Pathologic Reader Review
Intelligent writing in computer and video games is an almost unheard-of phenomenon. Characters instead recite lines drawn from the Big Cliche Book of Hollywood while the player looks on numbly. Those few games that actually give you a choice of what to say present artifical, contrived messes squeezed either into hopelessly black-and-white moral choices or inconsequential chatter. Planescape: Torment of course overcame this. With vast quantities of detailed, thoughtful and reflective dialogue and description, it had a standard of writing that would not ashame a contemporary novel, let alone the fantasy it cloaked itself under. It was also something of a one-off glitch, a mostly overlooked game that quickly drowned in the tide of shiny graphics and overblown melodrama. I feared we'd never seen anyone make the same attempt again when the creators, Black Isle, fell apart. It's nice, on this occasion, to be proved wrong.
From what I've played so far, Pathologic is a breath of fresh air. You're not some hero saving the world, or soldier caught in a war, or any of that other nonsense. You're a man, much like any other, sent to a diseased town for varying reasons, who finds himself caught up in a bizarre play, a story that cloaks itself neither under fantasy, horror, action or any of the other genres that games normally plaster themselves in to comfort suspicious buyers. The graphics are stylised and atmospheric rather than high-resolution blandness. The dialogue is thoughtful, insightful and credible, more like a play than, as is the case with most games, random one-liners torn from some action film. It probably won't sell many copies, but it's the most original, creative and artistic thing I've played all year, so far.
10 / 10