If you have a new account but are having problems posting or verifying your account, please email us on [email protected] for help. Thanks :)
Hello all! Please ensure that you are posting a new thread or question in the appropriate forum. The Feedback forum is overwhelmed with questions that are having to be moved elsewhere. If you need help to verify your account contact [email protected]

Disco Elysium

  • 10-01-2020 2:32am
    Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Computer Games Moderators, Entertainment Moderators Posts: 28,404 CMod ✭✭✭✭johnny_ultimate

    About time this game had a thread of its own - even if it only bursts to life once the console versions are out :)

    Finished it the other night and relieved to report it’s every bit as worthy of the praise it’s been receiving everywhere. The setup is simple: you’re a cop who wakes up one morning with the hangover to end all hangovers. You find yourself simultaneously trying to solve a murder, recall who the **** you are, find your gun / badge, and try to remain sane (whether that’s via sobriety or abundant substance use is up to you... hell, you can opt for insanity if you’d prefer). The uniqueness comes in how you shape your character - there’s a standard level up screen, but the unusual options range from ‘encyclopaedia’ to ‘shivers’ (the latter being your instinctual connection with the city around you). The way you address people will also gradually feed into an additional layer of stats that begin to impact your character’s entire worldview and ideological beliefs, and an additional layer allows you to ponder on specific thoughts (such as particular schools of economic theory, or just your date of birth) for various tweaks / bonuses to your base stats. You can really mould this character into all manner of things: by the final act of the game my *name redacted for spoiler reasons* was a raging communist (albeit with occasional centrist impulses and a bad habit of apologising unnecessarily), superstar cop, karaoke / dance king with an obnoxious grasp of history and local trivia. Also, your partner Kim is an all-time iconic gaming companion - this messy, meandering, ambitious game wouldn’t work as well as it does without this straight-edged, instantly likeable dude accompanying the impossibly ****ed up anti-hero.

    It does feel like a step forward in big, bold, literary video game writing - the prose, of which there is a lot, is never less than sharp, and at its frequent best among the best writing you’ll encounter in the medium. It refuses to shy away from real-world ideologies and conflicts - the punches most game would pull aren’t pulled here, to the point where you can be a truly despicable asshole if you so wish - while remaining resolutely focused on this mad, bizarre world that’s been created. For those interested in lore there are novellas-worth of history here; for those more interested in characters the entire cast is convincingly drawn; and there’s a pretty good murder mystery driving things even when you’re reading through pages of philosophical ramblings or debates on Revachol history / past revolutions / crippling ongoing conflicts.

    But if the writing is the headline accomplishment, I don’t think it can be understated what a great RPG this is as well. The biggest achievement is dumping combat entirely (although that’s not to say you won’t need a weapon from time to time) - given I tend to find combat the most tedious part of many RPGs, this was precisely the antidote I needed :) It’s focused on the important stuff: giving you the ability to really mess around with the beliefs and personality of a truly broken man. Conversations are constantly influenced by these under the hood stats (which themselves have personalities, and will chip in regularly to offer their observations on unfolding events), and it’s as much a visual novel as an RPG - albeit one that feels like it is constantly adapting to the often micro choices you make from moment to moment (how much of that is smoke and mirrors I couldn’t tell you - but conversations feel genuinely dynamic and spiralling).

    Don’t want to go into to much detail in the opening post, but I can thankfully report the game goes to really cool places in the back half - the story and characters do pay off. Individual moments range from absurd and hilarious to legitimately, disarmingly poignant - there’s one or two sequences towards the end of the game I’d comfortably rank among my all time favourite pieces of video game storytelling, and each for very different reasons. Above all else, I guess, it’s a rare game that legitimately surprises throughout: it embraces so many tones and registers it’s a wonder the devs manage to tackle them all so gracefully.

    Anyway, out on PC now and PS4 / XB1 soonish apparently. It’s a solid length (around 15-25 hours depending how fast a reader you are) and not IMO difficult in the traditional sense (I boringly opted to make my character sober, which is apparently the hard route :pac:) but consistently engaging and full of options. Give it a whirl: for me, it’s the sort of game I’m happy to be able to describe as quite unlike anything else I’ve played.

