Long ago in a time when disease and famine plagued the earth, food and water was not plentiful and you had to fight for your next meal. Pickpockets and thieves stalked the back ally’s of a nearly deserted city and if you’re not careful you may even find yourself waking up missing a kidney. A game so dark and unforgiving that it pits you against time itself as you try to figure out a way to save the city and yourself.
Pathologic 2, a near remake of the original Pathologic, is developed by Ice-Pick Lodge and sees you taking on the role of three characters, each with their own specific story to unfold – the first being the towns doctor, which the game opts you into as the best way to play… hard and unforgiving!
You start on stage with a shady character which you converse with opening up the first choice’s to your story line; even from this early point your choices will affect your story. Once you complete the tutorial you are free to explore the world of Pathologic 2, but always remember you are racing against the clock to save the town and yourself in the process. It’s made very clear from the beginning that you will not win. 12 days is all you get. No more, no less. This game enforces the fact you cannot save everybody no matter how fast you play. The only way is to make sure you choose the right people to save and really just hope for the best as Pathologic 2 contains many paths to take and many outcomes to your choices.
Straight up you will notice a familiar feel to Pathologic 2. Set out similar to games like Fallout or Elder Scrolls you will find yourself walking around talking to NPC’s asking questions and finding out the cause and cure of the deadly plague taking over the town. The plague is interesting as it takes the form of an eerily looking bird-type human figure. They seem friendly enough and seem to help but what is their true purpose? There are many races to interact with from humans to weird bald headed turtle looking beasts and even mime characters, adding again to the theatre aspect of the game. When talking to an NPC you get the benefit of true to life character models that when approached will spout their own particular quote but then you will need to select a sentence for the rest of the conversation.
As you scurry around searching bins, cupboards and wardrobes looking for water bottles and bandages to stay alive you will soon come across someone who will need those bandages and water; this may be an important character to your story or it could be a complete waste of time. Finding pieces of metal to craft lock-picks is also important as many doors in this town are locked tight.
The combat system in Pathologic 2 comes off a little basic but it’s there none the less. A couple of punches can send an NPC running the opposite direction scared to continue or can beat you down and force you to begin where you manually last saved your game. Along your travels you will also come across weapons like knives and pistols, although ammo is very scarce and sometimes seems non-existent. Your health, stamina, food and water bars all drop rather quick and take a fair bit of consumables to get it back up to tip top shape which really adds to the unforgiving aspect of Pathologic 2. While pausing the game you can check and use things from your inventory, you have a full map of the town and where to go next along with a story line of where you have been and possible scenarios which comes in handy when you feel lost or overwhelmed.
Another aspect I found rather interesting is how deep and dark Pathologic 2 will go. When I found out that harvesting organs is a common thing in some cultures and is something you can do yourself I was rather intrigued, becoming a black market salesman on the streets getting good money for organs can pay off but again this is just another path to unlock. Pathologic 2 is a big game and can take a player weeks to figure out a true strategy and that’s even if there is one, I’ve yet to finish the game and doubt I’m even halfway through, there is so much more to discover.
Pathologic 2, although not as polished as maybe Fallout or Elder Scrolls, still contains all the necessary features for a story driven first player adventure. The games difficulty and time frame can have you sweating under the collar and sometimes become a bit overwhelmed, but you can praise it for its detail to character work and story line.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by the publisher.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.