Disco Elysium: The Final Cut Review
A couple of years after Disco Elysium hit the scene, ZA/UM has released the Final Cut on the PlayStation 5. Find out if the game is worth checking out two years later with our review.
Disco Elysium: The Final Cut Review
Disco Elysium begins with you waking up in a haze, one where you can’t remember who you are or what you are doing. As it turns out, you drank so much that you are now suffering from some sort of amnesia. You groggily collect your clothes and stumble downstairs to try and find out what is going on, but quickly learn you are a detective sent to investigate a murder. After a man was found hanging from a tree behind the hotel you are staying at, you now need to find out what happened. Thankfully, a different precinct sent the detective Kim Kitsuragi to help you out, with him filling you in on the details. While you haven’t worked together before, you have been assigned as partners for this case.
Figuring out who you are and what you were doing is only the beginning of your nightmare. It turns out that in your drunken stupor, you lost your badge and sold your gun. The body out back has been hanging for a week, and now smells so bad you can’t approach it without getting sick. There is a massive strike going on outside of the union, so getting to the boss to ask him questions about the murder is difficult. To top it all off, you owe the hotel $130 and you are broke. Cleaning up this mess will take roughly 20-25 hours.
Disco Elysium is an RPG, but not your typical RPG. You don’t do much combat, and even the combat isn’t controlled by you. That is because a lot of skills are based on dice rolls. Some are easy to pass, while others are impossible. This is where your skills come into play – and there are a ton of them. There are 24 different skills to pick from, and each of them plays a separate role. These skills act as your inner voice and point out things you may have missed. However, skills can clash with one another, leaving you to sort out which one to believe. Is the suspect lying, or is he just scared? Empathy says one thing, while Drama says another.
The skill system plays into the replayability of the game as well. A different build and play style won’t change the game’s outcome, but it will change each conversation. You also get new clothes to wear, which will improve specific skills. You can turn your weaker skills into strong ones by wearing the right outfit. Booze, drugs, and cigarettes will give you temporary boosts at the expense of HP or Morale. The boost can be worth it – assuming Kim isn’t watching you do speed and you don’t kill yourself by doing it. I had to buy a raincoat, drink some wine, and increase my endurance to get the body down without puking my guts out. I’m sure there are other ways to do it, but that one worked for me.
Another strength of the game is how it lets you be the kind of detective you want to be. With no memory of who you are, you can say all sorts of things about your past. You can play it straight, ask questions, get info, and find the perp. You can be the cop of the apocalypse, foretelling of the coming doom, and thoroughly confusing your partner. Superstar cop is a winner. Disco may be dead in our world, but in Disco Elysium, you are a star. Give people that “Look” and the finger guns to let them know you are a cool cop who isn’t above taking bribes. You get to play the way you want to play.
The other main thing this title tasks you with is exploring. There is a lot to see, even though the game world isn’t that large. Tiny dots flood the world, providing context, new info, and other little tidbits that help you get a feel for the area. By exploring these dots, you will unlock thoughts. Your thoughts range from ridiculous to just wondering how old you are. Thoughts require time to sort out completely and will give you an effect when the thought is completed. When they are finished, they will usually provide you with a new buff. You might get a bonus to one of your skills or get bonus experience for certain conversation choices. You can also become a communist if you want, though the bonus to that one isn’t great.
I played this on PC when it released, but never got through it. The Final Cut voices most of the game, which proves to be a massive boon that makes it easier to navigate. That being said, there were some problems. I did have a couple of crashes, which hurts because the game doesn’t autosave often. There were some UI glitches where text boxes would stay on screen. I couldn’t complete certain quests, and conversations would stop having options to talk. The quest to get my gun back took me five times of hard closing the game and re-opening it to actually work. I still enjoyed my time with it, but there were some definite issues.
While Disco Elysium: The Final Cut won’t appeal to everyone, those that do enjoy it will sing its praises for a long time to come. Just be prepared for a few bugs if you play on console.
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