By Michael Fontanini / December 18th, 2015
|Title||Pathologic Classic HD|
|Publisher||Gambitious Digital Entertainment|
|Release Date||October 29, 2015|
|Genre||Action, Adventure, Survival, Indie|
|Age Rating||N/A (probably not appropriate for kids though)|
Pathologic Classic HD drops you in a bizarre town on a surreal adventure to save it. As a terrible plague, known as the Sand Plague, descends upon the town, you race to save as many people as you can. As the game begins, the plague is ultimately fatal, and there is no known cure. But the plague is not the only danger in this eccentric little town. The three ruling families are in disagreement causing the government to be in a stalemate. With time being of the essence, something has to change. At the same time, the plague begins to sow the seeds of pestilence and discord, creating still more problems. Prices at shops rise as panic and famine begin to set in. The Fall leaves flutter to the ground all around you in the season of decay, as the town itself crumbles from within. Can you save the town, or is it already doomed? And will you survive, or become just another statistic?
Pathologic Classic HD begins its story with a cutscene inside the town’s theater. Three characters are having a conversation about what to do, and they happen to be the three characters you can play as. Each of them has their own scenario for you to play through. They are known as Bachelor Daniil Dankovsky, the Haruspex, and the Changeling. It is recommended for new players to start with the Bachelor as he begins with a very high reputation stat. This gives new players one less thing to worry about. The images below show you each playable character and their description.
In Pathologic Classic HD, the player must not only complete quests to advance the story and help the townspeople, but also manage his/her own stats. To do this, the player will need to collect items from the many trash bins scattered around town. These can be used to barter with the people walking around on the streets, and especially to barter with the children to acquire higher value items. You can also get items and money (plus a reputation increase) by killing looters and bandits and looting their bodies (taking them on is risky though). These items can in turn be used in the three types of shops to trade for food, protective clothing, or medicines. Different types of people on the street will trade for different types of items, for example teenage boys will trade for things like razors, while girls prefer things more like needles and flowers.
The player has a number of stats to keep an eye on throughout the game. The most important ones are health, hunger, exhaustion, and infection. Hunger can be lowered by eating. If it gets too high you will start taking damage. Exhaustion can be improved by resting in certain beds around the town, and will also cause you to start taking damage if it gets too high. Health can be healed using items like bandages, and infection can be cured (but only by certain rare items). You will want to save as many of these curative items as you can get your hands on, since you’ll need them to save some people near the end of the game. They can sometimes be obtained by bartering with small girls on the streets.
During the first couple of days the town is relatively safe, as the Sand Plague hasn’t really taken hold yet. As time progresses and the plague descends upon the defenseless citizens of the town, things get more dangerous. Some districts become infected. Which districts are under siege by the plague changes every day in the game. The plague also moves on and leaves behind some districts that were infected the day before. The screenshots below show the three states a district can be in.
As you can see, the game gives you some visual cues to let you know the state of the district you’re in. When you are in an infected district, everything takes on a sickly greenish hue, a red mold grows on the buildings, and there are sometimes blobs of fleshy stuff on the streets. You can also see a sort of scarecrow in the 2nd screenshot below, with three dead rats hanging from its arms. These scarecrows are generally seen at the entrances of infected districts. Lastly, when you are in a district that has been left by the plague, everything takes on a yellow hue. A district will generally only remain in the infected or left behind states for one day, although sometimes a district can be devastated by the plague for longer than one day.
You will have to enter infected districts during your adventure in the town, so protective clothing is important. Its durability drops over time though so you’ll have to replace it or pay certain women on the street to repair it for you. The same is true of weapons, which can be repaired by certain men on the streets. Most of the time, combat is not essential and is best avoided. Weapons include melee weapons like knives, as well as ranged weapons like pistols and rifles. You can barter for ammo on the street, but combat should mostly be avoided to conserve your ammo for quests where you have to engage in combat. Most quests do not involve combat though. Humanoid enemies can be looted once killed, but other enemies like plague clouds do not drop loot.
Infected districts have several types of dangers lurking, waiting for their chance to infect you. The most common are Sand Plague clouds that appear out of nowhere. You also have a plague scope (called the Plaguefinder) that can be used to see them from a distance when they are still invisible (press V). When not using the Plaguefinder, they will not appear until you get close, and then they materialize out of thin air. Many are stationary and appear in places like intersections or in the middle of roadways. Some will chase you, and they infect you if they touch you. Later in the game, some take on a new form that looks a bit like a brown angel of death. They always chase you and are much faster than the normal plague clouds.
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