REVIEW – Can this character limit be hit before Sony announces the PlayStation Plus titles for November? The answer is no, but until then, here’s a good game, Disco Elysium. Especially for those who like RPGs, as well as investigation. If you enjoyed Planescape: Torment, Disco Elysium will be a good choice.
How typical: you awake with a hard hangover in a hotel room, with bonus amnesia added to the mix. Therefore, it’s completely up to you during this deep RPG – including the dialogue system that is as complex as Planescape’s was – what you make out of your character, and, as expected, whatever you do and say will have an impact on the story and the other characters.
Aside from the dialogue, your character’s skills will also matter, as you will have no less than twenty-four of them, covering a wide range of abilities (from logic to authority, there are both physical and mental attributes), and since I used the investigation term intentionally in the intro paragraph, there are some skills that could come in handy here and there (for example, if you have more logic, you can see the case much easier), but on the other hand, you might miss a few factors that you would otherwise see normally with different skills. And even then, I didn’t even mention that the skills form up during your character creation based on your base stats (psyche, motorics, physique, intellect), and since we are talking about an RPG, levelling up will also happen, and you can thus improve your skills. On top of all that, the thoughts need to be mentioned, too – these (three at max initially) will get into your head while talking to other people, and over time, you might see a stat buff, plus your mental state might change as well. This paragraph is effectively trying to express that you can have an entirely different experience during a second playthrough if you compared it to the first one.
The story, set in the city of Revachol, just underlines it even more – it was written perfectly, even if you will be mostly in the city’s Martinaise district (and somehow, I first wrote Martiniase, even though I rarely drink alcohol…). The characters will not hold themselves back. For me, seeing the anarchic, dirty comments from them was highly enjoyable, and in return, the ambience was great, too. No matter where you go (as the developers tried to give you complete freedom), the dark tone and style will remain, although it will be mostly in text, as there is no complete voice acting in Disco Elysium – this might be the biggest issue in the game, as most of the time, you will either hear your old reptilian brain, or Kitsuragi, your partner. At least they sound great. The rest, not so well.
You can solve the case in any way or approach you want. This thought is the reason why I can say the replayability has increased the score. This is the game that you can talk about with your friends, sharing experiences. I might say I had an X experience, while someone else might have had a Y, or even a Z one instead of X. It all opens up at the point where your skills will not block you entirely in progressing through the game – via them, you can get through your tasks in a different manner, and therefore, there is a lot of variety. You just have to get through the visuals, though, as in my opinion, Disco Elysium looks a little weak on this front – those who judge games by the visuals will decide after two screenshots that they don’t care about the game, and they might miss out on something amazing: this game is one of the biggest surprises on PC. Just PC, as the game is currently available on Steam and GOG – the work of ZA/UM (what a weird name…) can’t be found elsewhere just yet.
So the visuals might be the other weak point of the game, but I have to express that the developers perfectly recreated the CRPG style, and they were inspired by the Infinity Engine. BioWare? BioWare. Not today’s, and I’m sorry to say it, sold out, braindead BioWare, but the one from twenty years ago. The team that made Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale. So if you like tabletop RPGs (and I feel that there is a renaissance of them in video game adaptations – just look how Werewolf and Vampire – The Masquerade is getting game adaptations…), you will feel yourself at home, even without the clicky combat.
Number 9, Number 9, Number 9, Number 9…
Disco Elysium gets a nine out of ten, as it doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the trends and the current day. Instead, it is a decent CRPG. If only it looked a bit better, and if only it had a bit more audio, then it would honestly be a 9.5, and I usually don’t give high scores (nor writings, because it is pointless…), and the next game (the usual stacking reviews on top of each other, with zero motivation) will likely go right back into the 6 out of 10 territory. A decent story, great gameplay, perfect ambience – and its spec requirements are low as well, it could even run on a toaster. Speaking of running.
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+ Perfect ambience
+ It was written nicely
+ Replayability in ALL CAPS
– The audio might be subpar
– It should look a bit better
– Do I need to write three? I gave it a 9 for a good reason
Release date: October 15, 2019