By Michael Fontanini / December 18th, 2015
The other major threat in these areas of Pathologic Classic HD are rats (they can also spawn in districts that have been left behind by the plague). If a rat sees you, it will chase you. These rats for some reason have an irresistible urge to bite the player, and if they succeed you will become infected (something to be avoided at all costs). Once infected, your infection stat will begin to fill as the infection grows inside you. You can use medicines to manage it, but only a couple of rarer items can actually cure the Sand Plague. This is a big part of why it is important to SAVE OFTEN. You WILL get infected, and the best medicine by far is just to save often so you can simply reload your last save and try again should you get infected. You could choose to keep playing in spite of being infected, but that will make surviving that much more difficult.
In Pathologic Classic HD, enemies that chase you, like rats, plague clouds, and bandits can be escaped (they will give up the chase if you can get far enough away and some only chase for a short distance). The easiest way to get them off your tail is simply to run inside a building, preferably a safe one like a shop or the home of a friendly character. This tactic can also be used if there are more enemies in an area than you want to deal with. Entering a building and going back outside causes all mobs and NPCs to respawn, likely getting rid of the group that was previously in your way.
Districts that have been ravaged by the plague offer another way to get items to barter with, too. You can rob the houses, but doing so in an infected district is very risky. Infected houses are full of plague clouds, and red mold grows on the walls inside as well. You will also find people laying on the ground, ailing as the plague slowly steals the life out of them (these people can also be found outside sprawled on the ground in infected districts). You can help them feel better with some medicines for a reputation increase, but it’s usually too risky to be worth it. Districts the plague has left can also be robbed, but this too is risky. Inside of the houses in these districts, you will encounter looters who will try to kill you. You can actually rob houses in normal districts too, but you’ll need a lockpick to enter locked houses in these areas. Stealing items within sight of a member of one of these households will result in them attacking you, but you can outrun them.
The gameplay in Pathologic Classic HD consists of surviving and doing quests for people in the town. If you don’t finish the main quests for the day before the day ends at midnight, one of the important characters will fall ill with the plague. This is a big problem, since you must keep the main characters alive. So it is important to complete your main objectives each day. There are also sidequests each day, with varying rewards. Rewards can be money, items, or changes in your reputation stat. This stat effects how you are treated. In fact, if it gets too low you will have to be stealthy as people on the streets will try to attack you. You can also get money by selling items to shops without choosing anything to buy from them. In this case they will just give you money for your items.
The background music in Pathologic Classic HD is odd in its own way and adds to the eccentric atmosphere of the town. It also has a heavy touch of foreboding in it which is fitting of the situation the town finds itself mired in. The townspeople also add to the mystery since they talk a little funny, and some hold rather mystical beliefs. The textures look pretty good and help bring the geometry of the world to life, even though the world is dying all around you with each passing day. The sound effects and voice overs are alright too, although for some of the kids you can tell they used the same voice actor and just changed the pitch and such of the voice files to make it sound a little different. Every character has some voice acted lines that they will say when you first talk to them or randomly while you are standing near them. Most of the dialog is not voice acted as there is just way too much of it, and that would make the game huge since sound files are big.
In general, it usually takes at least an hour to play through a single in-game day. There are 12 days in total. Some days can take you multiple hours to get through, and this is greatly dependent on how often you save because not saving often enough will force you to redo things you already did, which will inflate your playtime. You can save any time you want via the pause menu. Pathologic Classic HD can be annoying at times if you push your luck too far and don’t save as often as you should. It can also be annoying due to the plague clouds being somewhat cheap at times. Since they appear when you’re only a mere two feet or so from them, you have to quickly change your path or you’ll hit them. This makes it easy to accidentally run into them, along with the fact that they are placed in annoying areas, as mentioned earlier. The game could really use a sprint key, but at the same time that would make the plague clouds even more annoying since moving faster would make them even harder if not impossible to dodge when they suddenly appear.
Your choices throughout the game effect what happens in the town. As the player, you have the ultimate say in the town’s impending fate. Pathologic Classic HD has different endings too, depending on what you do. It took me well over a week to get through just the Bachelor’s scenario. So for one playthrough, it will take you in the neighborhood of 24 hours or so of play time. If you add in the other two scenarios for the other two characters, you’ll end up with somewhere around 72 hours of gameplay total.
Pathologic Classic HD is an unforgiving survival experience, so don’t forget to SAVE OFTEN! With quests to do each day and choices to be made that affect the story, it’s up to you what happens. Who lives and who dies is sometimes a choice you will find yourself having to make. It is, however, possible to save all of the important characters, if you collect enough of the curative items during your stay in the town. You also have choices like do I help this ailing sick person by giving them some medicine to ease the pain, or do you keep all of the medicine for yourself? There is also the issue of who you should trust. It’s a very interesting premise for a game, and a game that is definitely worth playing. It should also be noted that this HD release (remastered and retranslated) was put out in the meantime while the developers are still busy making a true remake of the game (that should launch sometime in 2016). In the meantime, Pathologic Classic HD is available for $12.99 on Steam. Pathologic Classic HD is a game that asks “Can you save this dying town and survive long enough to uncover its true nature, or will you perish as the plague decimates the town and then the world beyond?”
Review copy provided by publisher.
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