    Did I mention it looks and sounds magnificent? Well, it looks and sounds magnificent.



  • Registered Users Posts: 29,001 ✭✭✭✭Zero-Cool

    This looks right up my street, can't wait to try it on PS4.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,384 ✭✭✭Cina

    I played it over the Christmas break and thought it was magnificent. It was crazy how an RPG with absolutely no combat managed to hook me in so well.

    I thought the writing was mostly great but it did meander at times and there were certain conversations I was having that felt pointless, I also thought they were far from subtle with trying to hammer some of their points home to the point where it got a little annoying! And I do think it's a bit overwhelming how quickly the quests pile up early on and the way they're organised, to the point where I couldn't even remember what my main quest was supposed to be because it was so far back in the queue sometimes.

    I also thought (do NOT open if you haven't finished the game)
    the ending was pretty rushed and meh. Like they find the murderer, leave him on the island, go back to the mainland and there's just a brief little synopsis and "OK cool, we're done, game over", bit of an anti-climax, really

    Also Kim is the bit f*cking sidekick ever and I loved him so damn much. I saw a post on reddit that said the game has no replay value because it's actually impossible to be a d*ck to Kim and let him down so you can't go the bad route instead!

    Overall it's well worthy of the praise and a must play for any CRPG fan! A brilliant 20 hour journey.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Computer Games Moderators, Entertainment Moderators Posts: 28,404 CMod ✭✭✭✭johnny_ultimate

    On the ending:
    I do agree the final conversation felt a touch abrupt - it can be hard to end a game such as this, but definitely a little clunky. Appreciated it as a summary of your misadventures more than anything. I did love, however, the stuff on the island. I usually don’t like mysteries where the suspect is revealed to be someone you haven’t encountered before. But what works here IMO is the idea of the city still being haunted by its past. The old man is a symbol of all the messy violence and social / political / economic divisions that are still ripping the place apart, which I felt was a neat, apt conclusion to some of the ideas explored throughout. The plasmid encounter added a lovely poetic, mysterious flourish to proceedings.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,464 ✭✭✭JimBurnley

    Sound interesting alright. Has anyone seen a more definite release date for PS4? All I can see is coming in 2020...

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,118 ✭✭✭BeerWolf

    Been eyeing this -- might get it when the sales hit. Preoccupied with other games currently. :p

  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 29,001 ✭✭✭✭Zero-Cool

    Very interested to know how the writing looks on a big tv, will be awful if the writing is too small.

    Edit: duh, could just play a gameplay video through YouTube on the telly...

    Watching glimpses of gameplay vids gives me Sanitarium vibes which i absolutely loved back in the day.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,118 ✭✭✭BeerWolf

    Zero-Cool wrote: »

    Fantastic game that was.

  • Registered Users Posts: 29,001 ✭✭✭✭Zero-Cool

    Really enjoying Sanitarium on the tablet, some dark **** in that game.

    Really looking forward to Disco Elysium.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,399 ✭✭✭✭Potential-Monke

    An RPG with no combat... Heavily story driven with lots of reading... Lots of complicated words I don't understand in the opening post... Doesn't seem like my kind of game! Does sound interesting, but it reads like the kind of game I wouldn't enjoy.

  • Registered Users Posts: 29,001 ✭✭✭✭Zero-Cool

    I love the sound of the lack of combat. I don't have a lot of experience with this genre but anything close I've looked up, the combat looks boring. I mean, i loved Shadowrun on the snes and the combat on that was fun but seemed secondary to the game. If this can pull it off not needing combat, then it has my interest piqued.

  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 841 ✭✭✭one armed dwarf

    I started this. Feels like Planescape Torment through the lens of some wacky post-modernist literature. I don't want to name drop people to sound clever but it's very self-consciously literary for sure.

    Tried to punch a nazi, failed, and had to receive a lecture on race theory. So I'm a nazi now, actually I'm a commie nazi hobo cop.

  • Registered Users Posts: 27,582 ✭✭✭✭ T. Hanks^

    One of the most overrated games I've played in quite some time
    Some of the dialogue is just pointless exposition

  • Registered Users Posts: 27,264 ✭✭✭✭super_furry

    Hmmmm, wonder if I could get that up and running on a Surface Go.

  • Registered Users Posts: 841 ✭✭✭one armed dwarf

    Strongly disagree about the dialogue, at least 6 hours in anyway.

    The writing and systems in this game is like a sort of psychological ping pong between your different psychic traits. Best way to describe the dialogue systems is it's like a sort of stat driven dialectical 'combat', with yourself and other characters. Your different stats will pip in and make recommendations to progress through a 'problem', but if you are overdeveloped in a particular area some of these recommendations might be actually quite bad. Which is why you want a *somewhat* even spread of stats to act as a sort of tempering influence on some of your worse aspects.

    It's very interesting. I watched a video which described your 24 substats as like individual party members. My character is a alcoholic/drug-addled cop with high emotional intelligence but abysmal knowledge of just about anything (what... is a book?). So I've had to rely a lot on my people skills to extract some knowledge of the history of the place I'm in. Or make friendships with different characters through our shared love of/dependence on drugs.

    The whole game is just about writing, or reading rather. It sometimes feels like a sort of Melville-esque exercise in reading for its own sake, but it is rewarding. Such as when you hook up with a fellow junkie and receive a history in a massive nuclear accident which led to this fellow becoming a user. Stuff which is optional but fun to discover.

    Another one, because I *accidentally* fell into being a scholar of eugenics (please don't ask) I am now being blackmailed by another character. Which makes my 'half-light' stat kick into gear. 'Half light' is your fight or flight response, it helps you make decisions when you feel threatened. Now that I realise I have such powerful enemies I'm expecting to be making much more use of this.

    The 24 stats are always bouncing off each other, sometimes arguing amongst themselves. Because I'm such an emotionally intelligent substance abuser I have inner conflicts over whether or not I should be using. So the choices you make for your build aren't going to funnel you into the same type cop as everyone else. It's much more dialectical, it is designed so you should be having internal disagreements all the time. Or with your partner, who is another sort of tempering influence on you.

  • Registered Users Posts: 29,001 ✭✭✭✭Zero-Cool

    Strongly disagree about the dialogue, at least 6 hours in anyway. ...

    My God, that sounds fascinating.

  • Registered Users Posts: 841 ✭✭✭one armed dwarf

    Yeah, it's great. It may not have combat but it doesn't lack conflict. It is very slow though. At these early stages I'm not sure how many of these vignettes will lead onto bigger things, or if there to be explored just for their own sake.

    I will say it's not something I can pick up in the evening after work. I've never been the sort of person who can read a book after working all day, and this game is basically like a book. If your attention is anyway divided while playing you might as well do something else. It's quite dense all of the time. Which is in part cause of the strength of the writing, how beautifully evocative it is and how it describes places, people and things.

    Anyway this week is FFXIV patch week so this will be going on the backburner until next week (I don't want to leave it too long or I will forget everything)

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Computer Games Moderators, Entertainment Moderators Posts: 28,404 CMod ✭✭✭✭johnny_ultimate

    To be honest it’s one of a small handful of games I’d describe as having legitimately great writing (your Sunless Seas / Skies etc...). And when I say that I don’t mean merely within the confines of video games, where ‘great writing’ is often merely in contrast to other video games and is otherwise sub Hollywood blockbuster in quality. Disco Elysium is instead infatuated with the capacity of language to explore character, themes, worlds. That they’ve found a way to make that into a dynamic gameplay system in it own right with the aforementioned duelling voices in your head is icing on the cake and what really elevates it to another level.

    It is literary, sure, but literary isn’t a bad word: it’s often a pleasure to bask in the beauty of language and its capacity to explore ideas. But like a lot of great literature this is also extremely excited to have lots of fun at the same time, so it’s not just a sea of endless words.

