this product and use the proceeds to keep making this kind of shit for us.

And I say goodbye to you, play domestic games and until the next review? video review, pathologic 2, pestilence, game review, indie, russia Write a comment Total comments: 21