Several years back, a friend told me about a bizarre and punishing Russian psychological horror game called Pathologic. Developed by Ice-Pick Lodge and released in Russia in 2005, the game garnered a lot of attention. My friend referred to the game as exhausting and punishing and more than capable of allowing you to back yourself into a corner you wouldn’t be able to get out of.
I was instantly intrigued.
The game, as described on the official website:
A plague breaks out in a remote steppe town full of weird local traditions. Three healers try to fight it: a rational scientist from the Capital, the son of a local shaman, and a blessed fool who has no memory of herself. Each of them has their own idea of how the terrible disease came to be, and what is real magic to one of them becomes backwards superstitions to another.
Pathologic, the remake of a ruthless and critically acclaimed Russian survival adventure game from 2005, allows you to take on the role of any of these doctors in order to overcome the invisible evil in the Town and inside your very body. It won’t be easy: first and foremost you’ll need to avoid death, trying not to succumb to the disease, to bandits, hunger, and fatigue; scavenging and bartering for bullets, bread, and milk. You’ll be hard-pressed for time, and as days fly by, it’ll become increasingly more difficult to evaluate if you can share a pack of pills with a stranger in need or if you should keep it for yourself to survive longer.
Your untimely death would mean the end of the Town—the Army is already here, ready to burn it to the ground so that the Plague doesn’t spread. But there are so many people here with their thoughts, ideas, and beliefs; there are children who play strange games, there are physically impossible buildings, obscure steppe traditions, and mysterious creatures. Sooner or later all of them will confide their deepest secrets in you. Perhaps that’s reason enough to make the miracle happen—to save the Town.
It’s a bit strange, as there is currently an HD remaster coming (announced today), as well as a full scale reimagining in the works. The latter was successfully crowdfunded last year via Kickstarter and has no solid release date but is said to be coming in late 2016.
One of the major complaints of the original was the lack of proper localization, and the reimagining is said to have improved localization, new quests and content, improved visuals via the Unity engine, and myriad other improvements.
The Kickstarted remake will be coming to PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
Below, you can find the classic HD announcement trailer for a better look at the game.