Pathologic 2 adds 16 difficulty sliders so you can suffer however you want to

Ice-Pick Lodge recently decided, very reluctantly, to add a difficulty slider to Pathologic 2. It emphasized in the announcement that the game is really intended to be played at full-on toughness, but some players have apparently been struggling with it and the studio said it would rather people were able to enjoy "a tweaked experience" than none at all.   

Having committed to making it happen, the developers appear to have gone all-in on it. There is the promised difficulty slider, with settings like Imago, Cocoon, and Larva, but you can also tweak a number of individual player and item parameters to adjust the effectiveness of food, clothing, or weapons, for instance, or the speed at which you get hungry or take damage. Each setting also includes an explanation of exactly what it does and the impact it has on gameplay.   

Setting the "Hunger Damage" slider below 70 percent means the character will regenerate hit points during sleep faster than they're lost because of hunger. "That would allow one to escape a hunger death loop," the pop-up says. "However, we do not recommend playing through the whole game like this: Better use this option temporarily." 

That jibes with Ice-Pick Lodge's recommendation that the game be played at full difficulty, a position it reinforced with the addition of a new, uniquely colored achievement called Imago, which is earned by playing through the game without touching the difficulty toggle. (You have to toggle off the "Intended Difficulty" option in order to gain access to the sliders.) If you've already finished the game, or are close to it, you can get the achievement by loading your latest save and playing to the credits without touching the toggle.   

And if you're the sort of True Gamer who thinks that Pathologic 2 at its intended difficulty was actually way too easy, the sliders go the other way too, so you can crank it up to make yourself as miserable as you want to be. 

The difficulty slider update also makes some performance improvements and fixes a handful of bugs. The full patch notes are available on Steam

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.