Follow TV Tropes

Following

Video Game / Pathologic 2

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/pathologic2_0.png
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.
Advertisement:

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 demo uses early versions of many of the main game's assets and mechanics. The Marble Nest was later remade as a DLC for the final game on October 28, 2019.

Advertisement:

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:

    open/close all folders 

Advertisement:

Main Game

    A-I 
  • 100% Adoration Rating: Isador Burakh, Simon Kain, Nina Kaina, and Victoria Olgimskaya were beloved by the Townsfolk.
  • Aborted Arc: If a character dies, any subplot or quest chain affiliated with them will come to a very abrupt end.
  • 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 their clothes fray and tear from their dancing.
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Averted. Every single weapon in the game loses durability each time you use it and will not be effective beyond a point. They will have to be repaired to restore effectiveness.
  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality: A few, despite the otherwise realistic gameplay. Time stops in dialogue screens, which one could argue is a necessity, given the text-heavy nature of the game. It also takes no time to consume food/medicine or wear protective equipment. Brewing tinctures out of herbs also occurs instantly, although using the larger alembic to make serums will take some time.
  • Accidental Misnaming: On their first meeting, the Bachelor keeps calling Artemy 'Vorakh' even after Artemy corrects him. It doesn't stick because later a patrolman calls Artemy 'Vorakh' too.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: In the first game, Var was a hunchback with a somewhat deformed face. Here, outside of a scarred eye and grey hair, he looks like your average Pochard NPC, though he claims to not be part of the Kin.
  • Adaptational Context Change: The opening play with the three characters in the first game is now a dream that Artemy has in the fourth act.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Fully animated 3D portraits for everyone! note 
  • Adaptation Personality Change: Quite a few characters, but most noticeably with Bad Grief and Foreman Oyun.
  • 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.
  • Adult Fear: Depending on Artemy's choices, he can become a father figure for most of the children on the List, and his dialog options reflect his growing attachment to them, calling them "my children" and telling the Inquisitor he can't run away with her because he has his kids to take care of. So of course the manifestation of the Sand Pest decides to infect all of them at the same time out of spite. Even if you save every bottle of living blood to make the panacea, unless you've gotten a shmowder too, you won't be able to save them all.
  • Affably Evil: The Fellow Traveller is pretty friendly for the literal personification of Death...
  • 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.
  • The Alcoholic: Peter Stamatin is addicted to twyrine, which isn't exactly alcoholic, but he still fits the mould.
  • Alleged Lookalikes: Played with. Simon and Georgiy Kain are twin brothers but Simon appeared to be twice as old as Georgiy. This is brought up in-universe.
  • 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.
  • All There in the Manual: The Art of Pathologic 2, the art book for the game contains small tidbits about the characters and the setting.
  • Alien Sky: The strange constellations with visible connecting lines in the sky visible from atop the Polyhedron.
  • Ambiguous Time Period: Signs seem to point to the game taking place in the early twentieth century, but anachronisms such as the modern-looking antibiotics, characters' outfits being all over the place and the general weirdness of the setting make it impossible to pinpoint an exact time period.
  • Animal Motifs: The Kin revere bulls, and as such bulls are often used as a symbol of the Kin.
  • Another Dimension: The Abattoir and the Underground may or may not be this. Time seems to work differently underground. If Lika the Doghead really did go underground then what he saw changed him, to say the least.
  • 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.
    • If you cure an infected person of the Plague while the district they're in is infected, they won't be in danger of catching the disease again that night.
  • Anyone Can Die: Anyone can catch the Sand Plague and anyone can die from it.
  • Arranged Marriage: Capella and Khan plan on entering into one, once they become adults.
  • As You Know: Averted. Since Artemy is a local of the town, and is descended from the Kin, people will express some surprise if he asks for information about things he's already supposed to know. As an audience, you also learn about the town through Artemy's dialogue options.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Guns. They're powerful and have a good range, but they are rare and expensive, so is their ammo, they are prone to jamming as they wear down from use, and the items needed to repair them aren't exactly common either. They're also noisy and will likely just draw more hostile attention to you.
