Review: Plague, Inc.’s DLC The Cure

There is a video game called Plague, Inc. which was released in 2016. The description on the steam page is:

Your pathogen has just infected ‘Patient Zero’ – now you must bring about the end of human history by evolving a deadly, global Plague whilst adapting against everything humanity can do to defend itself. Plague Inc. is so realistic that the CDC even asked the developer to come and speak about the infection models in the game!

I used to LOVE this game. I have it on computer and on my iPad. And then 2020 hit.

I haven’t been able to play this in over a year. Previously, it was a game I’d sit and play through for 20-30 minutes (about how long it takes for me to win or lose).

I recently saw they are allowing their DLC The Cure to be played for free. I downloaded and opened it up. They have 4 difficulty modes:

  • Casual
  • Normal
  • Brutal
  • Mega-Brutal

The language of these levels hurts. Things like (Normal) “Politicians are vaguely competent” and (Mega-Brutal) “Everyone believes fake news” or (Casual) “People love wearing masks” and (Brutal) “Sick people inject Disinfectant”

The good news IS the line about healthcare – Normal is “Healthcare systems unprepared” Brutal is “Doctors are arrested for reporting disease” and Mega-brutal is “Doctors play Plague Inc. all day.”

So the real world is somewhere between normal (for healthcare) to mega-brutal… I decided to play Normal.

My bacteria (the most basic plague) was “Pimply Suffering” and I liked it, so I kept it! I lost authority on that first run (I should have played the tutorial) because I didn’t know how to issue things like quarantines. I deserved to be ousted. I was a terrible plague-avoiding-director. I tried a second time and did better, but I still failed by losing all my authority – people didn’t like lockdowns! Damnit, I’m trying to save lives here people! Oh.

The reality of the game is a little raw at the moment. This game should be played by every high school student in their health class. Spend a day and make all the kids play through at least the first time or two on Brutal and see what happens. Then have a debrief where you discuss why people don’t want to follow the suggested measures and why you (the “leader”) can’t do more – you don’t have enough money to do more. “What would you have been able to do if you had gotten an extra $10 dollars of funding? $50?”

Then let the kids play through on Casual and see what more they can accomplish when the population isn’t so… well brutal.

I mean, realistically right now I want every damn adult I’ve met who thinks masks are for “pussies” and who thinks the vaccines put mind control devices into your arm to have to play through on Mega-brutal 10 times. Let them feel the extreme frustration when no one will help you win the bleeping bleeping fight!!!