When Disco Elysium initially launched on PC in October 2019, it received critical acclaim thanks to its depth, freedom and incredible storytelling. Now, in 2021, developer ZA/UM have released the game on PS4 and PS5 in the form of The Final Cut, a new expanded edition of the main game which includes four new quests that were initially cut from the game, in addition to voicework being added to each and every character, whereas previously the game featured minimal voice acting and mostly text. Disco Elysium – The Final Cut manages to take what the base game accomplished and make the experience even more compelling.
The premise of the game is quite simple. A man has seemingly been lynched and his body is hanging from a tree that sits behind a hostel. It’s up to you to investigate it in order to confirm how the body got up there and also who’s responsible for this grievous crime. What complicates the entire situation is that you have amnesia and don’t even know your own name, not even the fact that you’re a detective and the reason that you’re in this hostel in the first place, is to investigate the murder. While investigating the murder is enough of a challenge, the task of also having to solve your own mystery just makes the experience that much more interesting. Disco Elysium – The Final Cut manages to pull this off to brilliant effect. The story and the characters that play a part in it are both incredibly well-written. Each character you come across, be it major or minor, is memorable and will impact your experience in some way. This is especially true since every little aspect is described with the most amazing detail, from side glances and furrowed brows to the exact odours in certain areas. The narrative is also so compelling that once you get invested in what’s going on, it’s actually quite hard to put down.
When starting Disco Elysium, you’ll be faced with a choice of the kind of archetype your character will be. Your choices are Thinker, Sensitive and Physical. The Thinker is highly intellectual and knows facts, but is bad with people. Sensitive is a bit of a people magnet but is also mentally unstable. Physical is fairly self-explanatory; your character is physically superior, with more health, but as the game explains, you’re “dumb as a rock”. This choice is quite important as it will affect how the game plays out, however it also makes it incredibly replayable since choosing another archetype will yield a different experience. The biggest aspect of the game is how much freedom you’re given to deal with situations; you can aspire to be the best cop you can be or just the worst person imaginable. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can create your own detective by allocating the twelve available points across the four stat categories.
Each of the skills across the categories can affect how the game plays out, but mainly with the way one of the voices in your head may react in a certain situation. These voices can act as both a guide or a challenge that might lead to an unfavourable outcome. You earn skill points throughout the game each time you rack up 100 XP and these can be put into one of the many options available to you This boosts your stats, and, in turn, can possibly increase your likelihood of a more favourable outcome in a given situation.
Aside from putting the points into different skills, you can also put them into the Thought Cabinet, which unlocks some passive stat bonuses. These take a certain amount of time spent in game to unlock their benefits. When researching them, you suffer a small penalty to your stats, but ultimately this falls away and provides you with bonuses, making it incredibly worthwhile.
Disco Elysium plays very much like a point-and-click game with some puzzle-solving throughout. You’ll also encounter something called Skill Checks, which are challenges that initiate a roll of a dice and based on your stats for that skill, will determine how successful you are. These open up new branches in conversations with tricky characters or enable you to complete a particular action.
It should be noted that there’s no combat in the game. It’s literally you, the words you choose and a roll of the dice in order to overcome any obstacles that you may encounter, and to be honest, it’s actually quite enjoyable to do it this way. Plus, it’s always exciting to try out a newly upgraded skill to see how it may benefit you in a particular situation.
You’re also able to alter your stats by changing your clothing. It’s possible to actually better your chances with a Skill Check if you wear the right clothes, meaning that you can compensate for any skills in your repertoire with slightly lower stats, even if just a little.
When initially starting the game and for the majority of the first two hours, Disco Elysium is going to feel like a lot. You will be presented with a lot of information and truth be told, it can feel a little overwhelming. However, it’s worth sticking it out because of the amazing story just waiting to be unraveled. Not to mention the fact that the game is constantly reminding you to take your time.
Despite being a point-and-click game, Disco Elysium – The Final Cut translates quite well to console controls. Moving your character around with the left stick is quite simple, as is highlighting objects to interact with using the right stick.
Disco Elysium – The Final Cut sports some great visuals. The entire game is presented in a beautiful watercolour style and this even extends to the character portraits for each person you are able to interact with. As mentioned before, one of the newest features in The Final Cut is that the game is now fully voiced. It’s done brilliantly and really brings the story to life after previously only being presented as text. The soundtrack makes use of some Bluesy songs with a strong emphasis on the trumpet but there’s also some mellow Rock mixed in here and there.
Disco Elysium – The Final Cut is excellent. The narrative and characters are incredibly well-written making for some memorable interactions throughout. The freedom to play the game at your own pace, being as thorough as humanly possible, is strangely cathartic. I never felt rushed to a particular objective and it was quite a nice change. Also, the freedom to be as good or as bad as I’d want my character to be is great. This, coupled with the various archetypes and the ability to create my own character makes for some fantastic replayability. It also looks and sounds fantastic throughout! It can be a little overwhelming at first in the early going, but this feeling quickly fades as you get into the thick of your investigation and is so worthwhile for the journey alone. If you’re a fan of point-and-click adventures and RPGs with a strong narrative, Disco Elysium – The Final Cut might just be the perfect fit for you.
The Final Cut on every platform and is available to purchase for £27.99 / $31.99 / €31.99 on:
- PlayStation Store: https://www.playstation.com/en-us/games/disco-elysium/
- Google Stadia: https://stadia.google.com/games
- Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/632470/Disco_Elysium
- GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/disco_elysium
- Epic Store: https://www.epicgames.com/store/en-US/p/disco-elysium
- Apple Store: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/disco-elysium/id1508191454?mt=12
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