Pathologic (2005)

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This entry refers to the original Pathologic (2005).

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Pathologic (Russian: Мор. Утопия; English: Pestilence. Utopia) is a 2005 "psychological horror adventure survival role-playing" video game developed by Russian game studio Ice-Pick Lodge.

It was published in Russia and other CIS countries by Buka Entertainment. The game was published in Europe on 18 August 2006 by G2 Games. An updated version of the original game titled Pathologic Classic HD, featuring a new English translation, updated graphics, and enhanced compatibility, and was developed by General Arcade for Microsoft Windows. It was released on 29 October 2015, being published by Gambitious Digital Entertainment and Devolver Digital.

Gameplay

The game is about three characters who are mostly known by their titles: the Bachelor (Бакалавр), the Haruspex (Гаруспик), and the Changeling (Самозванка). Each of them tries to uncover the source of a strange lethal sickness known as the "sand plague" that has befallen a small town. Although players can play as each of them, there is only one storyline, which is seen from different points of view depending upon the chosen character. The ability to uncover some secrets depend on which character is being played and the characters also interact with the other two unchosen characters and discuss their progress over the course of the game.

The game takes place in a perpetual world over a time frame of 12 in-game days. Throughout each day, the player receives quests from non-player characters, however, the game continues regardless of whether they are completed or not. At exactly midnight of each day, the incomplete quests are erased from the player's notebook. Quests are divided into main missions (one per day), which decide if a major character will die, and side quests, which earn money and items. Completing main quests is essential to discovering the secrets of the town, as characters can fall ill from the plague early in the game who would otherwise reveal information later in the game.

While trying to discover the secrets of the town, the player's other goal is simply to survive to the end of the 12 days by balancing various resources within the game's fluctuating economy, which represents the harsh "supply and demand" nature of a shut-off disease ridden town.

On the edge of town, there is a great building named the Polyhedron (Многогранник), a geometrically impossible structure used as a fortress by children. On the opposite side lies the ominous cattle-slaughtering Abattoir, with the Termitary next to it. All districts and major buildings of the town are named after body parts and biology.

Reception

Pathologic was critically well received, winning five major Russian awards. However, its reception in English-speaking countries has been varied, being both praised for its remarkable atmosphere and concept while equally panned for its poor translation, outdated graphics and slow gameplay.

Since release, the game has become a cult classic, with Rock, Paper, Shotgun notably writing a 3-part article on the game describing it as "the single best and most important game you've never played."

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