    • Organ harvesting. You can cut up anyone you kill, collect whatever organs you like, and either sell them for cash to a shady chemist on the west side of town, or use them to brew painkillers and antibiotics. The problem is that organs take up a lot of inventory space, doing surgery does immense damage to your reputation (and scalpel), and the drugs you can produce from them are similarly just not as space-efficient as what you can buy from the store, making the whole thing largely not worth the trouble.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: If you opt for the ending where you spare the Polyhedron, the Sand Pest accomplishes what it set out to do, killing most of the local human population and displacing the survivors. All the miracles that the earth produces remain, including the Sand Pest, which will one day resurface.
  • Bag of Spilling: You can't carry items from the prologue into the main game. You can't carry items into the Abattoir, but you can carry the Living Blood out.
  • Bar Brawl: Possible on Day 11 at the Broken Heart Pub. A strange example in that the person you fight is the person hired to play Artemy Burakh after you die...
  • Beat Still, My Heart: Artemy trades hearts with a member of the Kin in the prologue. Later in the game, Anna Angel must exchange her heart for a spindle to rid herself of a curse.
  • Big Fancy House: Most of the named characters have distinctive, generally large houses.
  • Bizarrchitecture: The Polyhedron and the Stairways to Heaven, which actively defy the laws of physics.
  • Black Market: A couple. You can buy weapons from Bad Grief, the Shady Shop next door will always trade with you regardless of currency and always trade in currency, even in the late game, and you can sell organs to Var.
  • Boring, but Practical: The knife. You can get one for free as early as Day 1, it's easy to keep in tip-top shape with the relatively common whetstones and chisels, and two strong stabs are enough to kill most human enemies.
  • Bottomless Pits: The Abattoir has one.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The game draws on techniques from Brechtian theatre to break immersion and actively remind you that you're an actor in a play:
    • The game opens with you on a stage asking Mark Immortell, the director for a chance to do the play over again.
    • The Prompters that serve as the tutorial, like a propmpter reminding an actor of their lines.
    • The Reflections of characters telling the audience of the true nature of those characters.
    • The convenient spotlights that appear occaisionally around the town, sometimes out of nowhere.
    • Deaths being treated as an actor flubbing a line.
    • After the play at the end of Day 1, you can have a conversation with Mark about this. Interstingly, this is the only time you can speak to him after any of these performances.
    • At times, the 'Backstage Characters', i.e. Mark, Beak, Talon, and the Rat Prophet appear to talk past Artemy to the player.
    • In the Diurnal and Nocturnal endings, you can speak with the Devisers who appear to be children, but in reality are the game's developers talking directly to you, the player.
  • Brick Joke: The game has a particularly cruel instance of this trope. The second time you die, Mark Immortell will decide that not only he will take away another sliver of health from you, he will also steal your ability to hug people. This just seems like flavor text because you can't hug people anyway, and Artemy himself even lampshades what a silly limitation that is. Near the end of the game, you can have a conversation with Lara that ends with you attempting to comfort her by giving her a reassuring hug... only to realize to your horror and confusion that you can't and some unseen force is preventing you from doing so.
  • Burn the Witch!:
    • On Day 1, you can witness villagers burning a herb bride at the stake. Their paranoia- and the effects of twyre pollen- have convinced them that she's the Steppe Demon who killed Isidor.
    • It's lampshaded that Aspity is closer to what the vigilantes were looking for, but obviously they couldn't recognize what she is because, you know, magic.
  • But Thou Must!: Completely averted outside the prologue. It is possible to completely ignore any and all quests in the game.
  • Call-Back:
    • In the hide-and-seek quest on days 2 and 3, tagging a child will play a sound effect from the original game. The same sound effect plays if the player switches "intended difficulty" back on after switching it off.
    • The lantern in the Nutshell shows the map of the town from the first game.
    • In the prologue, Clara says that the "birds" (orderlies) are actually fingers. This is a reference to the fact that the first game was nothing but a game played by two children.
