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Video Game / Pathologic 2

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Pathologic 2 is the sequel-remake to the 2005 Pathologic, developed by Ice-Pick Lodge. Much like its predecessor the style and genre is a bit iffy to describe, and is perhaps best described as a First-Person Survival Horror Adventure Game with some light Immersive Sim and RPG Elements. The game was released for PC on May 23, 2019.

Development began when Ice-Pick Lodge launched a Kickstarter campaign to create a successor of the original Pathologic in September 2014. The final result came to be named, although it is not a plot sequel, instead retelling the original's story with more content and mechanics, as well as more polished graphics. It is frequently referred to as a "remake", but the developers came to reject this label, instead likening it to how games like Silent Hill 2 and Dark Souls 2 revisit and experiment with the concepts introduced in their predecessors.

A limited demo version, titled Pathologic: The Marble Nest, was released in 2017. It is not an excerpt of the game proper - it's more of a side story branching off late in the game's storyline, and it has an internal progression of its own. (The developers' notes at the beginning of the demo compare it to a short story.) The Marble Nest uses early versions of many of the main game's assets and mechanics.


Currently, only the Haruspex’s route of Pathologic 2 is available, with the Bachelor and Changeling campaigns releasing sometime later:

  • As the Haruspex, Artemy Burakh, you’ll unravel the mystery of your father’s death (which you’re blamed for), discover how to defeat the Plague (or not), and delve into the secrets of the Town-on-Gorkhon and its intricate politics and history.

The game provides examples of:

    The Marble Nest 
  • Attending Your Own Funeral: It's a hallucination. And you're almost dead yourself.
  • Downer Ending: The Bachelor is dying of the infection, and the Executor asks him if he wishes to repeat the day or finally be claimed.
  • Dying Dream: The whole game after the first encounter with the Executor. Sticky "wakes you up" after you collapse, and you hallucinate your previous day. If you feel you haven't adequately solved the puzzles you've been given, you can choose to hallucinate it again!
  • Enraged by Idiocy: The Bachelor can either react with some measure of compassion to the disasters that befall the Stone Yard or lash out at the people he encounters. The latter is often funnier.
  • Extremely Short Time Span: The demo takes place across a single day.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: The gist of the demo, with a morbid twist. You replay the day's scenario upon refusing to give in to death.
  • Inventory Management Puzzle: Your character now has a backpack with twenty storage slots and four small "pockets", two with five slots and two with four; different items take up different amounts of space. Some items, like nuts and needles, can be stacked. Others, like scissors, can't.
  • The Problem with Fighting Death: Discussed at length. Aspity in particular seems to believe that the Bachelor is fighting a losing battle, failing to understand and accept death. Given that the demo is his dying hallucination, she has a point.
  • Secret Test: Invoked by Georgiy Kain, of all people. He is the one who ordered your painstakingly erected barriers to be lowered, seeing the plague as an "exam" to be taken by the Stone Yard—or maybe just by you. It's hard to tell. You discuss this at length with him and he stands firm in his assertions.
  • The Snark Knight: The Bachelor could display a snappy wit in the original game, and the same holds true here. In fact, his quips are more frequent and more injurious than before. He even tosses a few barbs at an Executor, who is all but stated to be death personified, upon being asked whether he is ready to die.
  • Year Outside, Hour Inside: According to a Tragedian inside, time seems to stand still inside the Cathedral, and thus those stuck in it will never perish from the plague. However, if you check your menu, you'll find that your time is still moving.
  • You Wake Up in a Room: In a coffin, it seems. When you return to the room at the end of the day to face the Executor, the coffin is replaced with a bassinet.

