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Pathologic 2

Developer: Ice-Pick Lodge Publisher: tinyBuild Games
23 May 2019
Pathologic 2 - cover art
Glitchwave rating
4.35 / 5.0
0.5
5.0
 
 
335 Ratings /
#13 All-time
#3 for 2019
Resist the plague. Make medicine. Heal people. Perform an autopsy. Trade to get what you need. Fight and kill if necessary. Survive. Struggle with an outbreak in a secluded rural town that is rapidly turning into hell. You can't save everyone.
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Title
"Such is our town. You know it yourself: It's a very good village. Beautiful people live here, infusing it with a very spiritual dream. There's no real, villainous crime here. Even the rats and the thieves are softer."
Certain stories are so deep and strange that you just can't get them off your mind. When I played Yume Nikki as a teenager, I waited with baited breath every day to get off school and reenter that world of dreams. I've watched movies like Jacob's Ladder, Possession, and The Master many times each, trying to peel back their layers of mystery. Books like The Ark Sakura by Kobo Abe, Unclay by T.F. Powys, The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, and Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews have kept my eyes stapled to the page in wonder, dying to know what happens next. As I get older, fewer and fewer things manage to provoke this level of awe in me. So, I'm grateful Pathologic 2 summoned those feelings in me once again.

This isn't a game you can multitask-- there is no podcast that's appropriate to listen to in the background, no movie you can play in another window and commit half your attention to. Pathologic demands your full attention, so you can concentrate on the beautiful poetry of the dialogue (when a character informs you that they've "been to the river, spoken with the Changeling, seen the soldiers in the fog," my mind went to W.H. Auden, T.S. Eliot, and Dylan Thomas) bathe in the immersive atmosphere, and fully acquaint yourself with the many empathetically-sketched characters. Everyone will walk away from this game with a favorite character. For some it will be Murky, the lovable orphan girl, for some it'll be Daniil Dankovsky, the effete, cosmopolitan physician, for some it'll be gravel-hearted Lara Ravel, the prickly and beautiful childhood companion who dreams of establishing a sanctuary for the sick. But, whoever your favorite ends up being, you'll know it when it happens, even if you never could've predicted that it was going to be them. I like Murky, Lara, Aspity, Oyun, and Aglaya. This game has fantastic writing, in both its dialogue and its plot beats/quests, and the abundance of good words to read will, in the end, make you feel as if you've read some lost masterpiece by Kafka, Dostoevsky, or Bulgakov.

Culturally, this game is steeped in Russian literature and history, and admirers of the aforementioned authors will feel at home in its pessimism, melancholy, surrealism, and wry humor. Visually, it seems to take from the films of Andrei Tarkovsky and Aleksei German, those great Soviet-era film directors who looked at Russia's blasted landscapes and depopulated industrial zones and imagined a science-fictional world of the spirit, a psychic place where man constantly dreams and dreams again of a society better than all the ones we've managed to devise so far. You don't need a familiarity with Russian art and culture to play this game, but if you have a working knowledge of it, you'll be amazed at the way it continues and expands the work of those great artists of the past.

Something that particularly amazed me was the story it told of an indigenous man, Artemy Burakh, half white and half native to the Siberian steppe (or, rather, native to a thinly veiled composite of several indigenous Northeast Asian racial groups-- the Kin are a fictional tribe, but they are very believable, and closely modeled after real groups from Siberia and Mongolia). The white denizens of the Town fight for Artemy's allegiant soul, and the steppe-dwelling Kin do as well. The whites see him as a truant native man, and the Kin sees him as a prodigal son, a man aspiring to whiteness. His speech is peppered with the language of his indigenous heritage, and yet fewer and vanishingly fewer of those he speaks to can understand those words. I have never seen a smarter or more subtle depiction of race and colonialism in a video game.

And, of course, there is the disease pandemic, the "sand plague," as it's called in P2. Astoundingly, P2 was released mere months before the COVID-19 outbreak, and it's eerily prescient of the trials we face now. In P2, uninfected citizens will assure you that the sick aren't worth treating, since they're essentially already dead. This is a horrible reflection of our own world, where the elderly and infirm are used as bartering chips for our economies, where the most vulnerable among us are encouraged to lay their lives on the line to give money to corporations and to grease the wheels of finance. Let the old folks go to the Applebee's, they say-- Applebee's needs the money, and if the old folks die, it was their time.

