Butchering Pathologic – Part 2: The Mind

By Quintin Smith on April 11th, 2008 at 12:24 pm.


[Following on from yesterday's installment, Quinns continues his examination of the award winning Russian obscurity Pathologic. Spoilers abound. Oh - and if all this has tempted you, it turns out it is available as a digital download from GamersGate.]

Butchering Pathologic
Part II: The Mind

In a single word, Pathologic is dark. And not “we’re going to make our sequel a darker, more adult experience” dark. Not ‘teen angst’ dark. Pathologic is an endlessly bleak game with an atmosphere that smothers all hope. It’s ‘pensioner breaking a leg in his bedsit and no one finding out until the smell starts to get unbearable’ dark.

Even before the disease breaks out the town is a terrible, ungodly place. It’s ugly, completely isolated and ruled in triumvirate by three squabbling families (one industrial, one bourgeois, one intellectual, all of them hungry for power but none of them strong enough to take it). Children are everywhere but none of them can claim any parents, and at night the streets are ruled by furious drunks. The graveyard is maintained by a penniless blind girl who can do nothing to stop endless grave robberies. It’s pretty much a stretch to even call it a town- it’s a Nick Cave ballad brought to unlife in hideous 3D.

And yet as distant as morals seem to be, Pathologic still manages to feel like the most impossibly vibrant battle of good versus evil as you defend this wretched place, simply because of the sheer horror of your antagonist. The plague hungers, spreads and finally devours, shattering lives with no purpose other than to grow. There can be no moral qualms in what you’re doing, only in how you do it.

Ultimately, every obstacle you face in the game is caused by the virus. Everything from gaining entrance into quarantined buildings, to searching for food, to scrapping with rats and militiamen and crazed, infected townspeople. As terrible as life was before the epidemic, it was was life nonetheless. It was human. By contrast, there’s something unholy about the disease. It defies classification by the Bachelor’s science, and it shrugs off the Haruspicus’ concoctions. It even slips away from the Devotress’ healing hands. And there’s something else about it that’s even worse than any of this- but we’ll talk about that in part 3.

Now, when you first end a day in Pathologic a message comes up on screen. It tells you, in simple, silent text, how many have died in the village and how many are infected. It also says that there are eleven days left, and it’s not lying. When you open your journal you can clearly see twelve tabs, one for each day. The game ceaselessly reminds you of its own span.

Now, to begin with this is comforting. It’s just a way of reminding you that this nightmare will be over in a couple of weeks. Then the death tolls start racking up into the hundreds, the thousands, and you witness the sickness and you try and understand it but it only ever becomes more inexplicable and incomprehensible. Everything it does defies explanation.

Then, on one tired night midway through the game as your character staggers to bed, you find yourself thinking. The message comes up again, exactly as it does every night. But this time, you start to wonder what that message actually means.

“After seven days, the game ends.”

After seven days, it ends.

What ends?

This nightmare is over.

What ends?

Maybe the town ends.

Or maybe you end.

And then you start wondering if the disease can be beaten at all. And you start wondering if the town deserves it. There’s definitely something very final about the plague. As it spreads unchecked it seems to devour more than just life. As you search for the answers you need to beat this sickness, the sickness seems to be eating the very civilization from the town.

And this is another beautiful aspect of Pathologic- the town, your environment, shifts from day to day. Warren Spector’s said in interviews that he’d love to set an entire game in one small, wonderfully realised space. Pathologic’s town makes you realise the potential of that idea.

On the first day the town is something of a blank slate. The first changes to appear are the zoned off, infected areas where all hope is lost. In these areas the disease is rife, the houses are boarded up and infested with looters, the streets are choked in miasmas and smoke and the dying claw at you for salvation. These areas shift in location from day to day, and have an enormous effect on your actions. Simply traversing them is both a heartache and a risk, and without a weapon and good protective equipment (galoshes, gloves, heavy cloak) you’re going to need bandages, medicine and painkillers for yourself when you emerge out of the other side. Course, you need those same medical supplies to ease the pain of those dying in the zones, which is one of the only ways you can keep your reputation up. Decisions, decisions.

