Pathologic Classic HD

Game review by
Franklin Rinaldi, Common Sense Media
Pathologic Classic HD Game Poster Image
Morally ambiguous dialogue adventure tough yet engrossing.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 12+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Kids can learn to read and comprehend what they read on a deeper level. Every conversation has multiple outcomes based on the responses chosen, reinforcing cognitive thought, critical thinking, and decision making. There's no right or wrong way to play, which provides an interesting opportunity to stretch the imagination. As kids play through the experience and form attachments to certain characters, they drive the story in a direction of their own making. At the same time, certain elements will try to push them toward certain actions and reactions. Overall, the best aspect of Pathologic Classic HD is that it teaches you how to think on a grand scale without overtly instructing you, having you take in all the elements of the story to determine how you can survive while solving the mysteries of the town. 

Positive Messages

Though a survival game, play is more about dialogue, making decisions, taking actions.

Positive Role Models & Representations

You play as one of three characters, each with his or her unique quirks, problems, viewpoints. Nothing positive or negative about any of them.

Ease of Play

Difficult game to understand until you've played it for some time. No defined tutorials to assist new players. The amount of reading comprehension one has will determine the difficulty, enjoyment of the game.


A need for violence to survive, killing with a scalpel or guns. Evidence of blood, disease, pain, suffering, though none excessively graphic.


Some scantily clad characters, but nothing overtly sexual.


Some mild language used at times.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Pathologic Classic HD is a downloadable single-player first-person survival game originally released in 2005 that's being rereleased with improved graphics and visual effects. It's designed to stretch the emotional and psychological states of the players while immersing them in a gritty town of bleakness and despair that's full of mystery, intrigue, and a deadly disease. Players must survive hunger, disease, exhaustion, and villains, all of which will require making tough decisions. There are moments when you'll need to use a scalpel or gun to defend yourself, but there's no blood, gore, or graphic content shown. Some characters are scantily clad, and there's some mild language used, but otherwise there's no objectionable content.

User Reviews

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Teen, 15 years old Written byStormBaron August 18, 2018

Dark, complex but great

Story driven semi open-world horror game. One of the best stories I have ever seen in a video game, the graphics are decent and you can pick it up cheap for aro... Continue reading

What's it about?

PATHOLOGIC CLASSIC HD has you start as one of three characters asked to come to a town to investigate and help its citizens. You have 12 days to defeat the Sand Plague, assuming you can survive that long. As one of the heroes, you must dig deeper into what's truly occurring in the town. You must interact with many characters to determine their motivations and intentions (good or bad) for others in the town. You must also decide whom to help, whom to ignore, and whom to save, including yourself. Every conversation you have and every choice you make will change how the citizens reacts to you. That means you might have to try to buy what you can or barter and steal what you can't or make decisions to ease suffering or kill others for their resources. These are only some of the moral dilemmas you'll have to make in this tiny town.

Is it any good?

This action survival game is very tough and unforgiving, but for those who enjoy a deep story, this game is absolutely amazing. It's easy to see, after playing it for multiple hours, why it's frequently considered a cult classic. It's set in a world where there are no "moral choices" and no good or evil. This is a place where everyone wants to use you, hates you, and will eventually die regardless of what you do. For those looking for tangible rewards, this won't be the game for you. Staying alive, having some bread to eat when you're hungry, being able to keep your clothes mended and your weapons repaired, and not getting sick -- these are the rewards of this very well designed dialogue game. 

Though the visuals will feel outdated even after the HD update, keep in mind it was originally released in 2005. But the somberness of the setting is a large part of its appeal. The despair and anguish of many of the characters provides the ambiance and immersion. You'll become attached to the characters of the story even though you know they care less if you live or die. Pathologic Classic HD is a seemingly slow-paced game that's very tough to master, with an open world that lets you carve your own story in a striking, deeply personal way.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about making decisions and dealing with the consequences of those decisions. How do the conversations we have and the decisions resulting from them affect everyday life? How do these choices affect the people around you? 

  • Talk about how a deep and rich story can stretch the imagination and give an appreciation for mystery, the supernatural, and horror. What's the appeal with these stories? How does reading, watching, or interacting with these tales make you feel?

Game details

  • Platforms: Windows
  • Subjects: Language & Reading: reading comprehension, text analysis
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: analyzing evidence, applying information, asking questions, collecting data, decision-making, deduction, investigation, logic, making conclusions, part-whole relationships, problem solving, solving puzzles, strategy, thinking critically
    Creativity: combining knowledge
    Self-Direction: achieving goals, identifying strengths and weaknesses, self-assessment, time management, work to achieve goals, working efficiently
    Emotional Development: handling stress, identifying emotions, perspective taking
    Communication: asking questions, listening
  • Price: $12.99
  • Pricing structure: Paid
  • Available online? Available online
  • Developer: Ice-Pick Lodge
  • Release date: October 29, 2015
  • Genre: Survival Horror
  • Topics: Adventures, Book Characters, Misfits and Underdogs
  • ESRB rating: NR for No Descriptions
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

Our editors recommend

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