  • Campfire Character Exploration: Artmey can reconnect with his childhood friends Lara, Stakh, and Bad Grief around a fire at night.
  • Chain of Deals: The trading system lends itself to these. Most items can be bought, but opportunities to make money are scarce and the most important items (like shmowders) can only be bartered for. And to think you start the game scavenging through dumpsters...
  • Childhood Friends: Lara, Rubin and Grief are these for Artemy. They all even have nicknames for each other!
  • Children Are Innocent: Played straight and averted.
    • On Day 2, you can see children acting out some of the events of Day 1 (the burning of the Herb Bride, the Herb Bride holding the Bull's skull, and children ganging up on the child of the man being ganged up on in the exact same location on Day 1). It's clear that the children don't really understand what they'e playing. It comes up later too, when the children make a game out of the arsonists burning infected people in the street.
    • This trope is averted by the child gangs present in Town. These gangs have their own politics, history and rules and is treated seriously by the game and Artemy, who expresses surprise at how intense children's games have become. Some of the Town's children also talk about things that children their age wouldn't typically know about.
  • 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.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: The Three Layers and the tinctures and antibiotics that work on that Layer have corresponding colours:
    • White - Bone Layer, Yas Tincture, Neomycinium.
    • Green - Nerve Layer, Medrel Tincture, Ferromycinium.
    • Orange - Blood Layer, Zurkh Tinctue, Monomycinium.
  • 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: Just about all of them, really. The most notable example is 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.
    • Artemy can find a house with unburied infected bodies. The bodies were hidden there because the people did not want their loved ones to be buried in a mass grave or cremated, a huge cultural taboo. Artemy can turn these people in, getting rid of the bodies, but protecting that district from infection.
  • Dead Person Conversation: Artemy can have at least one of these with his father.
  • 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.
  • Death by Adaptation: Unlike the first game, Aglaya dies on the last day of the Haruspex's scenario, and there's nothing you can do to prevent that.
  • Death of a Child: Children are not immune to the sand pest, and the ones on Artemy's list can get randomly infected and die just like the other named characters.
  • Determinator: Every character with a name- and some who don't- have something that they never stop wanting to live for. Well, they are Russian.
  • Dialogue Tree: How you talk to people. Choose options wisely because unless you're willing to load saves, you might not get all the information you could have.
  • 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.
  • Doorstopper: The script for the game has more than 250,000 words, placing it among some famous doorstoppers in literature.
  • The Dog Bites Back: The workers in the Termitary get fed up with the Olgimskys' treatment of them and demand payback.
  • Downer Beginning: The game proper (after the prologue) begins with Artemy getting ambushed by three townsfolk, whom he then kills in self-defense. Soon after, he learns that his father, whose letter brought him to the town in the first place, died the previous night. And then it turns out everyone thinks he's the killer...
  • 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 either valid ending, trapped 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 the Truth: Certain revelations required to progress the plot only occur to Artemy after dreams.
    Loading screen tip: Certain answers only come in your sleep. Do not neglect dreams.
  • 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, which means 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.
  • Earthy Barefoot Character: The Herb Brides are a very literal example.
  • Eldritch Location: The Town was just a town once, apparently, but now it's an "ark" filled with all kinds of prodigies and literally magical people. And the steppe outside it is even more surreal.
    • The Termitary is a beef slaughterhouse that's also a temple. Even some people in-universe don't understand how that's possible.
  • Emergency Authority: Inquisitor Aglaya Lilich, and later General Block
  • Family of Choice: The "blood" section contains characters that Artemy considers to be family. The only character who is related to him by blood is his dead father. Aspity, his spiritual older sister, starts there as well, despite the fact that they have no blood relation. Over the course of the game, all seven of Artemy's wards and his three friends can make their way there as well as he begins to consider them family.