    Pathologic 2 
  • Absolute Cleavage: The Herb Brides, all of which appear in tattered dresses that barely cover the bare essentials (except for a few, who are just plain naked). One of them explains that their clothes fray and tear from their dancing.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Fully animated 3D portraits for everyone! note 
  • Adaptation Relationship Overhaul: In the original game, Artemy's only friend in town was Stahk Rubin, who refused to speak with Artemy for most of the game because he believed Artemy murdered Isador. Now, Artemy had a childhood posse of himself, Rubin, Lara Ravel, and Bad Grief. Over the course of the game, Artemy can try to rekindle the friendship between the group, and seems particularly protective of them.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: A key game mechanic. Prices in stores will fluctuate wildly as the plague progresses and town slips into chaos, usually resulting in things being much more expensive today than they were yesterday.
    • A man you encounter on day one will sell you a bull for a steal, citing this trope as his justification: he believes that prices will skyrocket in the coming days, and money will be much more valuable than livestock. At this point in the game, there's no reason to believe such a thing will occur, and uninformed players might laugh him off as being odd or paranoid. He's right, of course.
  • Affectionate Nickname: All of the Haruspex's childhood friends call him Cub (except for Rubin, since he hates you). Isidor also had several nicknames with the children of the town, such as Grandfather Burakh.
  • Afterlife Antechamber: The Theater, which is where you appear when you die. As characters start dying, they too appear in the theater, staring into nothingness and sadly explaining their path in life.
  • All Just a Dream: The first leg of the game, up until you board the train. Interestingly, you're told the prologue was a dream during a section that Artemiy later theorizes was also a dream.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Unexpected, given the original game's reputation, but a few exist.
    • On day one, Bad Grief declares you a friend of his gang, and assures you that his men will bail you out if you get into trouble. What this means mechanically is that if you die in a fight, you'll awaken somewhere nearby with no major penalties (you'll lose some health and time will progress, but your items and money are untouched). This gives you a bit of wiggle room to get familiar with the new combat system, along with reducing the risk of new players getting frustrated and quitting because of progress lost from constantly dying in street fights. This mechanic can become invaluable if you're having a hard time getting around town while everyone wants you dead.
    • Regardless of how cruel and unforgiving the game claims to be, it's very difficult to genuinely get yourself in an inescapable death spiral when it comes to your resources. Sure, you might have to ignore your quests for the day because you need to dig through every trash can in town in order to find enough needles and marbles to barter for food and medicine, but you can find enough materials to scrape by.
  • Arc Words: The meaning of "inheritance" is pondered, not only by Artemiy but also the town's children.
  • Burn the Witch!: On Day 1, you can be treated to a scene of villagers burning a Herb Bride that they've accused of being the Steppe demon responsible for killing Isidor at the stake.
  • Choice-and-Consequence System: Of two flavors. First, some of your daily quests have more than one option for completion. Which path you take will generally affect something in the future, with consequences ranging from minor (you get some money or an item) to major (preventing a character's death, for instance). Second, your choices in dialogue and trades with townsfolk will have an effect on your reputation in the district. If you choose friendly dialogue options or give people extra in barters, your reputation will be improved as a result.
  • Continuing Is Painful: When you die in this game, you don't simply get a "Game Over" that prompts you to reload. You just wake up later, losing a good chunk of time, and suffering a reduction to your health and survival meters that are all permanent. Worse, Save Scumming doesn't prevent this; every death you suffer is automatically saved to your profile, so you'll still suffer from diminished health for the rest of your game when you reload an earlier save.
  • Creepy Child: Could be applied to just about all of them, really. The most notable examples may be Laska the gravekeeper and Clara the Changeling. Whether or not the Dogheads qualify depends on whether you think child gangs are creepy.
  • Cruel to Be Kind: Isidor once quarantined a group of people until they died, so their infection would not spread to anyone else. This is also part of being a Burakh.
