Thoughts on Disco Elysium
The Hangover movie as a base, spice it up with some Fallout vibes and sprinkle on an eceptional character expression/progression system. Where do I sign up? I had some high expectations on Disco Elysium and it still manage to deliver a solid 10/10 experience.
Right of the bat the game hits you with some quality witty dialogue. Loved it from the first second on hearing the crass voice from the reptilian brain. You wake up in a banged up hotel room, celarly you have a substance abuse problem and you also seem to have amnesia. Although I do not enjoy the “main character has amnesia for the viewer to easier relate”-cliché, Disco Elysium really does it all the way. It revives fond memories of playing Planescape Torment, another favourite of mine.
The characters all have clear weaknesses which make them feel very human. Every time you meet a new NPC your presented with their absolute worst traits. So it takes a while before you can properly assess the characters and their motivations which make the game very thrilling.
There is basically no combat at all, it’s all dialogue. I often yearn for more gameplay driven systems when I play an RPG, and combat lends itself well to create gameplay, but somehow Disco Elysium have find simple skill test mechanics throughout the game that you can play around. There are both active and passive skill tests. Active tests are dialogue choices where you see the difficulty of the test, some of these are one time chance and som you can try multiple times. Passive tests happen constantly and they affect what sort of information you get access to as you are talking to NPC.
The internal dialogue that is the result of the passive checks truly is the greatest USP this game has. Depending on what you’re good at, you are given different pieces of advice or information. These are meant to represent the main protagonists inner wants and primal driving forces. Very interesting take on internal struggles, needs and wants. I was so inspired I think I came up with three different concepts of projects I wanted to work with, based on this type of presentation.
You play a cop in a pretty classic murder story with the classic twists and turns. I was thouroughly engaged across the entire game. If I would have to complain about something it was that my ending was slightly underwhelming. There were many things I was not content with, but maybe thats what ZA/UM wants me to feel?
They really succeeded in creating a game where it *feels* like your choices matter. After I had finished the game, I immediately wanted to start a new run and test out new routs with a different set of stats. The game is also short enough, and I mean that in the best way, where you feel like you can spare the time to replay it once more.