Disco Elysium: The Final Cut

released on Mar 30, 2021
by ZA/UM

An expanded game of Disco Elysium

Disco Elysium: The Final Cut is a groundbreaking role playing game. You’re a detective with a unique skill system at your disposal and a whole city to carve your path across. Interrogate unforgettable characters, crack murders or take bribes. Become a hero or an absolute disaster of a human being. The Final Cut adds full voice acting to the game, as well as new quests, more characters and fresh explorable areas.

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Disco Elysium is the game that really felt like a truly breathing and living world. This game isn’t shy on talking politics nor outlining controversial topics, and it is excellent for it. The worldbuilding is fantastic, and Disco Elysium provides witty and comedic lines in addition to this, and the game made me laugh so much throughout. I really felt like a part of this world, and this world reacted to me. Disco Elysium is a masterpiece thoroughly and I will never stop loving it.

Prolly the most unique game I've ever played and it made me interested in checking out other CRPGs.

Sem dúvidas, esse é um dos jogos já feitos👍

This review contains spoilers

[Holds up a mug that depicts a person of Samaran descent frolicking in a field of saffron flowers, buck-toothed and grinning feeble-mindedly.] What do you think of this? This your mug?
I've long been apprehensive about starting Disco Elysium. It can take a bit of time for me to settle in with a text heavy game and I have very little familiarity with CRPGs. It seemed so daunting to me, but I finally came around when my friend Larry proposed streaming Disco over Discord with him as my guide, helping me acclimate to the game's various systems and stop me from running past points of interest and dying in incredibly stupid, preventable ways.
I initially intended to build protagonist Harry Du Bois NAME UNKNOWN as a detective whose ability to perceive the true nature of the world also allowed him to observe the supranatural. Terrible. What a boring idea. Larry gently nudged me off this path by pointing out that it's possible to build Harry into a drug cop - as in, a cop who does (and benefits from) drugs. That spoke to me, so I dumped my stats into Psyche and Physique with a point each in Motorics and Intellect. During the early parts of the game, I let Half Light and Elcotrochemistry take the wheel. Disco Elysium is a smart game, too smart for me. I'm an idiot, and so building Harry in a way that was authentic to how poorly I'd interface with a world full of philosophers and revolutionaries felt like the most appropriate way to navigate the game. I'm the kind of guy who can pass a 17% check to shoot a body down but who will forget to equip bolt cutters to open a door and get a game over for it. I'm out here punching children, sizing people up by showing them racist mugs, and getting beguiled by mysterious women. I am a human animal. I am Harry Du Bois.
The lore of Revachol and the history of its inhabitants is a constant, as are a few details of Harry's past. You'll always start the game an amnesiac and a drunk, but it's entirely up to you how fast he recovers his identity and whether he sobers up or spirals further. You can stick to the main case or become inundated with side stuff. Meticulously cross examine witnesses and catch them in lies or employ unorthodox methods to get your way. It's a proper roleplaying game, where you have an incredible amount of control over who you want Harry to be. I played mine as a superstar cop who had to slowly relearn how to do his job under the guidance of Kim Kitsuragi, his partner. Kim and I never really got along, he's too by-the-books, whereas I've lost my gun and badge and am only making progress in the case despite myself. I tanked his confidence in me surprisingly fast and it barely ever recovered, and rather than repair that trust, I instead befriended Cuno, a street urchin who has been throwing rocks at a corpse (his "fuck gimp") for several days and deals speed. Of course I'd get along with him!
During a critical moment late in the game, I saved Kim from a mortal wound. By this point, I was playing Harry more competently. Working the case was reacclimating him to detective work, and becoming involved in the personal lives of the people of Martinaise was giving him a reason to live. He was becoming a better person, someone who might actually want Kim's respect. He was a Communist, and yeah like ok, he had six points in Fascism, but that's not who he is now! It made sense for me to throw Kim my gun. Then I looked up what happens if you don't, if it's possible to let him die, and read that (if you befriended him) Cuno would join you for the rest of the investigation if you leave Kim to his fate. I reloaded my save.
But I also want to experience Disco Elysium another way. I want to build a Harry who is intelligent, who gets along with Kim and admonishes people like Cuno. Who is perhaps less empathetic but more efficient. The deeper I got, the more I began to question what an approach opposite of mine would yield, how it would change the way other characters perceive me and if it would open up parts of the game I didn't even know where there. Larry played his Harry in a way that was very antithetical to my own, and it was fun to hear how often he'd remark "I've never seen this." The amount of agency Disco Elysium grants you over Harry's growth is impressive and provides a massive amount of replay value.