  • Fantastic Medicinal Bodily Product: Human organs can be used to make serums that help with the plague, and to make painkillers. More typically, the Living Blood used in the Panacea
  • Fantastic Racism: There's tension between the humans and the Kin; the latter are treated like slaves in the Termitary, blamed for the misfortunes happening all across the Steppe, and even believed to be the cause of the Plague. It turns out that's not too far off the mark. The Kin are aligned with the earth, and the earth is using the Sand Plague to wipe out the humans. Even in the early parts of the game, there's talk among the Kin of them killing the humans.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Kin are one for the Steppe cultures of the Mongols. The language the Kin speak is based on Buryat.
  • The Ferryman: The Worms that ferry you up and down the Gorkhon river and its tributaries.
  • Find the Cure!: A big part of the third act of the game.
  • Fire/Water Juxtaposition: On Day 11, Artemy must find three couriers bearing orders to destroy the Polyhedron. Two of them were already intecepted by the other playable characters. The Bachelor shoots the courier and burns the orders just before you find him. The Changeling tried to heal the courier but failed, and the orders got lost in a nearby stream.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: Artemy has no memory of meeting the Herb Bride that keeps approaching him, even though she says they know each other.
  • 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:
      • The Changeling 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.
    • The Udurgh, whose identity you spend most of the game puzzling out, is perpetually stated to be "In Danger" on your list, which only happens to people who are at risk of catching the plague due to residing in an infected district. The Udurgh is the town itself, which the Sand Plague is constantly infecting.
    • The pantomimes at the Theater are full of this.
      • The play for day 1, dedicated to introducing Artemy, has diagrams and equipment from his lair around him. To his left is the dissecting table used in the Abattoir sequence.
      • The pantomime for day 4 takes place in a graveyard where two characters are discussing Artemy's dead father. A giant horn swings above them. It turns out this is the murder weapon.
      • In day 5's play, the glowing curtain from Stakh's hideout is situated directly behind the Bachelor, hinting that he was Stakh's collaborator.
      • The play for day 6 is the Inquisitor discussing criminal acts. She ends by referring to Capella without elaboration. The next play is the Inquisitor stating that "the only real crime is betraying someone who trusted you." Later that day, Capella says that she will take the children from Artemy, which can be seen as an act of betrayal.
      • Day 9's play is a discussion between the Inquisitor and Artemy viewed from a train car, foreshadowing their possible attempt to flee the town by boarding a train.
      • The Inquisitor and the General appear in the plays that take place the morning before their arrival.
    • In the final moments of the introduction sequence, the Fellow Traveler will turn into an Executor- the same Executor form that the Sand Plague uses to taunt Artemy.
      • His dialogue foreshadows his true identity of the plague as well, as he "hopes he can manage to meet his toll" once he arrives in the town.
    • In an odd dream sequence, Artemy sees Lara talking about eating people. He comes to the conclusion that Lara is going to kill someone. He's right. On day 10, she will attempt to kill General Block.
  • Framing Device: The game is framed as a play being staged by Mark Immortell.
  • 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.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: The soldiers patrolling the infected districts wear gas masks to protect themselves from the diseased miasma. In the last couple days, you can even buy and use their equipment.
  • Genius Loci: The earth on which the town is built upon is a living thing in and of itself, complete with blood and organs that you will find if you dig deep enough. It births the Kin, who serve as its tenders and fleshly avatars, and even the Sand Plague itself is a creation of hers.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: The Executor costumes have these.
  • Gratuitous Iambic Pentameter: The Prompters who serve as a Justified Tutorial on Day 1 speak like this.
  • Gratuitous Latin: The Bachelor's still fond of this, but it occurs less frequently.
  • Greek Chorus: The Townsfolk are said to fulfil this purpose, commenting on the decline of the Town through the game. Beak and Talon also serve as this, especially during the pantomime rehearsals.
  • The Grim Reaper: The Executors, especially Talon and Beak bring this trope to mind, but actually, The Fellow Traveler is implied to be a personification of the death the plague will bring
  • Healing Herb: Not directly, but the herbs you find around the Town and the Steppe can be used to brew tinctures which help with immunity and other meters.
