Pathologic is the upcoming first person horror adventure game being developed by Ice-pick Lodge. The game takes place in a dreary town that has been infected with a strange illness that has affected the majority of the townspeople.
In the pre-alpha build that we received from Buka, you control Bachelor, the only playable character out of three main characters in the game. As Bachelor, you are a scientist who has been sent to a town to investigate this mysterious illness. As I began walking around the town, the reactions I got from the townspeople were interesting. A few of them even proceeded to bow at my feet, which seemed to symbolize the impact and stature this character would have in the journey that followed.
The game is set up like a traditional survival horror game, complete with in-game inventory menus and a helpful map that tells you exactly where to go to continue your quest. Character stats such as Hunger, Fatigue, Immunity, and Reputation to name a few, give you feedback about certain events. For example, at one point in the game, I thought it might be interesting to beat a civilian senseless right in front of what I'm assuming is a patrol guard, then searched his prone body for any items of use. As a result, my Reputation took a hit and I had an angry guard after me. Looks as if random civilian beatings aren't looked upon too kindly in these parts. Being that this is a pre-alpha build, the impact that these stats will have on your character isn't known yet, but it seems like they will play a major factor in how successful you are over the course of the game.
Throughout your journey around the town, you are engulfed in a thin mist carrying the illness. One of the most interesting experiences so far is the effects of this illness on your character. This is illustrated by a momentary lapse of consciousness, which sends your character into a state of disorientation, causing the screen to sway and your vision to black out. The effect is quite convincing.
Ice-pick Lodge plans to incorporate 27 unique characters in the game that you can interact with - all with in-depth, distinctive history - all backed by professionally-trained live actors. While not an innovative feature in a horror adventure game, Ice-pick also points out that depending on which main character you chose to play, who you interact with in the game, and the decisions you make thereafter, these will all affect the outcome of the game.
Visually the game could stand some improvement, particularly in the animations of the townspeople and enemies. Certain death animations look too rigid and stiff. Hopefully these issues will be addressed before its final release. The technical imperfections notwithstanding, the game looks like a real winner.
Overall, the game offered many reasons to look forward to its release with growing anticipation. Pathologic looks poised to be a promising addition to its genre, and with its interesting story and design, it should easily find a home among the horror adventure aficionados.