|Release Date:||October 15, 2019|
|Developer/Publisher:||ZA/UM, Humble Bundle|
|Platforms:||Windows, macOS, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Stadia, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S|
|Steam Review:||Very Positive|
During the launch of the 2019 Disco Elysium, the game didn’t get as much attention. But it didn’t take long before gamers all over the world took notice of this amazing, off-beat political RPG game.
With how much traction Disco Elysium got—receiving loads of awards—developer ZA/UM decided to drop an even bigger and much more jaw-dropping version of Disco Elysium. ZA/UM released “Disco Elysium – Final Cut” to bring in an even bigger RPG audience to the game outside of just the PC ecosystem. Moreover, they were able to make huge improvements to the game that made Disco Elysium – Final Cut an even better game than its predecessor. The improvements to the game are a great accomplishment, making an already great game even better.
Disco Elysium’s basic premise is simple, but everything that surrounds this overarching storyline is anything but straightforward.
Picture yourself waking up with no memories. No recall of the previous night, no remembrance of your loved ones or friends, not even the knowledge of your own name, with that in mind, you’re in for a surprise once you enter the world of Disco Elysium
The game is set in Martinaise, a district in the city of Revachol, which has a dark history of uprisings, corrupt (and failed) governments, and violence. Martinaise is currently teetering on the brink of anarchy while being ruled by a coalition of governments. Now, you begin the game as a cop suffering from severe hangover-induced amnesia. You awaken puzzled and confused, struggling with your inner self while pantless and decomposing in your damaged hostel room with the window broken and hot water endlessly gushing from the sink faucet.
Disco Elysium will relentlessly thrust you into a gruesome, broken world where you play as a nameless detective, figuring things out as you go. However, before you can even begin to recall events, a plump body is discovered dangling from a tree outside your hostel. It’s now down to both you and your silent co-conspirator to discover the truth about the murder and your complicated past—one marred by drunkenness and a midlife crisis—as well.
Furthermore, Disco Elysium uses its environment to approach difficult subjects in powerful ways, and it keeps posing intriguing questions to players in ways that are socially and naturally connected to the narrative and the game’s setting. The game takes you on a whirlwind of discoveries no matter what you do; you just seem to keep finding information that will both intensify and confuse your understanding of the game and everything that’s happening around you.
With maps overrun by icons and sizable tracts of terrain begging to be investigated, the density of a game’s universe can indeed sometimes feel daunting. But that’s not the case with this game. Despite how much there is to do, Disco Elysium pushes you to take it slow and soak up all the material being presented to you at your own pace. It’s up to you to determine whether to accept the facts you discover at face value.
The atmosphere of Disco Elysium, along with the amazing world-building, gives it the pizzazz that other games don’t quite have.
Being an amnesic police officer who must investigate a murder is quite the catch. Even on the surface level, the storyline is interesting because of how it unfolds and progresses. But as you delve further into the game, the allure of finding new elements and then connecting them with each other while attempting to solve the mystery intensifies.
One of the game’s strengths is the outstanding cast of characters that serve as the story’s primary characters. Every character, whether they are the main character or a supporting character, has fully voiced-out lines thanks to the amazing work of ZA/UM. Given how many lines the game has, it is astounding that all of them have been voiced by a line of outstanding voice actors.
They are subjects that broaden and enlarge the intellect, making you wonder about your own position within the world. Disco Elysium is both a detective fantasy game and a self-evaluation of your own socio-political views. Even so, the bigger stories that Disco Elysium delivers within and through its environment ultimately take precedence over its initial narrative.
But you might ask, “Where does the combat come in, being it an RPG game?” If you played Disco Elysium with combat in mind, I hate to break it to you, but Disco Elysium isn’t much of a combat game. Over the course of 30 hours of gameplay, you’re most likely to read a lot of dialogue instead of fighting bad guys. But before you hate the game for having more dialogue than fighting, Disco Elysium has one of the best video game dialogues I’ve ever read.
The dialogue was written with great care. It can be piercingly amusing at times, pressing into the gloom of your position as well as being willing to tell you when you’ve made an error. Considering that many people in Revachol harbor racist and fascist sentiments and aren’t ashamed to express them, you should be prepared to take a sardonic step into far deeper, mature themes. No matter how minor, each character skillfully leads you farther into Revachol and it’s horrifying underworld depravity.
However, your own mind is where the most impactful dialogues are produced. There are 24 different parts of the brain that you can communicate with. Furthermore, the type of investigator you become depends on which of the 24 components of your brain you strengthen. You have the option of becoming a Sherlock Holmes-style detective who never misses a beat, a detective who prefers to keep things civil, a detective who stays in the background, or a detective who applies force rather than reason. Depending on which of the 24 you wish to play out, this may vary.
Furthermore, you immediately get the impression of a world that you’ll spend more than 30 hours of your time exploring. You get to see abandoned buildings that haunt the streets, shattered sculptures, abandoned cars, and a whole line of characters full of personality. It is a long-fabled conflict that serves as a reminder of what happened here.
But just like any other game, Disco Elysium also has its fair share of issues. With how big the world-building is and the amount of dialogue inputted into the game, there are bound to be some issues in the gameplay.
The controls’ smoothness was occasionally poor. I occasionally had to repeatedly click “X” in order for my character to respond. The voice acting sometimes stopped entirely during conversations or internal monologues, and there were moments when the audio for certain lines didn’t even start playing.
A few crashes I had while playing the game on the PlayStation 5 caused me to lose some of my progress since the previous autosave, which was really annoying given how many dialogues I had to re-read.
However, with how great the game actually is, I can forgive these minor issues, although they are something the game can improve on.
Disco Elysium was already a great game when it first came out, and now it’s much better thanks to The Final Cut. The developers combined the traditional RPG elements with those of an open world to produce a cutting-edge, novel game setting. Though there are still some issues, they are tolerable, given that the added improvements and upgrades give character to a world that was already packed with charm.
Disco Elysium is a game that you shouldn’t miss if you’re seeking a complex political game that delves deeply into mature themes.
If you enjoyed reading our review, then you might want to check out our other game reviews here.
For more awesome games, check out our article on the “Best Indie Games of All Time.”