  • Deal with the Devil: You can make a deal with the Stranger to undo the game's death penalty, resetting all your survival meters back to their original values. Doing so, however, will lock you into the game's worst ending. Oh, and the Stranger reveals that he is the manifestation of the Plague itself.
  • Disc-One Nuke: You can get a knife very easily on the first day. It'll very likely be your most dependable weapon, as you can safely kill hostile enemies quickly with a few stealthy backstabs.
  • Downer Ending: The game starts with one. It's the twelfth and final day of the plague, everyone is dead, and the military has decided to destroy the town. You start the game proper by declaring your intent to try again and do things right this time.
    • It is possible to lock oneself out from the good ending, locked inside the theater and unable to save the town. It's caused by making a deal with the Stranger to go easy on you when dying. Instead of a conclusion, the game cuts to you and the Stranger on a train, just like the beginning of the story.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: The prologue features Artemy awakening in the theater, with all of his Adherents dead, the other two doctors hysterical, and the town doomed. He then awakens on the train into town, the train’s other occupant saying he was having a nightmare.
  • Early Game Hell: Zigzagged. On one hand, just like in the first game, Artemy begins the campaign dirt poor, on the brink of death, nearly starving, and with almost the entire town out to kill him. On the other, people don't turn hostile to Artemy immediately, so you're given a little time to prepare yourself accordingly, it's a lot easier to move around the town without getting attacked, and you can't technically die on the first day thanks to Bad Grief keeping an eye out for you.
  • Foreshadowing: If the player chooses to destroy the Polyhedron, conversations with specific characters on the final day will hint at potential plotlines or events in the Bachelor's and Changeling's storyline
    • Clara's dying sister(?) will reveal that forces up above (presumably the Powers That Be) were waiting to meet her. Destroying the Polyhedron has prevented this meeting from occurring.
    • Eva will mention that Daniil became fascinated with the Oneirotects, the people responsible for building the town, with one in particular (Farkad, who Peter claims to have murdered) having built the cathedral. Daniil apparently spent any spare time he had in the town searching for information on them.
  • Friend to All Children: The Haruspex can be one, depending on your dialogue choices. You'll always have the option to be kind and friendly to every child you talk to, and doing so is usually rewarded as the "correct" decision. There's also the fact that your Adherents are all children.
  • Gratuitous Latin: The Bachelor's still fond of this, but it occurs less frequently.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: A steppe lady asks the Haruspex if he will exchange his "rotten", outcast heart for her healthy one. If he expresses concerns about what the rot will do to her, she brushes him off, saying that she does not value herself as an individual, but as part of the collective he needs to rejoin.
  • Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: You can jump, but it costs a decent chunk of stamina and doesn't really go high enough to get over anything. It's useful for getting around difficult geometry, but you won't be hopping fences.
  • Inventory Management Puzzle: Much the same as Marble Nest. You have three compartments with differing amounts of space, and each object takes up a given amount of inventory space. Equipped clothing and weapons don't take up inventory space. Most objects stack and money doesn't occupy a slot, but there are caps to the stacks. One such cap that the player may encounter early on relates to water bottles: you can only stack 10 in one space. This may come as a surprise to veterans of the series who are used to carrying dozens of bottles in one slot without difficulty.
  • Karma Meter: The Reputation system returns, but it's much more complex this time around. Every district has its own localized reputation meter, which allows for more nuance in how your actions are rewarded or punished. If you kill someone on one end of town, nobody on the other end will come after you; but if you repair your reputation in one district, it will still be sour in the other. Certain plot events, such as being blamed for a murder, will tank your reputation everywhere.
  • Lovecraft Country: The town and the surrounding steppe are dismal and run-down, the people are very superstitious and wary of outsiders, a significant chunk of the population isn't entirely human, and there are foreboding forces beyond the scope of human understanding lurking in the background.
  • Loyal Animal Companion: The Soul-and-a-Halves are all about this. They each have a pet, known as their Half, that they raise from infancy and bond with for life. Notkin's is a cat named Jester.
