Pathologic 2 came out on PS4 in an interesting time. It’s reflective of our world today, despite the rest of the setting being incredibly unique compared to most games. It’s the threat of the plague, and the actions that must be taken to halt the spread that mirror the world we live in today.
For those who have tried Pathologic 2, or those looking to pick it up, Marble Nest offers a separate story for you to experience that acts as a microcosm of the Pathologic 2 experience as a whole. Should you check out this alternate look at the game’s events, or is this DLC less than integral? Let’s find out.
Same Plague, Different Day
Pathologic 2 is a brutal, unique, and utterly haunting experience. It’s also one that can easily overwhelm you with its default difficulty and real-time system that doesn’t wait for you. In the base game, you have twelve days to do all you can to stem the spread of the disease and dive deeper into the mysteries around you, but with time moving forward at a constant pace, you’ll never see all of it in one playthrough.
All of this, and the great need to maintain your hunger, thirst, immunity, and other elements. It’s quite the experience, as I detailed in my review, but Marble Nest offers a different approach. In this DLC for the main game, you play as a scientist from the Capital by the name of Daniil Dankovsky, otherwise known as “the Bachelor.”
This new character offers a different perspective and an easier way to acquaint yourself with the world of Pathologic 2. In this DLC, you only have one day to solve the ultimate mysteries before you. You also only get 2 districts to explore, as opposed to the much larger map in the main game.
Normally, this would be a downside, but in Marble Nest it actually works in the game’s favor as it offers you a much, much easier way to come to grips with the game’s mechanics. The Bachelor is also less focused on his personal health, so you’ll notice the survival mechanics are far less intense this time around (you can adjust the difficulty in the main game as well).
The premise here is also intriguing as Daniil himself seems to be locked in a battle with Death itself, in this case a towering figure with glowing eyes donning a bird skull. While the DLC will only take 2-3 hours for a single playthrough (since you only have 1 day), there’s plenty of incentive to play multiple times as you’ll need to decide which tasks or people are more important than others.
Once again, the real-time nature of Pathologic 2 gives Marble Nest a strong sense of urgency in everything you do. There’s no way to save everyone, and not enough time to see and do everything, so what do you prioritize? It’s a question that drives the mechanics, but the more relaxed survival elements in this DLC allow you to focus more on the tasks at hand than the main game (at least on the default difficulty).
The allure of a mystery to solve and a stronger focus on the tasks before you, along with a more focused scope, make Marble Nest an excellent entry point for those experiencing Pathologic 2 for the first time. Since it’s a standalone story, there’s no reason not to play it before the main campaign. If anything, it will help you acclimate to the larger experience much easier.
Even those who play it after will most likely enjoy more of what makes Pathologic 2 great. I think the $10 price point here is fine, given that you can buy it with the base game for less than the cost of a normal full-priced title.
Do I wish this DLC allowed you to play through multiple days like the base game? Yes, that would have been great as it’s clear there’s always more to learn about this world. Even so, as an introduction to the world and mechanics, Marble Nest feels like a natural place to start.
Some Small Improvements to Presentation
While Pathologic 2 does have some rough edges on PS4 in terms of performance, Marble Nest seems to benefit from the smaller scope in a few ways. For starters, load times seemed less pervasive for me in this reduced map. I also noticed less stutters and frame rate drops during my time with the DLC.
The music and occasional voice acting continues to be a strong part of the experience, offering unsettling tracks and haunting dialogue in equal measure. Taken as a whole, Marble Nest feels like an important part of the Pathologic 2 experience. A separate, but integral place to start for those who want a less abrasive introduction to the world.
Final Score: 8.5/10
A copy of Pathologic 2: Marble Nest was provided to PS4 Experts for review purposes.
Article by - Bradley Ramsey
Insert date - 3/23/2020