  • Heart of the Matter: In the Abattoir, Artemy crafts a Heart which speaks to him with Mother Boddho's voice out of random objects he finds, signifying that he now truly understands the Lines. After this, he jumps into the bottomless abyss in the Abattoir and can speak to a large heart, which is the heart of the Town itself.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: A steppe man asks the Haruspex if he will exchange his "rotten", outcast heart for her healthy one. If Haruspex expresses concerns about what the rot will do to him, he brushes it off, saying that he does not value herself as an individual, but as part of the collective he needs to rejoin.
  • Hive Mind: Some members of the Kin, including Foreman Oyun believe the Kin to be a single organism with no individualism. He might be right. The Plague seems to not affect people who are able to completely give themselves over to the collective Kin.
  • Home Base: Artemy's Lair under the factory serves as this.
  • Hope Spot: After journeying through the Abattoir and obtaining up to six vials of Living Blood, the Plague breaks its own rules and immediately infects all the children on your list.
  • Honor Among Thieves: Even the Town's criminal elements by and large follow the rule of not cutting flesh. It's a sign of how bad things have gotten when knife-wielding looters start appearing at night.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: No one in the game commits cannibalism per se, but the antibiotics and painkillers you can brew require human organs to make. Which means human flesh is being consumed every time you quaff a potion or administer one to a sick patient.
  • Infinity -1 Sword: The shotgun. It's not as good or as versatile as the rifle, but ammo is more plentiful and you can get one for free if you complete a certain late-game quest chain. Meanwhile, the rifle is so excessively rare that you're unlikely to even see one on a typical playthrough.
  • Innocent Fanservice Girl: Herb brides wear torn and skimpy dresses, to the point where some are even borderline naked, but don't have any real taboo against nudity and don't treat their appearance as sexual regardless.
  • The Insomniac: Rubin works round the clock helping the sick and developing a cure, which does little to improve his already sour mood. If you manage to prevent him from dying, it'll catch up to him and he'll start spending the whole day asleep in bed. Could also apply to you too, depending on how you play; sleep takes up time that could be spent doing something useful, and time is never on your side.
  • 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.
  • In Which a Trope Is Described: How each new day is introduced, except for Day 12 of the prologuenote .
    K-Z 
  • 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.
  • Killed Offscreen: Characters who die of the plague do so offscreen. If you don't brew the panacea by Day 7, Rubin dies offscreen. If you don't flee the town with her, Aglaya Lilich found dead on Day 11.
  • Killing in Self-Defense: The three townsfolk that Artemy kills on his arrival into the Town. They wanted to catch the killer of two important figures of the Town and assumed the killer would be at the station trying to flee.
  • Kill It with Fire: After a few days, Firestarters start running into infected districts, hurling Molotov cocktails at every infected person they come across (which could potentially include you) out of some desperate belief they can curb the Sand Plague by burning it. Later on, the Army ups the ante by bringing in flamethrowers. It turns out they have a point, as fire can in fact reduce the infection - which can prove useful to you should you be unlucky enough to catch the plague.
  • King of Thieves: Grief appears to be one initially. His reflection tells you it's an act.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: If you want to survive, be prepared to take a lot of things that don't belong to you. Especially while the owners and their neighbors are unavailable on account of their homes being infected by a deadly pandemic.
  • Knife Nut: As the Plague spreads, bandits and looters ditch the Good Old Fisticuffs and start fighting with knives instead. This is bad for you, because knife attacks do a lot more damage and can't be blocked. It also shows how bad things are deteriorating because in the Steppe, cutting flesh is extremely taboo.
  • Knight Templar: The Inquisition led by Aglaya takes a very hard stance on crime, to the point where it practically believes that All Crimes Are Equal, punishing each criminal caught with death. The Army is just as representative of this trope, as it arrives with the very real goal to level the entire Town-on-Gorkhon just to keep the Plague from spreading.
  • Lampshade Hanging: The game touches on the fact that the non-named Townsfolk are nameless, faceless extras, with a Prompter discussing it, as well as the 'scrap name' item which allows Townsfolk to discard their names once they are no longer needed.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: The list that Artmey inherits from his father has eight names. Seven of them are the names of some children from the Town, while the eighth is simply a Steppe symbol that refers to the 'udurgh'. Discovering what the udurgh is is one of the major plot points of the game.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Leading looters chasing you into guards and soldiers leads to a fight between them, allowing you to slip away or take a chance with a weakened enemy.