As for how you interact with Disco on a mechanical level, much of the game involves navigating dialog trees, or "lists" as some characters point out, part of a metatextual gag about the way Harry's cop-mind processes the world around him. Depending on your stat allocation, different forms of internal dialog can interject and open new actions and dialog options when speaking with NPCs, including some that are dependent on passing or failing checks. You can gain modifiers by putting on different clothing - which usually results in you looking like a psychopath - but I often took a shot on low probability checks just because failing them still resulted in something funny happening. There were even some that I passed handily that I wish I did fail just to see what would happen. Oh, I didn't pass my check to come up with a new name for myself? I guess I'm Fucke Waldez now.
Based on how you respond to other characters and what actions you take, you can unlock Thoughts. Each Thought presents a problem that can only be overcome by internalizing that Thought, which takes a certain amount of time and usually creates a negative impact on at least one stat for the duration but provides some kind of bonus once it has been internalized. You can apply quite a number of these in the Thought Cabinet, but a few of my favorites are Superstar Cop (which is of course my primary copotype, though there are others, like Boring Cop and Sorry Cop), Anti-Object Task Force (heals you when kicking things like doors and trash cans, very me), and Bringing of the Law Jaw. I regrettably did not unlock The Homo-Sexual Underground.
For those I didn't take - as not all of them are worth internalizing, and some I'm told can result in a game over - I still jumped over to the wiki to read the flavor text, because it's really good stuff. The writing in Disco Elysium is some of the best I've seen in any video game. It's consistently witty, got me to belt out laughing often, but is also capable of being very heartfelt and critical. It's hard to talk about without simply getting lost in the details of specific storylines and side cases, because it's just that good. I want to ramble about how Evrart Claire is ideologically agreeable yet clearly motivated by self-interest, or how Titus Hardie and his goons genuinely care about their community but practice vigilante justice. Titus would make a good cop in all the worst ways. Even an NPC as minor as a girl outside a bookstore or a working-class woman who challenges you to find out which kind of cockatoo you relate to the most (the fuckupatoo, clearly) prove to be surprisingly deep. Freaks like Measurehead, Idiot Doom Spiral, Garry the Cyrptofascist, Fuck the World and Piss F----- are going to stick with me for how bizarre and vile they are, just as much as Lilienne Carter and Trant Heidelstam will for being so wholesome. Joyce Messier may be an ultraliberal who works for a company that sent in mercenaries to forcefully end a worker's strike, but the amount of regret and wistfulness she carriers, as well as the adverse effects The Pale has had on her mental and physical health, make her endearing. And, yeah, I even like Kim. I mean, he's no Cuno - Boy Detective, gettin shit done Cunn-style. Probably why I didn't solve the case until he left!
I only wish I had something insightful to say about Disco Elysium's politics. Like I said, I'm not that smart. I grew up on a diet of Burger King and boiled chicken, my brain did not get enough vital nutrients to develop properly. To put it plainly: Revachol is a highly politicized city, and Disco likes to challenge the player's ideological line. I'm sure someone can write a whole essay about what Disco is trying to say about our world, all my bad brain is able to parse is that you should not ask more about race science when talking to Measurehead, you are not lulling him into a sense of comfort in order to spring some clever trap, you are in fact getting indoctrinated. Whoops!

Disco Elysium
is a little slow to start, it takes a bit of time for its world and characters to really come into view, but when it does you'll likely find yourself every bit as encouraged to stray from the main path and explore all that the game has to offer like I did. It either takes a damn good game or an easy trophy set to get me to do that, and Disco is definitely the former. Anyway, it's about time I wrap things up. I had a lot to say about this. I have a lot to say about most games I've only gotten around to playing long after everyone else. That's good though, writing fills time, gives me something to do. If it weren't for this, who knows where I'd be. Probably out buying vials of blue stuff to stick places. That's not for me. No, I'm a word-man. I don't use particularly good words, but I do use a lot of them! I have things to say, god damnit. Important things!

"Brother you should put me in front of a firing squad. I have no words for how I failed you."