    The plot in Disco Elysium isn’t trivial, but nor is it necessarily the focus. It’s a game that’s bigger and deeper than a mere piece of hungover detective fiction, and personally it was its willingness to be that bigger and deeper thing that won me over so comprehensively. There are a few things I personally wouldn’t be the biggest fan of - there’s perhaps a bit more ‘lore’ than I’d be interested in - but they are minor complaints in what otherwise I’d consider one of the best examples of video game writing... and one in a different league again to some of the other contenders for the crown.

  • Registered Users Posts: 841 ✭✭✭one armed dwarf

    I said I would put it on the backburner tonight, but well I spent my entire evening on it. I've decided I'm way into the occult and will always entertain these dialogue options as they come up or until characters get weary over it. It's got me on good terms with the book shop owner anyway, she really approves of my ghost busting skills.

    I keep picking really racist dialogue options though. I need to stop doing that, but I really needed to convince a racist truck driver of some stuff before he would confide in me. I don't mind being known as a crazy ghost whisperer but racist cop isn't the rep I should be cultivating right now or I don't know how I'm going to look Kim in the eyes.

    **** it, if it comes up I'm blaming the drugs. Incidentally I've just noticed that being a big racist gives me a huge rhetoric levelling cap, so I should start popping points into that I suppose. If this game has multiple endings I'm guessing I will get the really racist one though.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Computer Games Moderators, Entertainment Moderators Posts: 28,404 CMod ✭✭✭✭johnny_ultimate

  • Registered Users Posts: 29,001 ✭✭✭✭Zero-Cool

    Disco Elysium The Final Cut out in march on consoles, free upgrade if you already have it.

  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 841 ✭✭✭one armed dwarf

    I stopped playing this cause 2020 sort of killed my appetite for something as bleak as this, but I could easily start it again and pretend it's like a TV series if they really VA everything

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,395 ✭✭✭quokula

    Finally got around to starting this. Only played the first hour or so in the initial hotel and initially getting to the body, at which point it crashed and I had no desire to go back in to be honest.

    The writing is so pretentious and full of itself. It thinks it's being clever but the actual conversations are so far away from any kind of believable conversation two people would have, and my set of choices in dialogue are often so outlandishly bad that I don't want to pick any of them. I don't mean bad in a "not favourable to me" sense, I mean bad in a "this is something no human being would say in these circumstances" sense.

    If it hadn't crashed I'd have given it more time and maybe it would have clicked. Maybe I'll dive back in and give it another chance when there's a director cut and see if I can understand what all the critics love so much. But it does strike me as one of these things that thinks it's being clever by alluding to complex topics and using flowery language, but is actually very shallow. I've suddenly decided I'm a feminist with no explanation? Now I think I'm a rock star? I'm asked to pay for my room but I literally don't understand what currency is? If it's trying to portray some kind of mental breakdown this sort of unsubtle nonsense is not the way to do it. Not to mention the way other characters don't react to this lunacy in a remotely believable manner. Or the piles of exposition that the "encyclopedia" part of my brain chimes in with to unnecessarily pad out every conversation.

    Wasn't at all keen on the grotesque art style either. I know I've only seen a short part of the game (I'd have seen more if quality control had been better and the game didn't crash) but really struggling to see what the fuss is about.

  • Registered Users Posts: 29,001 ✭✭✭✭Zero-Cool

    Mod on discord said release date announcement and launch trailer coming this week. There'll be no pre-order, just a release apparently.

  • Registered Users Posts: 32,232 ✭✭✭✭Penn

  • Registered Users Posts: 29,001 ✭✭✭✭Zero-Cool

    Out tomorrow with 20% discount at launch on PlayStation. No idea of price though.

    Small dev guide to character creation before release.

  • What time does the playstation store update? I can't see this game anywhere.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,964 ✭✭✭ongarite

    It's going live at 6pm this evening.

  • There now, 39.99 or 31.99 with plus.

  • Registered Users Posts: 29,001 ✭✭✭✭Zero-Cool

    There now, 39.99 or 31.99 with plus.

    Ooooh 32 with discount is alright, orob will be a few months before it gets to that on sale.

  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 5,303 ✭✭✭Temptamperu

    Downloading. Cant Wait!!!