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Disco Elysium

Developer / Publisher: ZA/UM Studio
15 October 2019
Disco Elysium - cover art
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4.54 / 5.0
0.5
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3,595 Ratings / 24 Reviews
#1 All-time
#1 for 2019
A detective who wakes up with amnesia in the city of Revachol sets out to solve a murder case with his new partner Kim Kitsuragi, all while battling his own inner demons and navigating a complex world filled with political turmoil and moral ambiguity.
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The words 'great writing' are writ large right across the discourse surrounding Disco Elysium, but it's worth taking time to examine exactly what we mean when we say that, because 'great writing' could mean a multitude of things in any given context or medium, and I think it's important that we be specific about it when it comes to this game.

Part of that is because, quite simply, Disco Elysium is a game, and when the words 'great writing' appear in a game review, they don't tend to mean the same thing as they do when they appear in a review of anything else. In this realm, 'great writing' has historically tended to refer to dialogue alone, as a natural and obvious consequence of dialogue being the only literal writing that exists in many games. This has changed to some extent recently, but when I see a player talk about a game's writing, I still tend to assume this is what they mean - essentially, that the words the characters speak don't make them cringe. (I'm old enough to remember a time when the bar was very, very low.) But while Disco Elysium has some extremely fine dialog, that is absolutely not what people are talking about when they say it has great writing.

That's no doubt why so many people were so excited by this game - it's very rare that we're able to talk about the strength of a game's writing in the way that a literary critic would talk about the strength of a book's writing. Even when games do try to reach beyond gaming and compete with the best works in other mediums, it's TV and cinema they go for almost by default, but there is no doubt that Disco Elysium's ambitions are specifically literary. 'Great writing' here primarily means rich, detailed worldbuilding, creating a space that the reader/player can feel like they're truly inhabiting and deeply understanding. Plenty of games have done that through visuals, but to do so almost entirely through a character's internal monologue and his conversations with those around him is a very different skill and a very different experience; I do not walk around Revachol thinking 'I want to go to that mountain' or 'I wonder what's inside that forest', I walk around it wanting to know more about its history, religion, economics, culture, and politics. I mean, Hyrule's great, but I've never found myself wanting to know more about the writings of a historical materialist who lived there fifty years earlier and how they inspired a popular revolutionary uprising that was crushed by a coalition of foreign governments, nor wondering how the modern citizens of those foreign governments feel about a political and religious figurehead from three hundreds year prior who may have been the actual messiah or may have been a power-mad war criminal depending on which parts of her mythology you choose to take as real events. They're not comparable.

So it is absolutely correct to talk about the quality of Disco Elysium's writing here; this town feels diseased, dirty, broken, abandoned, but it also feels absolutely alive, truly three-dimensional. Characters get into lengthy arguments about politics and I wish they'd go on longer. Seedy underworlds and shadowy undercurrents of power are exposed and you're given a complete picture not just of how they operate, but of how they came into existence and why they've been allowed to fester and thrive, 'bad guys are bad' replaced with 'the systems that should prevent this are fundamentally broken'. That's thrilling, as any experience is when it feels this good and this truly new. All of which makes Disco Elysium sound like a nailed on five-star masterpiece - and yes, there are absolutely times when it feels like it is.

However.

'Great writing', truly great writing, should also be courageous. It should stand for something, mean something, tell us something, hold the power to change our minds and lives, and it feels like there's a void at the core of this game because it so studiously avoids ever doing any of that. Disco Elysium is a game that will gleefully and mercilessly mock you for believing in anything no matter what it is (and credit where it's due, it's often quite funny with it), but it is also a game that is too cowardly to believe in anything itself, lest it invite any mockery in return. We've all known people like that - most of us have been probably been people like that in our teenage years - and we all know they're absolute chuds, and I can't deny that I find it a little disappointing that Disco Elysium, otherwise so very deeply and carefully constructed, falls into this trap. For something that largely feels so brave in stepping outside the accepted boundaries of games, it's a shame that it doesn't confront and challenge the medium's most crippling boundary of all, and ultimately does politics in a way that won't upset people who think politics is somehow beneath them and that caring about anything at all is a sign of weakness. (We all know the wider world of gaming is positively littered with those people, so the temptation is to consider this as a commercial decision - but how likely was it that any of those people would want to play this anyway?) It jars that the game plays it so safe on this point, having been so adventurous with almost everything else. There are other flaws (the pacing is....not great in the first couple of days, and without a walkthrough you're liable to spend large stretches of time ambling around wondering what you're supposed to be doing, speaking to the same people repeatedly just in the hope it advances the story somehow), but only this one feels critical. It's not fatal, not even a particularly massive deal, but it is enough to put a small asterisk next to its name, to make it feel more like one of the 100 best games ever than one of the top 10.