  • Malicious Slander: The deaths of Isidor Burakh and Simon Kain whips the town into a frenzy, desperate to persecute someone for the crime. After blaming and attacking the steppe people for a while, everybody decides that you did it. Your reputation in every district plummets to "hated" until the matter's resolved a few hours later, but some folks will hold the grudge. Rubin's lingering resentment is especially notable, since the Bachelor apparently went to some length to convince him of your innocence.
  • Mercy Mode: Die enough times, and the Stranger will offer to undo all the negative effects of death for you. It's a trap; taking it will lock you into the game's worst ending.
  • Meta Guy: So many of them, although the most prominent is Mark Immortell, who appears at the beginning and when the player dies to "recast" Artemy, because the role is too important to flub.
  • Multiple Endings: Depending on the player's choice on what to save
    • If you destroy the Polyhedron, the miracles leave the world, both the Tower and the miracles of the Kin, even Aspity. The new mistresses take their power, the survivors try to put the pieces back together, the Kains move across the river. Vlad Jr vows to build a more fair company.
    • If you save the Polyhedron, Miracles stay in the world, but those not tied to the Kin are forced to walk across the marshes into the steppe, not even aware of the Haruspex. The Town dies, but the Kin thrive. Those in the Polyhedron begin breaking down as the fourth wall breaks down with them.
    • If you choose to run away, Aglaya and Artemy venture away from town on the train. However, it is stopped and returned to the Town, where upon the Inquisitor is shot dead by the Army. You can be shot as well or choose one of the other endings.
    • If you make a deal with the Stranger: The Theater will not release you, as you corrupted the grand design by asking for mercy and the Stranger reveals himself as the Plague, and thanks you for allowing him to follow you home.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Some well-meaning things you do will only make the situation worse. In particular, Lara gets it into her head to turn her home into a shelter for the displaced on Day 4, and requests that you deliver a barrel of water to her. The only barrel you'll be able to find is one filled with dirty water. This gives you a choice: you can either deliver the water to Lara as is, or report it to the Bachelor. Do the former, and her district will get infected the next day. Do the latter, and he'll have all barrels in the central part of town destroyed, clean and dirty alike, leaving everyone with less water to go around. As it is, the best resolution for this quest is to not do it at all.
  • Nintendo Hard: Have fun balancing 4 different survival meters and navigating the giant maze of plague clouds and unreliable NPC schedules that is the Town. A really good player might even finish under six hours!
  • Noticing the Fourth Wall: The game begins with Mark Immortell chastising the player for how badly they played the role of the Haruspex, before relenting on one more time. Whenever Artemy dies, Immortell "recasts" him, a new actor taking the role. On Day 11, the player's successor appears early. The player can feign Artemy's confusion or have a chat with "Artemy" wherein he complains about the successor being paid in advance.
  • Plague Doctor: Expect to come across a lot of people wearing the bird-faced garb inspired by the profession. Some of them claim to be simple orderlies stuck working in infected districts. Others are...something far more sinister.
  • Random Number God: Every NPC in an infected district on a given day has a risk of becoming infected. At midnight, the plague "rolls the dice" to see who catches the plague and who doesn't. The odds of infection are determined at midnight. Infected individuals also roll to survive at this time.
  • Save Scumming: No longer possible, unless you're very dedicated or don't mind losing progress. There is no quicksave function, and you can only save in a few specific locations. The intent was to prevent this behavior entirely by making it prohibitively difficult and not really worth the effort. You can reload old saves, but unless you're in the same room as a save device you'll likely lose a lot of time and progress.
  • Scenery Porn/Scenery Gorn: All the design and aesthetic value of the original game have been reimagined with clean, modern graphics, and it is gorgeous. Even the burning corpses and pustule-covered houses are lovely to look at.
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike: While there are some modern conveniences, the fact that characters can be infected at random rather then just when the player screws up or due to plot makes it a lot harder. The child NPC type disappearing later on also contributes, as they had some of the simpler trading requirements.
