Disco Elysium is a story about a murder. And a story about a cop fallen from grace. You start the game with the most horrible hangover you can imagine. In fact, it is so bad you don’t even remember your name or how you got to be where you are. Last night is a blur and nothing seems to make sense. Little by little the player is given clues to what has happened by conversing with people in the city of Martinaise. Some are afraid of you. Some seem to detest you from the bottom of their heart. You trashed your hotel room, are behind on rent, and making money in the game is hard. Begging and taking bribes will get you forward, though. Luckily you can also collect tare to pay your bills, nothing like a cop collecting bottles and cans from the ground to make their ends meet.
Picture 1: One of the best items in the game: The yellow plastic bag – without it there is no collecting bottles and paying rent is that much harder
The game progresses through dialogue. And there is a lot of it. Every conversation is affected by your stats. You will get different kinds of insightful remarks from having points in different stats. The empathy stat will have your character make guesses about a person and so on. Sometimes different aspects of the main character are having conversations with each other making the player question the sanity of the protagonist.
Picture 2:The skill tree of the game – different stats can heavily affect the game‘s progression
There is a body next to the player’s hotel hanging from a tree when the game starts. And this is what apparently brought the protagonist to the city some 3 nights ago, although he doesn’t remember a thing. Getting the body down is one of the first things that needs to be done to progress the story but even that is not a too simple task. Discussion after discussion will lead you to talk to more and more people, which, will open more and more options about where to go with the investigation. These discussions will also open new “thoughts” that further determine what type of cop you are going to be.
Picture 3: An example of a conversation and how, in this case, endurance stat gives you an insightful remark
Picture 4: Thought cabinet: here the player can progress new, emerging thoughts that unlock new dialogue options
I started most conversations with the line “I’m the law”, just because I thought it funny. Which, in part, unlocked the path of a superstar cop. An excellent choice I feel.
Disco Elysium has to be one of the best games I have played in a while. An excellent RPG with excellent and atmospheric music, humor, and beautiful art. I recommend giving it a go if you are a fan of dark humor and RPGs!
Platforms: PC and MacOS only but coming to PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One
Pegi: N/A I recommend M for mature