Yet isn't that just an amazing thing to be able to criticise a game for? It is an unrecognisable line of thought for video game criticism; the framework that supports this kind of conversation simply does not exist in 99% of the things you'll ever play. Disco Elysium feels like a significant breakthrough, one that opens up all manner of doors and possibilities and leaves enough room for improvement to make contemplating those possibilities an exhilarating thought - and if history does not regard it this way, if it is rendered either as a total one-off or as merely the starting point for one single developer to spend their career kicking against the wider industry, then gaming as a medium will be significantly poorer for it.
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Iai 2019-12-27T14:35:23Z
2019-12-27T14:35:23Z
4.4
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i couldn't do this justice with just words. i'd probably have to wave my arms around and shout and do a little dance maybe. shake my ass that kinda thing
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vvvvvvvvvv 2022-08-02T07:34:43Z
2022-08-02T07:34:43Z
5.0
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Sure to be relevent conversation at your next dinner party, so get on it.
Recommended for: people who don't realise they live in Eastern Europe yet.

Whether implicit or explicit, the "point" (or whatever could best live up to it) is blunt. Ideology failed, the symbolic/ social order collapsed. As the amnesiac, middle-aged child of the world that has been called post-modern, your task in the "game" (or something that might live up to it) is to find out what exactly went wrong.

You play someone who doesn't remember their name. You are a detective, apparently, and possibly not a very good one either, investigating the brutal murder of a man in The Zone. This mostly involves approaching various movers and shakers of Revachol with the question "what went wrong?" All under the surprisingly patient gaze of a new partner, Kim, who grounds the game in detective-noir, smokes a single cigarette a day, and looks devastatingly cool while he does it.

The first thing you need to know about Disco Elysium is that it is both really good and probably more interesting to people who don't call themselves gamers than to those who do. Talk to your girlfriend about it. Bring it up at breakfast. Don't be ashamed anymore.

Pontificate all you want. Finally we got a game that wasn't written by surburban nerds who create their reality by blurring together the last few years of American TV. A 10000 word essay or 1 hour video on the philosophy of Disco Elysium is completely unnecessary: pontification only happens when income draws from Youtube watch hours. Disco Elysium "works" (for all the sickening adoration), because it's meaningful, applicable, "relevent," not-entirely-escapist and, despite its reputation as a European art-piece, easily understood.

I laboured through Twin Peaks part 3 to the eighth episode and finally started to get it a little bit. Fuck. This is weird. Imagine if TV had grown up like this and I could be flicking on to channel 5 as a kid for a live synthesized Decasia mini-series or to watch atoms jerk out in a nuclear blast for 10 minutes. Beats The Office.

Disco Elysium casts the history of video games in the same light. Planescape: Torment happened, then "gamers" got 1000 versions of "good enough" narrative pulling from half a century of "good enough" cinema.

It gives you the words to say "is that it? Did all of that "limitless potential" of 64-bit games in the early 90s have to culminate in 100 pastiches of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings?"

Often overlooked: the game overcomes savescumming - of rebooting a save until an unwanted randomised event does not occur. It avoids the ancient frustration of failing a dice-rolled skill check with good writing, an intuitive system that allows the player to retake checks if they later level up the associated skill, and by investing the player in commiting to their choices, whatever the consequence.

To this day, high-profile CRPGs fail to acheive this. For all its epic scale, Pathfinder WotR never comes close. Baldurs Gate 3, for all its budget, can't do it either. This is the overdue knife cutting through decades of horrible videogame writing and uninspired design.