  • Life/Death Juxtaposition: The quest where Artemy is tasked with rescuing babies from infected districts, which is so emblematic of the game's themes that an advertisement for the PS4 release centered around it.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Lara and Artemy. Artemy can call her "abgai," which means sister, and call her sister in their day 11 conversation. Lara refers to them as "siblings in suffering."
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: The Town is home to a wide array of characters, each with their own motivations and complex webs of relationships between them.
  • 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.
  • MacGuffin: The game's design documents refer to the Polyhedron as one.
  • The Magic Comes Back: In the ending where the Polyhedron is spared, not only will the assorted miracles of the earth remain in effect and thrive under the new conditions, but long-extinct beings like the aurochs return to the world and the inhabitants of the Polyhedron enter into a deeper stage of fourth wall-breaking enlightenment.
  • The Magic Goes Away: If the Polyhedron is destroyed, then all the miracles of the earth go with it. That includes the miraculous healing blood, the twyre herbs, supernatural creatures like the odonghs and herb brides, Clara's powers, and the Sand Plague itself.
  • The Main Characters Do Everything: Artemy has studied to be a surgeon but through the game, his pursuit of a cure relies heavily on his knowledge of steppe medicine. His surgery skills only come into play when he harvests organs from corpses for his tinctures and serums. Similarly, Dankovsky has dedicated himself to the study of death, but finds himself managing the outbreak in the town and attempting to create a vaccine. This is acknowledged in-game.
  • 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 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.
  • More Than Meets the Eye: The 'reflections' that you see around certain characters affirm this about them. This is also true for the deaths of Simon Kain and Isador Burakh and for the town as a whole.
  • Multiple Endings: Depending on the player's choice on what to save.
    • If you destroy the Polyhedron, both the Tower and the miracles of the Kin cease to exist. The new Mistresses take their power, and the survivors try to put the pieces back together.
    • 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 fail to find the orders in time, You will be transported to the Theater and be berated by Beak and Talon for not accomplishing your task in time. You cannot go back to the Town and its fate is left unresolved. Mark Immortell dismisses you. The Bachelor is on stage, appearing to prepare to perform next, while the Changeling makes her usual cryptic allusions.
    • 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, whereupon 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, thanking you for allowing him to follow you home.
  • Mystical City Planning: The Kains are heavily engaged building a town and structures that affect the human soul, and employed the Stamatin Brothers, Farkhad and Yulia Lyuricheva to assist them.
  • Mythopoeia: The Kin believe in an earth deity, Mother Boddho, and that she is a living, breathing thing. They believe that all living beings are created from the earth. This is why digging into the ground and cutting into flesh is massively taboo in the Town. They also believe in a world bull, Bos Turok and a death god, Suok. There are myths surrounding these figures in the folklore of the Kin.
  • News Travels Fast: Rumours surrounding Artemy's part in Isador's death spread quickly on Day 1. While confined to only the district you're currently in and some neighboring districts news of your deeds, either good or bad spread instantly.
  • 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.
  • Nobody Poops: Even though you'll be eating and drinking all you can to stave off starvation and dehydration, you never have to worry about excising any waste from your body. For that matter, neither does anyone else. There aren't even any bathrooms, lavatories, or latrines to be found in the town to even imply that people have to defecate and urinate, and the subject is never brought up, even though it would be very relevant in a setting where digging any kind of hole in the earth is considered deeply taboo.
  • No-Gear Level: The earth beneath the Abattoir. Just going into it robs you of your entire inventory, including whatever weapons and healing items you were carrying. That's not good, because you have to contend with some very tough and very hostile odonghs.
  • No Hero Discount: Your status as protagonist or doctor does not exempt you from the wildly fluctuating prices of items.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Stairways in the Town's 'Superstructures' - The Polyhedron, the Termitary and the Stairways to Nowhere do not having railings. You take fall damage in this game.