By day five, just as these dead zones are poised to engulf the town, you wake up to find that many previously civilized districts have exploded into full-blown anarchy, their streets full of terrified men hurling molotov cocktails at anyone who approaches. With another seven days to go, you get to wondering how on earth the town’s going to survive for another week.

The army arrive the next day. Steely Russian soldiers with flamethrowers and rifles, they set up roadblocks and mercilessly gun down the wandering sick. As well as changing the feel of the town, you’ve got to remember that these developments all completely throw the black market economy you’ve learned to manipulate.

There’s another shift in the town a few days later when the government ‘Inquisitor’ arrives. Setting up an office in the church, the Inquisitor puts the army on a leash, orders the construction of gallows and calls for the town’s leader to be put on trial for allowing civilisation to collapse. And all this happens while the disease pushes on, and on, the noose of the law tightening around your neck at a time when you need more freedom to conduct your research than ever. That’s probably a political statement, come to think of it- the Inquisitor calling a halt to everything in the name of justice as the town continues its malignant disintegration.

This organic environment makes sense in the context of the rest of the game, if you think about it. For a game about death to have any gravitas, you’re going to have to have a world that feels like it’s alive.

So, what we’ve got here is an awful, cold, beautifully Russian story in perfect keeping the grim game mechanics themselves of raging against the disease while trying to keep yourself alive. So far, so coherent. What we haven’t talked about yet is the finer points of the setting that aid this idea even further. The kind of gorgeous details in art direction and character design that can only come about when everyone on a games development team is sharing one vision.

The most obvious of these details is Pathologic’s colour palette, a thin wash of lifeless browns and grays. The most subversive of the details is the music, a relentless, natural-industrial track which never stops breathing down your neck and changes from area to area. The most effective of these details is the children. Pathologic’s intro cinematic is three kids holding a mock funeral for a tattered stuffed animal. It’s got nothing to do with anything, but it does kind of set the tone for the whole game. The children of Pathologic are everywhere, and, as I mentioned above, they’re largely abandoned.

Now obviously having kids everywhere is going to be a constant reminder of why you’re trying to fight the disease, but the kids represent more than that. The lack of parents has left the kids to form a microcosm within the town, and they’re ignoring the stupid grown-ups and engaging in their very own politics and battles.

We’re talking Lord of the Flies here. The kids are divided broadly into three main gangs (it’s always three with this game; not sure why). There are the kids ruled by Notkin, a tall, tough, charismatic kid, and they live in an abandoned warehouse in the industrial district. Then there are the kids that make their home in the Polyhedron, and finally there are the Dog Heads. The Dog Heads can and will scare the piss right out of you when you first see them. They’re a rough and tumble gang who wear the stitched heads of stuffed dogs over their own heads.

The kids are also just as vulnerable as everyone else in the game. While they will try and run from fights, they can still be killed in crossfire and there’s nothing stopping you from even stabbing or shooting them and taking their possessions. And these kids, these vicious little murderers, often carry medicine.

If nothing else this puts Bioshock’s laughable Little Sister moral decision into perspective. No Big Daddies here. Not even any regular daddies. Just you, you with your quest to save the whole town, and defenseless kids wandering through dark alleys, carrying the pills that’ll alleviate your crippling fever. And to think, Bioshock even had the outright gall to pick one of the options of its solitary ethical decision as the ‘right’ one.

So again, the kids are a side to Pathologic’s design which is at once singularly human and completely brutal. We can put that alongside the narrative, the plot, the setting and the game mechanics.

All this adds up to something.

A couple of years ago I had an argument with a friend, one of those differences of opinion that leaves you fuming and coming up with witty ripostes for days afterwards. I was saying that a good game doesn’t have to be fun. She was saying that was ridiculous.

