Reviews for Pathologic

80

Flawed masterpiece

steamisbetter | April 5, 2011 | See all steamisbetter's reviews »

First of all: the English translation of Pathologic was made by a number of different translation agencies. As a result, the quality of the translation varies greatly from game-day to game-day, ranging from passable to nearly incomprehensible.

You must be able to tolerate the horribly broken English in order to enjoy the game, as the game is very text heavy. Most of the story is told through dialogue, although there are some FMVs and rendered cut-scenes that play during the more important events of the story. There is no full voice acting during dialogue; most characters have an introduction line that plays at the start of the dialogue, but it is not directly related to what is actually written in the dialogue.

The graphics and animation are low quality and were outdated even back when the game was first released. Pathologic uses a third-party facial animation software in attempt to compensate for the lack of vivid narration and full voice acting during dialogue, with poor results.

Outside, the player is surrounded by heavy fog, similar to old 3D games with limited draw distance. You won't be able to see great landmarks such as the Polyhedron or the Abattoir from a distance, which makes navigating the town a chore until you have memorized the town map.

Gameplay of Pathologic is mostly about talking to characters and walking around. There are 3 playable characters, each one of them has their own scenario with unique quests and dialogue. After a character scenario has been chosen, the other 2 main characters will show up in the game world as NPCs, working with and against you. The ultimate goal is to save the town from a deadly disease and you are given 12 days to accomplish this.

When you are not talking to a character or on your way to talk to a character, you are gathering resources to ensure your own survival. Trash cans and dumpsters often contain seemingly useless junk that can be traded with the townsfolk for food, first aid, antibiotics and bullets. Muggers and marauders can be killed for extra money. Lockpicks can be used to break into houses to steal food. The vast steppe surrounding the town is filled with harvestable Twyrine, which can be traded or brewed. The player's status is presented by 6 main stats: Reputation, Health, Immunity, Hunger, Exhaustion, and Infection.

Overall, Pathologic is a game that requires great patience. It is hard to get into because of its lack of tutorial and its unforgiving survival elements. If you can look past the occasionally poor translation, you'll find one of the more interesting stories ever told in a video game. Personally I found the town's folklore to be the most fascinating thing about the story.

Estimated play time: 12-24 hours for each character, 36-72 hours in total.