  • 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.
  • No True Scotsman: Some of the Kin believe that Artemy is no longer one of them because of the time he spent away from the Town. Depending on dialogue choices Artemy can prove them right or wrong, or end up somewhere in the middle.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: On Day 1, Artemy can take the Bachelor to task for declining to treat what he thinks are poisoned children. He doesn't know yet that the Bachelor was asked to treat the children's poisoned dogs.
  • One Man's Trash Is Another's Treasure: You'll soon learn which items are valuable to the different kinds of Townsfolk, and which items they offer in turn.
    Loading screen tip: Even the most absurd garbage is valuable to someone.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted with Governer Alexander Saburov and General Alexander Block.
  • Optional Stealth: You can sneak past enemies if you'd rather not fight them. And if you're lucky.
  • Organ Drops: You can harvest organs from corpses, although this is hugely taboo and the locals do not take kindly to it.
  • Panacea: Serves as a cure for the Plague in this game.
  • Parents as People: On returning to the town, Artemy learns that his father Isador Burakh dealt with the first outbreak of the plague five ears prior to the events of the game by quarantining the crude sprawl, condemning everyone inside to a horrible death. This causes Artemy some distress, as it goes against the idealistic vision he had of his father. Additionally, towards the end of the game, it is revealed that Isador was patient zero of the plague, and intentionally spread it to the town, further muddying Artemy's feelings towards him.
  • The Plague: Called the Sand Pest in this game. The word is present in the Russian title of the game.
  • Plague Doctor: Expect to come across a lot of people wearing the bird-faced garb inspired by the profession. Some of them are simple orderlies stuck working in infected districts. Others are... something far more sinister.
  • Permanently Missable Content: Everything except the opening dreams; you can literally sleep through the entire plot if you want.
    • Quests run on a strict timeline, which the game politely informs you it will give no prior hints about. Some are available for days, others will end within one.
    • NPCs may not give you their quests, depending on the path Artemy takes through conversations with them. Warn those kids with a poisoned friend that you're a surgeon, not a toxicologist? They will leave. Don't suggest to Lara that she meet with her friends? She'll remain depressed.
  • Powder Keg Crowd: Bad Grief describes the Townsfolk this way. He's right and as the plague gets worse, the Town further descends into chaos.
  • Pursuing Parental Perils: Through the course of the game, Artemy begins to take over for his father in combating the Plague, looking after the Town's children and becoming a leader to the Kin. All of these can end up getting him killed in one way or another.
  • Pushover Parents: It's implied that the reason the children in the Polyhedron are free to stay there is because the Polyhedron prevents their parents from intervening.
  • 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 it and who doesn't. The odds of infection are determined at midnight. Infected individuals also roll to survive at this time.
  • Resting Recovery: Health regenerates during sleep, unlike in the first game. Using morphine before sleeping increases the rate of regeneration.
  • Roadside Surgery: Artemy can perform autopsies to harvest organs from corpses in the streets. The locals do not like this.
  • Rule of Three: A recurring motif in the game:
    • The three primary healers/playable characters: Daniil Dankovsky, Artemy Burakh and Clara the Changeling.
    • The town is divided into three segments by the Gorkhon river and its tributaries.
    • The town has three ruling families: The Kains, the Olgimskys, and the Saburovs.
    • The three Mistresses: Maria Kaina, Capella, and Katerina Saburova.
    • Artemy's three childhood friends: Stakh Rubin, Bad Grief and Lara Ravel.
    • The three rulers of the Kin: Taya Tycheek, Forman Oyun and Isador Burakh.
    • The three layers, three types of tinctures and three types of antibiotics.
    • Three types of common herbs, and three types of rare ones.
    • The serums you test before you realise it's a dead end.
  • Sadistic Choice: A big part of the game is having to choose between looking out for youself and helping other people. Do you risk getting the plague, going into an infected building to rescue a baby or walk past, ignoring the baby's cries, and missing out on a sizeable reward? More specifically, do you take the plague in place of Murky, saving her but putting you in a very difficult situation if you have no cures, or let her die, saving yourself?