My argument, though I botched my explanation at the time, is that games have incredible untapped potential in the field of negative emotions. Just as the lowest common denominator of any art form appeals to ‘positive’ emotions, whether it’s humour, arousal or excitement, so it is that our young games industry is obsessed with the idea of ‘fun’.

I think this is one of the core reasons that the games industry hasn’t had its Casablanca or Citizen Kane- we’re still in the era of musicals and slapstick comedy. No games developer’s going to try and make its audience feel sad, or lonely, or pathetic, at least not for long stretches. You might get games that dip their toes into that water from time to time, but by and large developers are keen to keep you smiling.

But that debate is just a big, ugly thorn bush that I’ve run through too many times already with nothing to show for it. The point is that Pathologic fearlessly wields desperation, brutality, hopelessness, exhaustion, cruelty, even ignorance and pain, and, if you can stomach it, the result is phenomenal.

Pathologic could not ever be described as fun. Tramping back and forth across town, trying to stem the torrent of deaths while aching to know what’s going on /is not fun./ This is not a game. There isn’t a word for it really, which is probably why the developers, Ice-pick Lodge, call Pathologic “an exercise in decision making” on their translated English website.

There’s a good chance I’m losing you here. Let me use a couple of lovely, colourful examples to illustrate the kind of power Pathologic has.

I played through the game at the same time as a friend. He chose the Bachelor, and I was the Haruspicus. Because we played at the same rate, we had the chance to discuss developments in the plot each day. This went wrong fast.

“WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?” he asked me after we’d both finished day three.

It took me a few seconds to figure out he was referring to the Haruspicus. In his game he’d been sent to investigate a body of one of the infected citizens that had been sliced open and left in the street, and his investigation ended up pointing to me as the perpetrator. But there was no evidence as to why I’d done it. Whereas in my game, yeah, I’d snuck up on a doomed man and cut him open, but I knew it was justified. For thousands of years the Haruspicus had held the right to open the dead in situations like this; what I’d done was the most natural thing in the world. To try and save the thousands of men, women and children in the town who were at risk, I’d brought one death on just a couple of days early. Sue me.

“I needed to see the infected organs” I told my friend, realising as I typed that this defense probably wouldn’t hold up in court.

We bickered for a while, each of us oddly firm in the beliefs of our own characters. He called me a murderer, and I called him pathetic. We left it at that.

When I was playing the game the next day I ended up going to a meeting with the Bachelor. The NPC called me a murderer, and our characters bickered. He wanted nothing to do with me. He said that, as doctors, we could never be justified in killing people.

Goosebumps!

But this happened all the time. My favourite was on day 9, some 20 hours into the game, when the same friend started talking about how he couldn’t play on for much longer. He said that if things didn’t resolve themselves soon he’d give up. He was so tired, he said.

The next day my character went to see the Bachelor to discuss some findings, and I found a man overcome with exhaustion. The Bachelor said that if we couldn’t discover the truth about this disease soon he was going to shoot himself rather than let the illness kill him.

This is what Pathologic does. It creates an interesting, desperate situation and brooks no compromise in letting you experience it. And in unflinchingly making you suffer, you identify with these characters you control to the point of becoming them.

So, Pathologic is a grand experiment in characterisation. It’s as daring and unique as one of those 15 minute indie games that everyone raves about (and rightly so!), only blown up into a 40 hour epic. Considering everyone’s always talking about how wonderful it’d be if those same indie developers could get a team and a budget, that makes Pathologic quite the achievement.

Of course, Ice-Pick Lodge happened to be a little more ambitious than that. They had to think bigger. After drawing up this blueprint for a brazenly intellectual game that covered all this new ground in so many different directions, they still wanted more.

Specifically, I think they wanted to be art. And Hell if they didn’t pull out all the stops and end up putting together one of the most staggering reveals in gaming history.

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69 Comments »

  1. phuzz says:

    I’m getting the impression that playing this would be a bit like playing Stalker with all the fun bits taken out…

  2. Gylfi says:

    What a wonderful game. I’ll play it as soon as i can.

    As for the “fun bits” of the previous post… shame on you, videogames aren’t just about fun, but also compellingly interactive story-telling.

  3. phuzz says:

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m teetering on the edge of buying this, but I can imagine it’s the game equivalent of Requiem for a Dream, a bloody great film, but not something I would (or could) watch just for recreation.

  4. Chris Evans says:

    Yeah I bought it, and I am proud of it!

    Everything I read just makes me think ‘this is a must have game’

  5. Marcos Castrillon says:

    It scares me that the more I read about this game, the more posibilities I see to finally play a game as a totally inmoral, psychopathic bastard.

  6. Ian says:

    Oh to hell with it, I’ve ordered a copy for £7 from Amazon.

    :(

  7. darkripper says:

    I decided I’ll start to talk on the internet like a badly translated Pathologic persona.

    So here’s a tip for the proficient one. In case you have a wide perspective on the world (one that is bigger than 1280×1024) – especially if your view it’s in the shape of a 16 and a 9 – there are ways to run this complex and scary game in a window (both real and metaphisical). It is a option hided in the dark but a knowledgeable gentleman armed with a notepad will find the data folder of the game of much interest.

  8. Dinger says:

    At least it’s not bleak like the Birthday Party.

    Everybody, sooner or later, gets to Casablanca and Citizen Kane. There were plenty of bleak movies in the twenties and thirties. M and the Testament of Dr. Mabuse are truly awesome films, and they shared space with slapstick and musicals. And that’s just one director.

    As any other historian will confirm, the past as remembered is different from the past as it was. The US’s #1 single for 1966 was “The Ballad of the Green Berets.” 1941′s box office-topper was Sergeant York: Citizen Kane and The Maltese Falcon were far down the list.
    We’re staring at some pretty compelling evidence that not every good game is a mindless shoot-em-up. Mindless shoot-em-ups do sell, and it’s natural to expect more of them too. For that matter, Shakespeare wasn’t the only playwright of Elizabethan England.

  9. ImperialCreed says:

    Sweet jesus Quintin you sure know how to spin a yarn.

    Like everyone else following this I’m seriously considering putting myself through Pathologic just to see if you’re right. What you’re saying seems to fly in the face of how we usually think games should work. I suppose I’m an advocate of putting the “fun” first, because when I play a game that isn’t I inevitably find the fun has been sacrificed for something that wasn’t worthwhile.

    Here it seems to be an excellent exchange, it might be a hellish experience but it might just be a thoroughly rewarding one.

  10. Kieron Gillen says:

    My general take on Pathologic is that if you think you want to give it a try, you probably should. You’ll find it interesting, even if you don’t enjoy it.

    For the sort of second hand price it’s available for, it becomes more attractive.

    KG

  11. hydra9 says:

    Wow – Part 2 of this article is even better than Part 1! *I* got goosebumps reading the section about you and your friend playing through at the same time. Simply mindblowing – Thanks!

    Re: The ‘fun’ factor – It *is* fun bending your mind round the story, sending yourself crazy as you pore over all the details and mysteries that the game contains. It is also rather fun (in a brutal, challenging way) just trying to survive for 12 days in a plague-ravaged city. However, at times, Pathologic is simply not fun at all. Yet it’s worth it.

  12. Jae Armstrong says:

    About three; it’s a holy number. Morrigan, of the Celtic tradition, the Germanic Norns, the Auroras in Slavic mythology, the Greek Fates, the Christian Trinity and the Hindu Trimurti. Cerberus had three heads. What is Buddha? Three pounds of flax. The Pythagoreans worshipped three as “the most beautiful number”. Though they also killed people for revealing that pi is irrational. The number three is everywhere.

