30 September, 2009

Pathologic - Warming Up

*Spoilers Ahead*

Ok, I'm getting more comfortable with the gameplay mechanics. And with the layout of the town. It's pretty cool, how you'll be minding your own business, and if you don't keep an eye on your vitals, then when one of your meters - say hunger, or exhaustion - approaches critical, it'll show up in the corner of the screen to remind you. So you'll be walking along, and then suddenly you'll notice, "oh, I'm hungry, I better eat something", or "uh-oh, I'm getting tired, I should take a nap". It certainly adds a realism to the gameplay, and it causes you to keep those considerations in the back of your mind as you play. You can't just waltz around town solving mysteries, you actually have to take care of yourself in order to survive. It adds its own sense of uneasiness, and a feeling of vulnerability, even before talk of infectious disease starts to spread (followed shortly by the disease itself, I'm sure).

As you walk around town, you come across coins laying on the ground, which you pick up automatically - and sometimes other things laying about, too, like needles and things. You can search in all the trash bins, often times finding empty bottles that can then be filled up at a fountain or other source of water, located throughout town. There are stores spread about town, some for medical supplies, some for clothing (I haven't really taken a look at those yet), food stores, and taverns. Some of the descriptions for the foods (and also medicines) scare me, because it talks of the food's source and how "safe" it is. For example, whether a piece of meat came from an animal from The Steppe (lots of superstition against that place), and things of that nature.

I'm getting more familiar with the town, as well as the townsfolk. The town is split into three sections, split by two rivers which they apparently call "Vein" and "Throat" - creepy, I know. Each of the three sections is sort of 'ruled' by an influential family, and my Day 2 task seems to be getting them to put down their petty squabbles so we can work together to contain the outbreak of this disease, which I now have proof of. The townsfolk seem to be very superstitious, talking about spirits and curses and things, and are reluctant to admit that the "killer" from yesterday was disease, but as I said, I now have proof. I have come into my first contact with the infection. It's pretty creepy - the house itself where the infected died is bloody and growing boils - inside and out.

Apparently the disease swept through the town once before - they call it Sand Dirt, or Sand Plague, depending on the translator's mood, I suspect. They stopped it then by locking all the infected inside their homes. I have a feeling this time it won't be so easy to control. Especially since the one doctor who knew the most about the disease was the second to die of it this time around (it was his house I investigated). One of my side quests for today is stocking up on food supplies - prices for which have increased as a result of rumors of the outbreak. There's supposed to be a shop that sells cheap, but I don't know how I'm gonna find it.

And if the ticking clock wasn't enough to make me feel rushed to accomplish my goals, the knowledge that every hour that passes could mean more people infected, or even dead - perhaps even someone important - is rather frightening.

Those ruins I mentioned yesterday, turns out they are actually newly built avant-garde architectural projects built by an architect living in the town who seems to have an aversion to gravity. He's also the one behind the mysterious tower they call The Polyhedron on the north edge of town, which is a huge floating structure that seems to be a cross between an alien spaceship and a giant beehive. Weird.

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