Also overlooked: Disco Elysium is easy to read. It's a text-based game designed to mirror Twitter with vertically-oriented text. Easier to read than the horizontal norm, mirroring the way we (on average) read 1000s of words a day without a thought. Shadowrun did it. Did anyone else? "Oh but we've always done it horizontal like this..."

Criminal to overlook: the watercolour am-I-drunk-or-just-an-impressionist art style and (Britist) Sea Power's score. Phenominal.

Disco Elysium will not be remembered for its impact on the video game industry. Its innovations have not been adopted by its genre, even if they are as simple as vertically organised text or a way to redo skill checks. Its writing, too, has not been matched, though perhaps we can point to "Gamedec" as a game that at least tried. There is resistance in the medium: nostalgic conservativism meets market pressure meets lack of ambition and talent and suddenly another Disco Elysium can't happen. Instead we get to look forward to Fallout rip-off number 112, or is that already out?

A certain amount of stars align, a game like Disco Elysium happens. Some miserable Estonian alcoholics say fuck it, give it one last go, and knock it out the park. Unlikely to happen again, but sure to be relevent conversation at your next dinner party, so get on it.
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[spoilers ahead]

Disagree with Iai. There is nothing cowardly about Zone-al dwelling in the conclusion that all ideologies failed. Disco Elysium ends by substituting an encounter with the alien, cryptozoological Other for the Religious Experience: something unbelievable happens that gives the game its (otherwise impossible) narrative end. The "post-ideological" Zone is overcome by truth/love/magic/enlightenment. Kierkegaard Knight-of-Faith style.

The opinion reminds me of the critique of US culture: that having won the Cold War, America is trapped in its winning ideology, never being forced to confront ideology as-such as in post-Soviet and post-Nazi Europe. As a result, it cannot recognise what ideology is and the damage it does. It is convinced the way out is another "bold," "couragious" ideology.
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By the time I finished Disco Elysium for the first time, on Frebruary 14th 2022 at 4:20AM, my steam account clocked 172 hours of playtime, putting it second to Team Fortress 2 in sheer hours running the program. Mind you, most of the time was spent just loading screens. This fucking game, with its fucking disastrous architecture, demanded me a kind of undivided attention I don't think I will ever give any other piece of media. It was so demanded, because the material conditions upon which I could go through this aesthetic experience was through the excruciating, lenghty, sometimes unbareable and outright infuriating 5 to 15 minutes of loadtimes for every mistake I made: for every door I opened that I didn't have to but I did because I wanted to be thorough, for every time I closed my computer by mistake and had to load everything up and make up for the lost progress; -sometimes I had horrible throws that I was not willing to accept for my canon first run, which might as well be the only time I play the damn game in years, considering I will not submit myself again to almost half of my playtime dedicated to loadtimes (and the prospects of me getting a console or a better PC to run it are absolutely out of the question for the time being). For 10 days straight, from February 4th to February 14th, 2022, the only thing inhabiting my thought cabinet was Disco Elysium. I woke up to pick up the game from the day before, sometimes just leaving the game running over the night so I didn't have to load it again once morning came. Then, I would spend most of my day diving into the game, every corner and dialogue I could find. I would try every white check throw, I would do every sidequest available. In spite of all the suffering and bouts of anger the programing of the game gave me, I was unable to stop. I was mesmerized, the same way you would be under the spell of someone you are in love with. I was in love with this game. I am, I still am. I love Disco Elysium more than almost any other game or piece of media. Few things I would hold even closer to my heart than this game.

Disco Elysium is much, much more than just a game, or just an RPG. Sure, I could say something like "Disco Elysium is a cRPG that feels like a Dostoyevski novel directed by David Lynch and the protagonist is Bojack Horseman" and sure it would be the best way to summarize it in a sentence, but beyond effective one liners and funny quips, this game is also the forever in green song of hope, it's the dwellings and ponderings of a bard, wondering about our deep, deep sadness that lies in the almost imposible to describe feeling of loneliness that consumes everything, and how it ties up past with future, from what's gone to what's to come. A study about human will and how free our will truly is. It's a neverending question about what's right and what's meaningful. It's in the process of you unraveling the mysteries of this here past (be it a murder, be it an ex-something, be it your own identity) that you start to map the meaning of things, the hows and the whys, paving the way for our minds to do what they are made to do: judge the state of affairs. Are things good? Is this person to trust? Did I do right? How should things be? None of these questions are easy to answer, and this game knows it and it wants you to aknowledge the fact. It takes time to think about things, to know them, to understand them. You have to sit with your thoughts and puzzle it out. That's out blessing and our curse as human beings: to inhabit the realm of the metaphysical: of that which is not the hic et nunc. It's a blessing because it's the foundation of all of those all so human things that make life worth living, like love and hope, but also it can be an anchor tied to your neck. It's indescribable pain and it's sublime joy. No way to have one without the other as long as we live in the material realm of things.

Like all good poetry that deals with the sadness, it starts with the smalltalk, the mundane, the everyday stuff, breaking the ice on the surface, letting a space for you to dig deeper. Disco Elysium follows the tragic life of Lieutenant Double-Yefreitor Harrier Du Bois of the 41st Precinct of the Revachol Citizen Militia, an alcoholic cop drowning in the sadness, driving him to self inflicted brain damage via alcohol abuse. That's how you wake up. In a room in a hotel in the middle of the discrict of Martinaise, a special economic zone where the jurisidction of the RCM barely touches, where you were sent to solve the mistery of a murdered hired mercenary found hanging in a tree behind the hotel. In absolute amnesia, not really knowing who you are, after several days of heavy drinking and unsavoury behaviour, abandoning his resposibilities and engaging in, plain and simple, selfdestruction. A very convenient plot device to have you and our protagonist have the same basic knowledge of the world around you. Stepping out of the blue, each new step, each new door lets you absorb the reality and the truth of it all: the places, the people, the living, breathing world around us. You are told of the havoc you wreaked, of which you have to take responsibility as the adult human being you are; luckily for you, confused player, Lieutenant Kim Kitsuragi from the 57th Precinct of the RCM came from the other side of the jurisdicition to investigate why your job hasn't been done and do it with you. With his matter of factly, no-bullshit, straight man attitude, Harrier finds the best possible companion to his persona, no matter what you do... except if you are a fascist and a racist, then you will find no love nor sympathy for you. What an inexorable, tortuous ordeal to be imposed to make along with an asshole that hates you just for existing. But that's just a choice. You can choose to be a bigoted asshole, but you can also be a kind man; you can be a drunken disaster or strive to have a better life. From the moment you wake up, but specially after you step outside the Whirling-in-Rags for the first time, it's your perrogative to do whatever you want within the very limited scope of things a human being can do. You can be a neoliberal hussler, you can be a milquetoast social democrat (a.k.a. centrist), you can be a fascist or you can be a communist. You can be a superstar cop or an artistic cop or a sorry cop or a hobo cop. You can solve the case in a number of ways; thoroughly and slowly or fast and superficially. You can make Harrier do a lot of things, and be in different ways, but no matter what you do, there's always something deep in the soul of this very human character that remains the same. You can see it through all the game, through all his interactions: call it his aura, his vibration, call it whatever you want: the truth is Harrier Du Bois has a vast, vast blue soul. One of a deep sadness, a deep longing. The soul of a very flawed and scared human being that has something to say, a song to sing to the world. I think that's probably the greatest literary archievement of this game. All these characters are very three dimensional, fleshed out, and atop the list is, of course, him who we are to guide in order to make something out of the hours that won't come back. To resume, three are the main mysteries in this game: (1) What's going on in this world? (2) Who is our protagonist? (3) Who killed the victim?

Plunged into this world, with the task of answering the big questions, Disco Elysium slowly unravels like a flower on spring comes, unfurling each detail with utmost care, like a braid, intertwining each part at your own pace, on your own terms. Given enough time, given the correct (or maybe wrong) choices, you are to become aware of the horrible ghost that haunts Harrier. You realise Harry has been binge drinking in an attempt to forget this past, this ghost that won't let him live in peace. In a sense, this game has something akin to Undertale, insofar you are punished for trying to push every boundry you are given. The consequences of digging through Harrier's past is to make him aware once again of that which he does not want to face. In a sense, the most ethical thing to do would be to let the poor, aching man oblivious to his past. It's one of the many things Disco Elysium is trying to say: That there's things we cling, and we cling so hard, unwilling to let go because of our ego, because of who we are -or who we think we are- and as ling as we hold onto that, we are unable to move on. We live in the past, longing for a lost future that never will be. Often times I feel like this. My best friend commited suicide five years ago. He was the man I loved the most, in a way I will never love no other man: As a partner, as a best friend. He was the Lennon to my McCartney, the Wilson to my House, the Sasuke of my Naruto, the Claus of my Lucas. It's been five years, and I still cry for him. I still miss him. I miss his voice and I miss his hair and I miss us cooking wonderful weird stuff and I miss us playing music, watching Workaholics stoned as fuck. I miss the concerts, I miss the moments we shared the most intimate things, the sunsets listening to Loveless waking through the downtown of Santiago (also known as "the centre"). It's really hard for me to keep on living knowing there will never be someone like him for me, not the way he did. The private jokes, the years and years knowing each other (11 years we were friends, that's more than anyone else sans my mother as the writing of this review). Sometimes I feel this feeling that I should not be happy because it's unfair to be happy in a world where Victor is no longer there by my side. Some days I wake up and I feel it. I feel the sadness, dripping slowly, seeping into my vital horizon, eating any energy I would have for living my life. I know how it feels to live with a ghost around you. You alone, and your ghost. I feel for Harrier's pain because it is my pain too. It's all to familiar. That's why I broke down in tears playing this game. In the karaoke scene. I couldn't take it without feeling it to the deepest of its extent. Never had a videogame torn my heart to pieces in this way since Chapter 6 of Mother 3. Staring in awe, I cried hard for Harry, and I cried hard for myself. I felt so sad he had to know the sadness. I felt so sad I had to know the sadness. But there I was, tears pouring as I stared into the vast, blue soul of a videogame character called Harrier Du Bois, he who came to know love and loss. Longing is something human, we all do, but that much longing only will turn itself backwards into a death wish. Harrier, thank God, despite all his suffering, is someone that still clings to life, to hope. He wants to be alive still -otherwise there'd be no game, wouldn't it? It's his will to live (also known as "Volition") that keeps him on this side of the line that divides the living and the dead. It's because and through this willpower that Harrier will engage with the questions set by the game; it is through this life impuse that we get to know Martinaise and it's people, their hopes and dreams, their expectations and wishes. Through this poverty-ridden wilderness we find reasons and will to do what we must, reflecting upon our own. Would you help kids mount a disco inside a church? Run from one side of town to the other to help some old lady that lost his husband? What are you willing to give up for others? What are you willing to give up for yourself (even if you don't want to give it up)? Disco Elysium is as much a political statement as it is a love letter, and I firmly believe this is a Soviet work of art, much like a Tarkovski film; that is: A work of art that cuts straight into the bone about the mystery of human existence in the midst of our mundane and everyday life of our common lives –within the limits of the world in that work– tying up the different perspectives, from the personal to the universal, from Harry to Iosif to the Phasmid. A Soviet videogame in a post-soviet world. Who would have imagined that? It's like the game in itself were that bullet that kicks in the events of this game: A scream from a reality long gone by, refusing to stop resounding without at least making a last change in the the world. To remind us that longing for a lost future only leads to death, in hope for the best, so that we may work for the real future. For ourselves, for our loved ones, for all of mandkind.

Disco Elysium, like few other games, gives a human face to the struggles of others, letting you wield the power of your will to make this world better for everyone, which, again ties up to the layer of political comentary within the game. Everyone is unhappy in Martinaise, no one feels "complete" nor "satisifed" with the way things are. Some would only fight for themselves, some would like to keep things as they are, some would like to fight for their friends, family and community, and it's up to you how much you do to make things better for this world. You can be someone that just speaks about communism but never helps their community, you can be a fascist that does charity to make themself sleep at night. It's clear you are no God and won't bring the dictatorship of the proletariat on your own, but there's so much you can do as a human being. Theory and practice either go hand in hand or they become a contradiction inside yourself. Such emapthy will eventually lead to extend that same respect to other living beings. Animals, plants, geists, even God themself. But to come to these grand realisations, one ought to sit down with their thoughts and ponder a long time. To be honest about my life experience, it takes years, and I don't think it could be any other way. And to write them down, –to make them into an interactive experience like Disco Elysium– takes a Bard that has sat and pondered all these thoughts for all of us, someone that has experienced the sadness one way or another, someone that knows how all these threads are tied together: the question of who we are, of where we are, and what we ought to do. It takes a philosopher to make a meaning of all of this. This game is an invitation to be that philosopher for your life, to be the captain of your ship, to be the bard that sings the unsung. Disco Elysium is the forever in green song of hope; the song that demands you to stand up and sing with all your heart. The song that through wonder and woe rings through your soul, piercing like an bullet.

The name of that bullet is Love.
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FregeBamyasi 2022-02-04T23:53:38Z
2022-02-04T23:53:38Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
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The person who wrote this sounds like they skipped compulsory education. Typical puerile self-indulgent ilk that can be found by picking up your average fan-fiction, with pseudo-intellectualism thrown in for good measure: a sort of low-brow with "delusion of grandeur".
And there isnt't much else here if one can't get past the writing. Mechanics-wise it's essentially a visual novel with some basic CRPG elements.
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I can't say I truly understand all the fervour surrounding this 'game'. I use the word game loosely here, because when you truly break it down, there really isn't much gameplay to speak of. It's essentially a visual novel, with some *very* light RPG gameplay mechanics thrown in. I'm not disputing the qualities of the story or the writing because I did enjoy the main thrust of the game, but I just don't think it's enough to carry it on it's own.

Unlike a typical adventure point and click, there are no complex or clever puzzles to solve. More surprisingly is that there is not much detective work either. The investigation is essentially about exhausting all the dialog options with inhabitants and a few D&D die rolls in it. The issue is that those dialog options just go on and on and on. Even the tiniest of irrelevant details (however funny or witty) are laboured in paragraphs and paragraphs of detail. Some people might love that, and would argue that's part of world building, but after 45 hours of this (the time it took me to complete the game with optional side quests) I would say that a good proportion of the game was simply people talking endless amount of shit. Being a murder mystery you don't have much choice but to delve into those details, in case a crucial plot detail is missed. Sometimes those obscure details are needed to advance the story, and sometimes those insights are only revealed once you have exhausted the options. The problem is this creates an abysmal pace to the game. Even in the initial hours of the game, there is a bewildering amount of lore, places, events and trivial thrown at you, and that information is sometimes very hard to digest in one conversation, particularly when the world you experience it in is very small. It's still manages to stay interesting, but as a narrative it could certainly do with some editing and refinement.

I think ultimately the game doesn't click with me and it must be an acquired taste. It seems that just about every inhabitant has some tediously deep political or philosophical view to share, however young or delinquent (as Kim would say), which is not only bizarre and boring, but after a good amount of these types of interactions, it becomes a massive chore to sit there and listen to it over and over again. I appreciate that this is part of developing your characters values and ethos, but due to the horrible pacing it sucks so much joy out of the character building. These feelings are only amplified because of the worlds bleak and depressing thematics. Many of these characters are experiencing hardships of some kind or another, but it's laid on so thick that it's a game which is very hard to enjoy. In all honesty, I think you have to be kind of mentally unstable to find much joy or comfort in this. I certainly wouldn't advise it to anybody that was clinically depressed. Just as problematic for me is that Harry is this intentionally repulsive drug addict / alcoholic. I immediately struggle a bit with this, as thematically I don't like that the main character looks and acts like shit, and even after trying to be the good, honourable cop he is still a total loser.

I don't mind when games cross-over into other mediums, but I what I do care about is when games forget to be fun. Sure, I think the writing has it's merits but as a novel it would be considered in the literary world as an unfocussed mess, and I never did like those gimmicky "build your own adventure" type books that were popular in the 90's. The amount of dialog options that are available is impressive but I can't help but feel it's suffocated from it's own ambitious narrative. It was a memorable experience and I'm curious to know how these threads could have played out differently, but the reality is, it just wasn't an enjoyable game. In fact, I found it kind of insufferable from start to end. There are simply so many better games in the top 100 list than this one, but then again, maybe CRPGs just aren't my thing.
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Amoux 2024-03-12T19:16:23Z
2024-03-12T19:16:23Z
3.0
1
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Catalog

Walecro Disco Elysium 2024-04-12T18:23:17Z
2024-04-12T18:23:17Z
5.0
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
bing_bong_barl Disco Elysium 2024-04-12T16:15:23Z
2024-04-12T16:15:23Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Uber_Cascada Disco Elysium 2024-04-12T15:04:15Z
2024-04-12T15:04:15Z
5.0
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
scroopyd Disco Elysium 2024-04-11T07:25:27Z
2024-04-11T07:25:27Z
4.5
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
nxchos Disco Elysium: The Final Cut 2024-04-11T04:11:16Z
Windows / Mac
2024-04-11T04:11:16Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
blacktomatoemperor Disco Elysium 2024-04-10T10:38:35Z
2024-04-10T10:38:35Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
mysterycash Disco Elysium 2024-04-10T00:10:14Z
2024-04-10T00:10:14Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
cultofbabies Disco Elysium 2024-04-09T13:12:51Z
2024-04-09T13:12:51Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Blazing910 Disco Elysium 2024-04-09T11:07:07Z
2024-04-09T11:07:07Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
ThatOneLupin Disco Elysium 2024-04-08T18:47:48Z
2024-04-08T18:47:48Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
onioncring Disco Elysium 2024-04-08T18:23:22Z
2024-04-08T18:23:22Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
kidpetito Disco Elysium 2024-04-08T13:20:20Z
2024-04-08T13:20:20Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
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  • Previous comments (477) Loading...
  • Irascibul 2024-03-19 17:02:46.816602+00
    Second playthrough really soured the game for me unfortunately. First time through, the game felt magical and the writing quality is definitely very high. On the subsequent run, it really broke the illusion. The roleplaying is pretty much nonexistent. You pretty much just use the skill points to reroll checks. Anything else is suboptimal. And I love the idea of failing checks leading to funny things or a just as compelling scene. Running away from Garte is probably the best example. Succeeding the check is very boring compared to crashing into Lena. Oftentimes, though it just leads to locked off content. Also it feels like a very long demo. Wish there was more here. The game doesn’t feel complete at all once the credits role.
    reply
    • Finnick 2024-03-22 03:08:13.395341+00
      This is how I feel about BG3 sometimes
    • Crimson7 2024-03-22 10:11:27.70004+00
      I dont think a game necessarily needs to have replay value to be considered exceptional.
      If it sustained an illusion the first time through, that may be exactly what it was going for.
      Although, thats different from retrospective criticsm of the game you may have. I agree the realization of the illusion of choice among other things soured me on the game somewhat.
    • altertide0 2024-03-22 16:03:32.191847+00
      I think the game is one of the best examples why roleplaying and branching story can be completely different things. Sure, the game is not like The Witcher 2, in which more than a third of the game is completely different depending on your choices... But to say that the roleplaying is nonexistent? Sure, upon replaying, most of the time you're talking to the same people about the same problems in the same places. But depending on your skills, responses and actions, these conversations will feel very different, and the problems will be solved in different ways. It doesn't matter that often (although far from always) the conclusions will be the same.
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  • oculi 2024-03-22 16:50:34.241919+00
    GuySamstag's review of this, especially in the stark contrast of their ratings, is incredibly amusing.
    reply
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  • spookypurpp 2024-03-26 13:11:27.322446+00
    I find it interesting how the highest rated albums and movies on RYM are only 4.3x, whereas on here we have 3 games > 4.5x. I wonder if this says anything about our perception of interactive media vs. consumable media.
    reply
    • AquelPxndejo 2024-03-26 17:43:44.740284+00
      I mean, albums and movies on RYM also have like, 10 times the ratings
    • spookypurpp 2024-03-27 02:22:38.310104+00
      albums definitely have way more ratings than games, but this game and other highly rated games are about on par with the amount of ratings as some of the highest rated movies. (the #2 and #3 films on rym only have 6k and 4k ratings).

      i think you're right but i do wonder if there is more to it than that
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  • Pumas 2024-03-27 00:49:38.176524+00
    This being #1 is the best indication of how disconnected this site is from the popular opinion, even if we're talking "hardcore" hobbyists I think most would just skip this or be bored by it.

    I loved this game and I'm not hating on it at all but its kinda funny
    reply
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    • altertide0 2024-04-07 11:00:13.790713+00
      @polarbearpatrol I agree that actual tabletop RPGs allows for more flexibility in role-playing. But I think it's a bit naive to then conclude that what DE accomplishes could definitely be done better in such a setting. Choosing from a list of dialogue options means sacrificed flexibility, true, but it also means that whatever you choose, the writing is always gonna be top-notch (even the greatest game master couldn't improvise so well so consistently). Also, only the video game medium allows for every moment of your journey to be enhanced in real time by perfectly matching visuals and sound, a crucial factor, which is completely ignored by people who would like to reduce DE and similar games to "just a book". Not to mention that the limitations put on the developers can actually make the experience better -- a perfect example of this is when Harry has to climb the ladder, but since animating it would take too much resources, the developers came up with this fantastic teleportation scenario.
    • polarbearpatrol 2024-04-09 02:19:56.538783+00
      "Choosing from a list of dialogue options means sacrificed flexibility, true, but it also means that whatever you choose, the writing is always gonna be top-notch."

      By that same logic though, the writing would be even better if the game presented no dialogue options at all and had a non-branching story. That's really my main problem with dialogue options—if you design your game around dialogue trees, then you're forced to compromise somewhere: either you include lots of dialogue options to provide players greater flexibility in role-playing but compromise on the quality of the writing, or you limit the available dialogue options to preserve the quality of the writing but compromise on flexibility. So DE's two main goals—(1) maximizing role-playing freedom through dialogue options and branching storylines and (2) telling a compelling narrative—are at odds with each other imo. DE manages to walk that tightrope better than most CRPGs, but when playing it, I still found myself often thinking that I wouldn't pick any of the dialogue options presented to me if I really had the choice.

      All that is to say that I feel like dialogue trees are a poor solution to the problem of storytelling in video games. I straight up would rather see designers avoid branching dialogue altogether than see them implement dialogue trees that only remind me of how limited my role-playing options are. Other designers have found better ways of harnessing the interactivity of video games for narrative purposes without falling into the dialogue tree trap (e.g., the entirety of Papers Please, the cross-examinations in Ace Attorney, the final boss fight in Mother 3, etc.), and I'd rather see stuff like that (or even non-narrative-focused games that use interactivity in novel ways, like Katamari) elevated on here more than DE or Fallout or whatever.

      And for sure the visuals and sound definitely elevate the experience in a way tabletop RPGs couldn't replicate, I agree, but I more so meant that a tabletop RPG could provide a better role-playing experience.
    • altertide0 2024-04-11 12:20:58.305121+00
      I get where you're coming from with this, I have certainly experienced a similar dissonance in many games. I also agree that branching dialogue trees can sometimes be the laziest way to do roleplaying/choice and at least the mainstream could use less of it. Still, like always in art, anything can be good if you make it good. A good branching dialogue focused game will (besides making every available choice awesome to experience) quickly establish a convention regarding the types of things you can choose from, so that even when faced with an admittedly limited choice, you will not feel limited at the time you make it. For me DE is a great example of such a game, but it's of course subjective, and I am surely biased having spent half my life playing classic RPGs.
    • polarbearpatrol 2024-04-12 16:59:32.385126+00
      Yeah you’re right, the best dialogue tree systems won’t feel limiting in the moment you make the decision. Ultimately I guess it’s subjective for each player whether the game is successful at disguising the limits of the dialogue system, and I’m willing to admit I’m in the minority on this one.
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  • IceKiller159 2024-04-03 20:31:17.62411+00
    You know they got your mans
    reply
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  • Gumptious 2024-04-08 16:05:17.777804+00
    Knew this site was gonna make me angry the second I saw this at the top of the charts
    reply
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  • ABG_GAMING 2024-04-13 02:45:23.093389+00
    a police procedural about moral ambiguity where the detective battles his inner demons, ooohh calm down shakespeare you might be too groundbreaking
    reply
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