    And it’s not only in religion. Three has an entire host of special properties in mathematics alone. In engineering, a triangle is the strongest shape. The rock-paper-scissors arrangement so beloved of game designers has three elements, and for good reason: it’s the simplest shape where each element has a unique relationship with every other element; one superior and one inferior. Any higher and the purity of the system begins to disintegrate. Asimov had three laws of robotics. Freud believed the mind to be made up of the id, the ego and the superego. Mediaeval society divided itself into three Estates of the Realm: the nobility, the clergy and the commoners. The three values of the French Revolution: liberty, equality, fraternity.

    Three is a holy number.

  13. Jonas says:

    Are you going to spoil that “staggering reveal” in part 3? Because in that case I need to not read part 3. Yet :)

  14. Babs says:

    I’d can’t imagine what it would like to be in the head of one of the designers of this game. This far more twisted than anything I could come up with by a million light-Peggles.

    I just bought this for £4 + p&p. At that price I can’t see how I can ever regret it.

  15. James says:

    Gah.

    I got about as far as the fifth paragraph of part one before thinking, ‘Right, I have to play this thing’. Now don’t get me wrong, I love being introduced to a game I’ve never seen or heard of before, but now I can’t allow myself to read the rest of what was shaping up to be a highly interesting set of articles.

    Curse you and your informative, intelligent writing, RPS hivemind!

  16. Dan says:

    Since the first article went up there’s been six copies of this bought on Ebay (£6 inc P&P) – one of those is me, and I’d bet the others are RPS readers…

  17. Chris Evans says:

    Dan – add in some people who have bought amazon copies, me and Ian for one and this game is gonna get some big sales :P

  18. Kieron Gillen says:

    It’s a shame it’s not on a digital download service anywhere, then the money would have actually had reached the Devs.

    KG

  19. Rook says:

    One of the problems with games reviewers is that they’ll often have these kind of experiences no one else playing the game will have. Part of Pathologic’s problem/charm is that it does such a bad job of letting you know what’s going on. Which is great, if you want to think about it in a non hand holding kind of way. And the idea of having another person (or two!) play through as the other characters and swapping notes sounds fascinating and probably gives you a much clearer idea of what’s happening. The frustrating element is that most people won’t have that, just a giant series of fetch quests knitted together with endless bin looting, and desperate attempts to avoid any form of conflict.

    As for playing in non-stretch ratios, you’re probably better off enabling Aspect scaling in your graphics driver control panel than anything else.

  20. Ian says:

    @ Chris Evans, shouldn’t that have been “me and Ian to name two” or something?

    Just wanting to clarify to everybody else one of us isn’t a saddo rejoicing with ourself over buying Pathologic on Amazon :D

  21. Joe Martin says:

    I have a request: Stop making me want to play Pathologic again.

    Really. I tried it when it came out and was quickly turned off by the immense difficulty and poor translation. I don’t want to put myself through that again right now and if you carry on with excellently written articles like this then I will eventually have to go and revisit it – which I really don’t want to do!

  22. Quinns says:

    Jonas: Yeah, the ‘staggering reveal’ is thoroughly revealed in part 3.

    Anyone who’s bought the game since they’ve started reading this (I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH) should avoid part 3 like so much radioactive waste.

  23. Stew says:

    Ordered via amazon. The two copies on ebay had disappeared between my search and clicking on them. RPS works fast…

  24. Quinns says:

    Joe: Climb back on that motorbike, spit out that cigarette, and roll back into town. Be That Guy.

  25. Ian Dorsch says:

    Okay, I’m sold. Too bad this one doesn’t seem to be available in the States, except as an overpriced import.

  26. dartt says:

    “And Hell if they didn’t pull out all the stops and end up putting together one of the most staggering reveals in gaming history.”

    That you’re a microscopic cog in his catastrophic plan, designed and directed by his red right hand?

  27. ExcitingJeff says:

    I was very disappointed to discover that this was the only article tagged with “metaphors involving Nick Cave.” Get crackin’, guys.

  28. Joe Martin says:

    @Quinns

    Do I have to? On my way to work this morning I resolved to finally make the push and complete Shivering Isles (which would require me starting Oblivion again). Don’t make me delay that :(

  29. InVinoVeritas says:

    I have spent countless hours on RPS since stumbling on it at work one day. Not only have you convinced me to purchase STALKER, Orange Box, Peggle, and a host of other games, but I now have Dwarf Fortress on my work PC, and it is running in the corner of the screen non-stop. I currently am counting down the minutes until I can get home and order a copy of Pathologic on Amazon. Thank you RPS for singlehandedly tripling my game expenses each month…

  30. Quinns says:

    Well, Joe. I mean. It’s your choice. You need to imagine Shivering Isles as a greasy burger, and Pathologic as a piece of broccoli the size of a tree, and me as your mother, and I’m standing at your back with my arms crossed and tears welling up in my eyes.

  31. Okami says:

    @Kieron: My thoughts exactly. Now my money will go to some stupid Amazon marktetplace partner…

    I hope that Tension will be good enough to be picked up by a digital distributor.

    EDIT:

    @InVinoVeritas: Same here. I even got a credit card for christ’s sake, so I could get Sins of a Solar Empire after having been brainwashed by RPS!

    A friggin’ credit card! I’m a paranoid hippie commie punk and RPS made me get A CREDIT CARD!!!

    hate you so much…

    (just kidding: I love you all, really I do!)

  32. The LxR says:

    Oh yeah, if the truth behind all is revealed in part three – DON’T read it until you complete the game at least for one character. Seriously.

    And another thing… Some you you might be wondering whether Tension/Turgor is going to be as badly translated or as glitchy as Pathologic… Well, we’re working on the translation by ourselves this time – I’m doing all the translating and hydra9 is helping me with proofreading and QC, so rest assured – this will be a decent translation, the way it’s meant to be played and it’ll keep all the original style traits as much as possible. I give you my word on that. :)

  33. groovychainsaw says:

    £7.50 (ish) from here guys, think you should be able to get it from here ok, direct download, I used them for fantasy wars a while back?? http://www.gamersgate.com/index.php?page=shop&what=browse&cat=all&q=pathologic
    I must admit, im sorely tempted after these 2 articles, and worried about spoilers in pt3….

  34. Jockie says:

    It sounds like the greatest game i’ll never play. Excellently written but it all just sounds so stressful and unforgiving, both in the game mechanics and the crashing/translation issues.

    Perhaps part 3 will persuade me.

  35. Durbin says:

    I just had to give in and buy a copy, the idea of the game being hard is actually getting me more interested. One of the main critisisms of the games I’ve played recently is they were too easy :/ (Super Mario Galaxy, Crysis and Bioshock). Playing STALKER currently and that puts up a good fight, nearly to the levels of playing Deus Ex on Realistic ;) ah the memories….

  36. Kieron Gillen says:

    Good work, Groovychainsaw.

    KG

  37. groovychainsaw says:

    Yeah, I must admit, when it comes to pc games now, i find myself ignoring anything i can’t purchase over the internet on a whim and play an hour or so later!

  38. InVinoVeritas says:

    @Okami: Dammit, you just reminded me that I haven’t purchased Sins of a Solar Empire yet. Well, here’s hoping the wife doesn’t check the CC statement anytime soon

  39. Joe Martin says:

    @ Quinn.

    ….OK. I’ll eat my Broccoli – but not until I’ve finished my current run of Fallout 2. Currently trying it (for about the billionth time) with a character with an intelligence of 3. It’s like playing Vampire as a nossie or malk in that it utterly changes the way you change the game, all the dialog and many of the quests available to you.