  • The Snark Knight: Artemy had a touch of this in the original game, but it's come out in full force. Almost every dialogue choice has at least one sassy option, if not more. Conversations with people Artemy dislikes may leave you with no non-snarky options at all.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": The debate on various names rages on, complicated by Ice-Pick Lodge having changed the spelling of some. The Changeling is now Clara, and the drunk Stamatin is now Peter. A blog post from the developers discussed the changes, stating that certain names were changed because there was no real point to their original spelling aside from 'sounding Russian'.
  • Technically Living Zombie: People who enter an advanced stage of infection effectively become zombies in the classical sense, mindless thralls of the Sand Plague whose only goal is to spread it to those who haven't been infected yet. They're still alive at this stage however, though not for long.
  • Translation Train Wreck: Thankfully averted this time. Ice-Pick Lodge devoted a lot of time and energy to making the English translation as good as it can be, and it shows.
  • Unusual Pets for Unusual People: Not that odd in-universe, but there are few video games where you get to buy a pet bull, and the Haruspex is definitely an unusual fellow.
  • Vendor Trash: Both played straight and averted/justified. Your main avenue of acquiring resources is by looting, whether that's from people's cupboards or public trash cans. Most of what you'll find is fairly useless, such as sewing thimbles and wooden buttons. When engaging in monetary trades, you can sell them, albeit for so little money that you might as well not bother. However, these items are truly valuable when it comes to the barter system. Every subtype of NPC has a different set of "trash" items that they consider valuable for whatever reason, and you can offer them up in exchange for items the NPC has that you might want. Justified in that whoever you're trading with generally has an in-universe or common-sense explanation for why they consider your garbage valuable enough to trade for.
    • Children will accept bugs and toys (obvious enough), sharp objects (taboo and thus enticing), and nuts (believed by children to house souls).
    • Adults might want things like bottled water (in the case of hungover drunks) or mechanical parts (soldiers who need to maintain their equipment).
      • Bartering with adults is a bit of an edge case, as the items they're willing to barter for are generally of some use to you as well. In this situation, what is and is not vendor trash becomes a matter of the player's opinion. If you've got so much water that you can't carry it all, perhaps you'll gladly throw some of it away in exchange for that drunkard's tourniquets; on the other hand, you may find yourself unwilling to part with your repair parts even if you'd really like to get that smoked meat in exchange.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: One of the game's primary themes is finding a balance between helping others and looking out for yourself, which lends itself to plenty of situations like this. Outside of quest events, things like giving your medicine and food to folks in need qualifies, especially if you put yourself at risk doing so. You can even save innocent townspeople from attacking robbers, if you're brave enough.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: On the other hand, you can just as easily screw people over for your own personal gain. Your reputation will tank, but you can absolutely go on a rampage if that's what you want. Break into people's houses and steal their food, kill innocents in the street and take their organs, leave the sick to die so you can save your precious medicine for yourself. There will be consequences, of course.
  • Wham Episode: Really, any day once districts start getting infected can be this if the Random Number God dislikes you and a slew of characters get infected. However, there are a couple plot stand outs.
    • Day 3, "in which the alarm bell tolls". While players might suspect things will be going bad based on what they find in Isador's house the previous day, two whole districts becoming infected can be a shock.
  • Witch Hunt: The game starts with one, with the villagers first harassing women they think are Steppe demons responsible for killing Isidor (going so far as to burn an innocent herb bride at the stake). Then they start thinking you did it.
  • You Monster!: If you mess up a quest or otherwise screw someone over, you can expect them to give you an earful about it. For example, on day two you can encounter a group of Kin who ask you to give Big Vlad money from them in exchange for refuge in the Termitary. If you fail, they'll be disappointed, but they'll be quite unhappy with you if you fail and keep their money. Giving them their money back earns you their thanks (and an achievement).
  • You Wake Up in a Room: A train, actually. Multiple times. Or maybe only once. It's unclear.


Example of: