Disco Elysium is a mega ambitious RPG in which you can even become a communist

Author: Draug
Date: 2019-11-21 13:28:00
The review was based on the PC version.

These are the first words you hear. They are actually black - there is nothing else but letters. But the Ancient Lizard Brain which utters them is wrong. You'll have to do something in a moment. You will hear the roar of a motor coach pulling up to the cafeteria building and you will wake up - you will be brutally dragged out of the warm blackness. It is surprising that it will happen so late - that you did not let the frosty air rush through the window, which someone (I wonder who?) Knocked out with a thrown shoe, or cursing truly shoemaking children in the yard, or even the picket workers at the gates of the nearby shipyard.

Anyway, after a sudden awakening, you will not remember anything - where you are, what you are doing here, what is your name. And above all - why you are tired of this monstrous hangover. But do not worry. Lieutenant Kim Kitsuragi, who has just arrived - your new partner - will quickly clear up the situation. In the cafeteria yard, a dead man has been dangling for a week, hanged from a tree growing there by unknown perpetrators, and you, detective, have been assigned by the police station in district 41 to solve the case. Actually, you've been on the scene for the third day ... except that so far, instead of collecting evidence and questioning witnesses, you've been busy resetting your memory by gulping down and sniffing in . But that's the end of the good.

It's time to find a "defenated" shoe, tie your talking (sic!) Tie and start looking for answers to some questions. Who is to blame for the dangling deceased's death? Where did you miss your police badge (and gun, hush)? Why is almost everyone in this miserable neighborhood looking at you disrespectfully? And why the hell have you brought yourself to this state ?!

Wake up detective ...

This is how Disco Elysium begins. The game is serious, intelligent, morally ambiguous and basically devoid of supernatural elements - although full of fantastic, bizarre and often bizarre motives or situations. An RPG game that is one of the most unusual, ambitious and intriguing representatives of this genre released in at least the last few years.

This position evokes some associations with the immortal Torment , although it basically does everything in its own way. It's an RPG that doesn't really fit the definition of an RPG ... at least not by the indicators we used to identify representatives of this genre with.

Let's look at such an aspect as the combat system. He's not in Disco Elysium . Of course, there are conflict situations, the protagonist - as befits a cop - pricks his nose into them, turns around among the dark-star types and from time to time puts himself in danger. But forget about random encounters with random enemies . Forget about traditional skirmishes in turns or with active pause, about using skills such as "strong attack" or "charge", about equipping the hero with more and more deadly gear.

Let's say you managed to lead to an open conflict. First of all, congratulations on this considerable achievement at Disco Elysium . What happens in this situation? The entire combat sequence is resolved via the dialog. The game describes the events - at least what is impossible to see when looking at fairly detailed three-dimensional character models - and presents the player with choices precisely tailored to the conditions.

I serve as an example. You decided to break into the shipyard area by force and knock out the dribbler standing in your way. This begins with a difficult test of the ability to apply force. You roll the dice ... Success! An elegant animation shows the bully punching his throat and bending to the ground. For a moment, time stands still and the dialog box presents variants of the further course of the fight. Will you correct with a right hook or a turnover kick? If you hesitate - the game will speak with the hero's inner voice (actually one of the voices) and tell you a better solution, having tested his various skills. And that's how it goes.

... we have a city to smash ...

Perhaps a murmur passed through the audience: "Why, it must be some kind of a bad act!" Well ... ZA / UM Studio did what it could to remove similar associations. We spend a lot of time here on the traditional isometric exploration of areas full of interactive objects, the protagonist's actions are accompanied at every step by eye-catching animations (probably there have not been such a richly equipped game of this type yet), dialogues are to some extent voiced - often by unexpectedly talented voice actors - and the screen sparkles with quite a wide range of nice visual effects.

All this, however, does not cover the fact that Disco Elysium is a game loaded with text. A text wonderfully written , intelligent, colorful, perfectly building a specific atmosphere with the use of a note of humor thrown here and there - but still present in horrendous amounts.

The "victims" will be especially those among you who will equip your protagonist with highly developed psychosocial skills. In Disco Elysium, you spend roughly the same time talking to NPCs with internal "dialogues". The character sheet here consists of 24 different skills - and it is the tests of these skills, performed in the background with almost every second sentence, that account for the lion's share of the text in the game.

Each "skill" is something like a separate voice in the hero's head (remember the mention of the talking tie?) And each has something interesting to suggest during even the most trivial conversation or interaction with the environment. If that worries you, please find it comforting that ZA / UM did not follow inXile's footsteps and - unlike in Torment: Tides of Numenera - tried at all costs to avoid hitting the player with huge blocks of text. Here, the messages are short, with colors or graphics that make the message more attractive - but in the end, the number of characters to be learned may be overwhelming.

And it's not too bad that there is a lot of content - its level is also important. The writers show a rich vocabulary, give the player a tasteful metaphor every now and then, and do not spare specialized vocabulary from various fields. Added to this is the description of the represented world. Before they started producing the game, members of the development studio spent several years (!) Creating the universe in which Disco Elysium takes place during their RPG sessions - and you can see it at every step. You can get dizzy reading about all these nations, countries, races, important figures or historical facts. ZA / UM has the right to take pride in building the world at the highest level - but this whole text, however entertaining it may be, can become weary in the end.

... or maybe this city has to smash us?

Someone will ask, "Can't we just ignore parts of the text?" Good question. Disco Elysium in some ways resembles a point-and-click adventure game. The game world is limited to one of the districts of Revachol city, the locations have been tightly packed, and basically everything in them - every character, item, even decoration - is there for a reason. The plot has a very compact composition. It consists entirely of the murder case mentioned at the outset - a case which, of course, becomes wider and wider with time, but in fact reduces the whole dozen-hour-long "adventure" to just one main mission.

You won't even experience traditional side quests here; all threads that appear to be optional activities can contribute something to the overarching investigation . With all this, the game is obviously non-linear, at least to some extent. The creators leave us a bit of freedom to draw conclusions based on the evidence gathered and look for more clues, and many problems have more than one solution. So, in short, it is not advisable to ignore any information, as everything may turn out to be important. In fact, it is advisable to painstakingly un-click - and read descriptions - of everything that is interactive.

Unless you don't care about achieving success. Disco Elysium offers a wide range of possibilities for character play, and nothing stands in the way of sealing the hero's fall , leaving him in the same life gutter as he was in at the beginning of the story - if not deeper. Besides, there is a simple way to significantly reduce the amount of displayed text. It is enough to create a myoma with a brain the size of a peanut - by playing such a character, you will only see basic descriptions and no one will bother you with the hero's internal experiences. And that you will miss one of the most interesting aspects of the game ...