  40. J. Prevost says:

    Hmm. On the argument that a good game doesn’t have to be fun: I think this is wrong. The real issue is that fun doesn’t have to be fun. There is enjoyment that you gain from seeing a really emotionally wrenching movie, one that makes you cry. The fact that you’re deriving enjoyment from the way the movie makes you feel uncomfortable doesn’t mean you’re not enjoying the movie. It doesn’t mean the movie isn’t good, or that seeing it isn’t fun.

    Likewise, something like this game. Sure, not everyone is going to enjoy a game that is so very bleak—but some people will be awed by the connection it makes you feel with the characters. Those people? They’re having fun. Just… depressing fun. :)

  41. Chaz says:

    So you can murder children to satisfy a craving for drugs, hmmm……..pens letter to the News of the World ;)

  42. hydra9 says:

    @ J. Prevost: Good point.

    Fun can be all kinds of things. Fun is exploring a strange environment, whether it’s colorful and vibrant or (in this case) bleak and with the odor of pustulant flesh.

    Fun doesn’t just involve the biggest explosions or the coolest weapons to shoot people in the face with. Or collecting stars.

  43. THX-1138 says:

    Ok, I’ve been persuaded to buy a copy.

    I played the demo of this game, I remember it was on a PCGamer dvd once, and found it incredibly bizarre. Not in a bad way, but when I died and chose to load a game there were about 30 saves already there from many points in the game. I played a few of these saves, but as they were at random moments from the game it made it even more strange than I think it really is.

    It cant be any stranger than Gozu though, and I enjoyed that.

  44. Egg says:

    What can change the nature of a man? A decade old cyclical argument.

    Just get better words. Instead of saying ‘game’, make a loud instinctive noise and replicate it as closely as possible with the characters laid out in front of you. Then do it again for fun, which is now known as EAGH.

    If this happens now, maybe some children will grow up in a world where no comments or forums ever do the Literal Meaning vs My Personal Opinion On What It Should Mean Even Though The Most Insanely Flexible Of Definitions Is Still One Thousand Miles Away From What I’m Trying To Get At argument ever again.

    Until some dickhead says gameplay.

    Scentific fact: In Japan the word for gameplay is system, and on every official game site you will find a ‘system’ tab that simply explains the actions you will be performing in the game, stripped of any contextual non-interactive fat the game might be dragging along with it. The result of this slight cultural modification is that Japanese internet people do not start screaming and shitting themselves when someone refers to the concept by name.

  45. araczynski says:

    damn good writing by the reviewer. funny you mentioned bioshock, i personally found the story in the game to be disappointing, much like the game itself.

    that aside, i love the concept of enjoying a game without having ‘fun’ in it as was mentioned here. i share the sentiment, but am not verbally eloquent enough to have even materialized verbally the concept to myself until you took the words out of my mouth.

    thanks.

    looking forward to the last part. might just have to pick this game up if i can find it.

  46. Willem says:

    Shirley, some clever internet-kids should’ve patched/modded/fixed it to hell and back by now? Anyone?

  47. Leeks! says:

    Wow, this is a really superb series. Reading this reminds me of the time a friend sold me on Cormac McCarthy’s the Road. I really, really want to read this game.

    Dear RPS,
    Please take Quinns on as a more regular contributor.
    Thank you.

  48. Kieron Gillen says:

    Willem: There’s some people working on a dialogue patch, but won’t be done for a long time. Problem being, a game that’s not at least prominent doesn’t get the sort of attention Bloodlines gets.

    KG

  49. Heliocentricity says:

    egg? dont we just call them game mechanics? same principle.

    but, even that wont sum up fun.

    This game sounds like silent hill meets the sims

  50. Horatius says:

    I completely agree with the notion that all games do NOT have to be ‘fun’. Wernor Herzog does not make fun movies, but they are enthralling, epic, heart wrenching stories.

    I’m sold, I’m getting this game. If I want action I can play Half Life, the same way I can watch The Road Warrior. Some days though, I’d rather watch Klaus Kinski float down a muderous jungle river screaming in his armour.

    Thank you for all your writing RPS!