This is not a game that I
suspect many people will warm too, and not just because of the bleak and
unsettling nature of the plot. It wasnít easy or engaging when I played
it 10 years ago, and the HD makeover hasnít changed that. Yet something
about it is compelling, enough to make me keep going, and to look
forward to the remake that is in production.
Pathologic is about a town dying
from a plague. Into that town come three people trying to understand and
stop it, one of whom is you. You can choose which of the three you are,
but one is only available after playing one of the other two. So you
have a choice of two, but one choice gets you beaten senseless and
marked as an outlaw before anything really gets going, so I suggest
there is only one real choice, being the Bachelor, short for Bachelor of
Medicine. Which is the choice I (eventually) made.
If that sounded a little
convoluted, then I made it deliberately so. Why? Because so much of this
game is like that. Or rather, so much goes on, and you manage so much,
and yet you can choose to do very little, ignoring almost everything and
just trying to stay alive, which will be a challenging resource
management task in itself, well before anyone tries to kill you. The
whole while time marches on, there are 12 days to survive, and everyone
else is doing whatever they are doing.
Your choices make a difference,
and you can see some of them in action, and in 2006 nothing much of what
I played did that. What other people do also makes a difference, and
with time passing, I was never quite sure whether if I had I got
somewhere or done something first, or in a different order, or spoken to
someone before they went and did something else, things might have been
different. Which suggests a great degree of replayability but which I
also found a little overwhelming.
You will spend a lot of time
walking about, talking to people, and scrounging to keep the plague at
bay. Almost everything is open to you, so while the premise is simple,
the world is not. Tasks become available, and you will become
responsible for others.
The look is something you canít
really ignore, muted and dated yet still weirdly attractive. The
angular, sharp-edged character models top things off. Sound is the same,
and eventually you will learn when to run.
You play first person, using the
keyboard and mouse. I never thought I mastered them, especially when
engaged in combat. I used them though and moved on.
I could say more, but in the
end, Pathalogic is a game you really need to experience for yourself. It
is like so many other types of games in various ways, but also like
nothing else. I can understand why it got a small but devoted following,
and also why not many people played it. The original translation from
its native Russian didnít help, but is part of the make over, although
why the conversations should be any more comprehensible than other
things I donít know.
I probably havenít made it sound
compelling at all, and it wonít be to many. I donít think I enjoyed it,
but the mood and the desire to unravel a little more of its dense depths
will ultimately bring me back.
I played on:
OS: Windows 7
Processor: Intel i7-3820 4GHz
RAM: 12GB Ripjaw DDR3 2133 Mhz
Video card: AMD Radeon
HD 7800 2048MB
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