  • 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 Drop: In the first game, the Haruspex was widely considered to have the toughest scenario of the three protagonists. He started the story with a town-wide bounty on his head and low stats across the board that made surviving the first day a struggle and put him at an immediate disadvantage in the following days as prices for goods skyrocketed. In this game, he has a much easier time accruing resources while they're still cheap, avoiding hostiles, and fixing his reputation that make the whole issue more of an annoyance than a life-or-death struggle.
  • 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 have some of the simpler trading requirements.
  • Sequel Hook: The Haruspex's scenario ends with Mark Immortell deciding he wants to put on another performance, this one starring a protagonist who takes the subject of death much more seriously, hinting at the upcoming Bachelor scenario.
  • Shout-Out: The "living blood" of a god can cure the plague, no surprise there.
    • The flavour text when you enter the Factory district reads 'Welcome to the Machine'. The opening lyrics fit the situation too.
  • The Snark Knight: Artemy had a touch of this in the original game, but here 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'.
  • Spreading Disaster Map Graphic: Not a graphic as such, but the infected districts of the day are shaded in red on the map. Some days it's not so bad, but on other days...
  • Take Care of the Kids: In a manner of speaking. Isidor Burakh left Artemy a list of children from the Town who he believed would play an important role in its futue, and wants Artemy to protect and guide them.
  • Taking A Third Option: You can placate the Kin at the Termitary by delivering them Big Vlad or Vlad the Younger. Or you can wait for a third option to present itself.
  • Technically Living Zombie: People who enter the more advanced stages 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, but not for long.
  • Textile Work Is Feminine: If you need to get your clothing mended, your best bet will be to ask an adult female NPC for repairs.
  • Together in Death: A possible in-universe perspective of the Nocturnal ending. Artemy can't follow his friends on their journey through the afterlife no matter what he does, but he can tell them: "You go on ahead, I'll catch up with you later."
  • 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.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The Town in the prologue is ravaged by the Plague, the screams of the infected and dying can be heard, the military are killing townsfolk in the street, and amid all this carnage, you can see some children playing hopscotch in the light of one of the fires.
  • 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 the items you find are worth 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.
    • 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.
  • Video Games and Fate: An important theme present in the game. The game discusees fate in the opening, with the Fellow Traveller and the first dream Artemy has on Day 1. Aglaya Lilich is implied to know that she is a character in a game and fights against her fate. After talking to her, Bad Grief realises that as a character, he has no real agency which upsets him greatly.
  • 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.
    • Day 9 when The Abattoir is finally open, and it is revealed that the Plague is indeed caused by the Earth as a punishment for humans becoming too individualistic. After this, Artemy has a dream in Isidor reveals that he was patient zero for the Plague and wanted bring the infection to the Town on purpose as a test. And then the Plague breaks all its rules and infects all the children.
  • What the Hell, Player?: If you fail to complete the story by the deadline, you're not treated to a scene depicting your failure to save the town. You're instead brought back to the theater where Clara, Daniil, Mark Immortell, and the Executors admonish you for your incompetence and inability to finish the play on time.
  • 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.
  • Womb Level: Plunging into the depths of the Abattoir brings you to the guts and eventually the heart of the earth itself, all of which look just as fleshy and organic as they do in any regular animal.
  • A World Half Full: The Diurnal Ending feels this way. Characters are shaken by the recent events, but are cautiously optimistic about what the future holds.
  • The World Is Just Awesome: Artemy feels this way after climbing to the top of the Polyhedron.

DLCs

    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.
  • Taking A Third Option: during the day, some Tragedians will tell you that the only way to win a losing game is to break the rules. During the final confrontation, you can avoid the last choice (dying for real, or repeating the day) by telling the Executor that death can actually be defeated in the dream world (or maybe the videogame world) because after all it's not real and therefore you are in control. The Executor will then compliment the player, while the game implies that this was all a reminder that in the real world you will have to face a similar choice eventually.
  • 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.

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report