Follow TV Tropes
Pathologic 2 is one of the greatest artistic achievements within the medium to date. It's extraordinarily well-written, with an expansive cast of complex characters; several elaborate, interwoven, and entirely optional narratives; slavish devotion to ludonarrative synthesis; absolutely haunting music; and an uncompromising vision of what it wants to be and why. It's all the promise and potential of the original game realized and refined.
Pathologic 2 is, first and foremost, a game about performance. Its central, recurring setting is a theater: the place where the game starts, where surreal metatextual skits are performed nightly, where the sick are treated, where the dead congregate. The player is an actor, assuming role of the Haruspex (and, eventually, the Bachelor and the Changeling). The director of this show, the Author Avatar Mark Immortell, is not interested in having the player simply play the role they were given, however. It is his goal to have the player experience the piece as sincerely as possible: nearly every mechanic in the game tries to evoke an emotional response congruent with the narrative. It strives for ludonarrative synthesis in all regards.
To that end, Pathologic 2 puts you up against an all-powerful, inscrutable threat - the Sand Pest plague - and does its best to impose upon you all of the dread, despair, and desperation inherent to that kind of conflict. You are always running out of time: days and nights grow shorter, opportunities evaporate faster, and you stay tired, sick, and hungry longer; there is no rest for the weary. You will face one unwinnable situation after another: "Do I distribute antibiotics to the people I care about and risk starvation, or do I loot a plague-ravaged district for vital supplies and risk infection? Do I treat the sick at the Theater or pursue my father's murderer? Do I help others, or do I help myself?" You will have to live with the choices you've made and the pain they've caused.
That is not to say that the game judges you, however. It follows through on the consequences of your decisions, but it never passes judgement; it just leaves you with all the rope you need to hang yourself. It allows you to fail. It expects you to fail. Indeed, it wants you to fail, and it goes so far as to open with your failure. Through your many, many failures, your scant few triumphs, and all the struggle that goes into it, Pathologic 2 lets you forge your own personal narrative of the outbreak and the role you played in fighting it.
Community Showcase More