The Let's Play Archive

Pathologic

by woodenchicken

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Original Thread: Let's play Pathologic! (Devotress edition)

If you liked this LP, you might also like Grim Fandango: The Movie by Vexation, NIER by The Dark Id and Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition by Zain

Introduction



Pathologic is a 2005 first-person adventure developed by Ice-Pick Lodge, Russian studio also responsible for The Void and Cargo! The Quest for Gravity. It was their first project, and, as far as I know, the favorite among fans (at least in Russia, where people don’t have to put up with translation quirks).
Indeed, while their newer games have more gameplay and better production values, the sheer amount of thought that went into Pathologic is hard to match, and it has a rich, original world that’s packed with lore and neat little details, a good half of which you can, and probably will, miss even after 50-ish hours it will take to beat all three campaigns.




It’s set in a small fantasy town facing an outbreak of a deadly mysterious disease. Three outsiders have to fight an uphill battle to survive, uncover the secrets behind the epidemic and bring the town’s ordeal to some kind of resolution.
The player explores the environment in first person. Over the course of each day you receive multiple quests from NPCs and try to complete them before midnight. What makes it challenging is that a lot of your time will be spent collecting supplies, bartering, navigating the maze-like streets, resting and evading hostile locals. There are plenty of stats to keep track of, and your character will fall apart very quickly without some tight resource management.




The game requires three playthroughs, one for each character, in order to experience all the main story beats. The three storylines happen concurrently, over the course of the same 12 days. When you play as one character, the other two will also be in-game, but they basically hang out around the town, failing at their tasks, undermining each other and generally being very useless and random. One of the big themes of the game in general seems to be «Unless you make the choices yourself, someone else will make them for you, and probably make a SHITTY job of it»
All the characters witness the same(ish) events in town from different perspectives.
There’s already a finished LP of Bachelor’s story by Brass Monkey, and a new LP of Haruspex’ tale is currently in the works.




Meet the Impostress.

(She’s called Devotress in the official translation, which is incorrect and makes very little sense, so I’ll be using «Impostress», or simply «Klara», cause that’s the closest thing to a real name that she's got.)
A girl without past, with a very loose sense of identity and vaguely defined superpowers, she has only a faint idea of who she is, but everyone around her has their own varying expectations, and it’s up to her to live up or subvert them. In the end it’s mostly about choice and inevitability, stereotypes, following your destiny or carving your own path, that kind of shit.
She has kind of a bad rep, which is a shame, as her scenario is highly entertaining. Mostly because it’s a pretty disturbing tale, and because, thanks to her chaotic personality, you can have fun with all kinds of unproductive, but amusing and/or creepy dialogue options. I'll do my best to show off all the good stuff.
Klara's story is called The way of the Law.




And now we get to the selling point of this LP.
The translation in the English version of Pathologic, and especially Klara’s part, was somewhat controversial. It was kind of a rushed job, done by people who knew nothing about the game. I heard that playing the game in English may get a bit frustrating, considering that it has a bunch of plot holes and contradictions as it is, even before the language barrier.
So I found full Russian and English scripts of the game and created this very special edition, which is supposed to make more sense and be as accurate to the Russian version as I could manage. I feel that this game deserves it.
I got help with English grammar and style in some key parts from a fellow forum user, so thanks a bunch, Goddamn!




HOW THINGS ARE GOING TO BE:

1) This is going to be a guided experience - not much interactivity here. I’ll only present the audience with a choice when there’s potential for a fun discussion ITT, and only if the wrong decision cannot fuck us out of more interesting things down the road. Choices will be «rewarded» with some unique dialog.

2) This game's 90% text, so here's a short explanation of how the text works here:
- Everything the characters say is from the game.
- All written stuff from the game like letters, messages and diaries is in italics.
- Everything I add myself is in bold letters.
- When you see some text slapped on top of screenshots, it's voiced lines that the NPCs pronounce when you approach them. Some of them are really cool, so I had to put them in somehow.
- Film icons indicate cutscenes. They are not very informative and are only there to add flavor.
- Starting with episode 6-1, there are now links to the soundtrack. Click on a picture of a music device to start playback of a recording appropriate to the situation. Links will also be added to the end of the OP for future revisiting.


3) Chapters will represent in-game days. Each day will be broken into several updates (2 to 7, depending on how busy the day will be.)

4) I won’t spend any time explaining gameplay mechanics at all. It's by far the least interesting thing about this game and has already been covered in the previous threads. Sure, I could put the strategy tips in there, and have a few cheap laughs trying to justify «you must drink 2 gallons of water before going to sleep» from in-game perspective, but I’m trying to be consistent with the other threads and going for a serious tone here.

5) All repeating quests and endless combat will be cut out. I hope you will excuse me for that – it’s only to move the story along. The game’s long enough already.

Which means, we better get started!

REEL 1: The funeral.





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