This game was an independent production and has a few gameplay janks and quirks. Others have noted its poor optimization, and, indeed, its performance was choppy on my computer, stuttering and chugging along basically every time I played. That I stuck with it is a credit to its quality in other areas. Another flaw that I haven't seen others complaining about is its undercooked day/night system, which is a little unsophisticated and can cause storytelling and immersion problems. Many quests become unavailable at midnight, and while the pressure to start and finish quests in a timely manner usually added wonderful layers of suspense, on at least one occasion I would start a quest at 11:30pm, get halfway through it, and then watch helplessly as all the relevant NPCs vanished around me as the clock struck twelve, rendering the quest unfinishable. This is probably the biggest complaint I can file against Pathologic 2, and since it's a complaint that will ultimately encourage me to happily replay the game, I can't call it a major problem.

This is a smart and uncondescending game. It will not hold your hand or tell you how to win. It expects you use your mind and your creativity. If you do, you'll be rewarded. It is deep, immersive, emotional, and will stick with you for a long time.
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saltmarieceleste 2020-07-27T19:41:57Z
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Catalog

handcannon Pathologic 2 2022-09-27T03:39:45Z
2022-09-27T03:39:45Z
2.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
grapettesoda Pathologic 2 2022-09-25T06:34:25Z
2022-09-25T06:34:25Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
lostmonkeys2 Pathologic 2 2022-09-23T19:05:00Z
2022-09-23T19:05:00Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
pc steam
Nagual Pathologic 2 2022-09-22T16:59:34Z
Windows
2022-09-22T16:59:34Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
WirClkWir Pathologic 2 2022-09-22T00:09:16Z
2022-09-22T00:09:16Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Nebneb11 Pathologic 2 2022-09-21T10:52:15Z
2022-09-21T10:52:15Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Xiuhcoatl Pathologic 2 2022-09-21T05:08:42Z
2022-09-21T05:08:42Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
FlexxReaper Pathologic 2 2022-09-20T17:09:39Z
2022-09-20T17:09:39Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Steam
emaqed Pathologic 2 2022-09-20T16:35:59Z
2022-09-20T16:35:59Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Robo1662 Pathologic 2 2022-09-19T14:50:48Z
2022-09-19T14:50:48Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
taojae Pathologic 2 2022-09-19T07:04:31Z
2022-09-19T07:04:31Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
ylwluv Pathologic 2 2022-09-18T01:17:25Z
2022-09-18T01:17:25Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Player modes
Single-player
Early access date
30 aug 2018
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  • Мор
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  • Previous comments (58) Loading...
  • synden 2022-07-08 17:59:03.312249+00
    What a game. Wowow. The way it always imposes itself over you is incredible - it always puts you in your place just when you thought you've outsmarted it.
    reply
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  • eddybeiss 2022-07-09 06:29:27.816001+00
    Insane
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  • Stabbed 2022-07-30 03:23:24.283525+00
    that part. you know the one. that part.
    reply
    • eddybeiss 2022-08-04 18:31:36.392614+00
      The whole game is that part
    • Stabbed 2022-08-05 21:15:05.790131+00
      yeah, but... y'know. on day 10.
    • eddybeiss 2022-08-06 18:20:04.454249+00
      i gotchu
    • More replies New replies ) Loading...
  • Bashkesh 2022-08-07 06:51:52.106665+00
    playing this stresses me out so much and I’m only on day 3, it feels like I can just slip and completely fail at every step, amazing game
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  • TheSaltman 2022-09-12 08:08:04.800086+00
    Started playing finally after building a completely new pc, on my previous rig it ran so poorly that it was downright unplayable, even with the lowest settings. The atmosphere is super thick, especially in the intro. I also love how ominous nearly every interaction is.
    reply
    • TheSaltman 2022-09-12 08:10:06.953562+00
      That being said, it's incredible just how poorly optimized this is, it runs flawlessly performance wise but GPU is stressed to 99% especially with character dialogue, had to cap the frame rate to avoid the card's fans turning into a jet plane.
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  • DiscoNightFever 2022-09-26 07:09:13.839658+00
    Top 10 :o
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