Disco Elysium - No Truce With The Furies
November 3, 2019 10:29 AM   Subscribe

Disco Elysium [Launch Trailer] "is a detective RPG of improbable depth. It's part Planescape: Torment, part police procedural, part psychodrama. Your fatally hungover detective peels himself off the carpet, naked except for a pair of soiled underpants, and begins the laborious process of piecing his broken mind back together, while simultaneously attempting to solve a gruesome murder on the wrong side of the tracks. (PC Gamer)" — GOG - Steam, PS4 and Xbox ports announced for next year
"There are an astounding number of these interactions, and they’re somehow all written with humor, wit, and an absolutely breathtaking level of respect for what you, as a player, are trying (and, sometimes, failing), to do. The real mystery here is where the hell this thing came from. For a debut title from a new studio, and a writer who’s never worked in games before, it’s an astounding achievement—maybe even a masterpiece. If it’s not my pick for the best game of 2019, something damn good is going to have to come down the line in the next two months." —AV Club
"Disco Elysium is a very good game. It’s frequently brilliant, in fact. I’ll almost certainly replay it at least once more again. But the flaws are there enough that I’m not ready to tear out my beating heart and lay it, reverently, at Disco Elysium’s feet. Others will though. Diamonds can have flaws, after all. It will be beloved — absolutely beloved — by many because it scratches a particular itch that has been left to prickle for years, and does it very well and with undeniable style." —Rock Paper Shotgun
"Disco Elysium is a unique blend of noir-detective fiction, traditional pen-and-paper RPGs, and a large helping of existentialist theory. Its twisting plot, cast of memorable characters, and sheer depth of choice combine to create an experience that begs to be savoured. A few minor gripes aside, it hits on almost every single one of the marks it sets out to achieve and left me yearning to spend more time in its world." —IGN
posted by Memo (27 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
Disco Elysium, as far as I can tell, is a novel that you play. It's a really unique and wonderful game. Funny, dark, weird.
posted by so fucking future at 10:59 AM on November 3, 2019 [3 favorites]

Wear a tie. Good stuff happens.
posted by BigBrooklyn at 11:06 AM on November 3, 2019

Disco Elysium is good and smart the way you remember Planescape Torment being 20 years ago when you were in your teens, and once your memory repressed all the terrible hack and slash combat it made you wade through.

Wear a tie. Good stuff happens.

I literally died in the attempt.

The game is good, folks.
posted by Reyturner at 11:15 AM on November 3, 2019 [4 favorites]

Note this is literally the first (potential) action of the game, so while a spoiler, not a huge one.
posted by BigBrooklyn at 11:28 AM on November 3, 2019

I want to play this so much. I'm really happy to hear it's coming to Xbox eventually.
posted by arcticwoman at 12:01 PM on November 3, 2019 [2 favorites]

I've played around 133% of this game, which is to say that I've finished it and played through another half, but I still haven't seen everything. There's a lot to recommend here.

Character creation uses a four stat system that governs success in 24 skills, and how you build your version of your forgetful detective determines precisely which combination of tropes on the noir cop/gonzo gop spectrum you’re going to inhabit for this play-through. Sure, there are plenty of working-man stats like Endurance for health, Volition for morale, Perception to notice things, but then there’s stuff like Visual Calculus to make sense of crime scenes, Conceptualization to comprehend the world and express it artistically, Inland Empire for creativity and the sort of self-constructed intuitive leaps that Dale Cooper relied so heavily upon, Esprit de Corps for extranarrative interjections in which you learn what’s going on with your partner and precinct, Electrochemistry to know about (and be compelled to use) drugs—and for how esoteric these skills get, they become relevant with surprising frequency.

More importantly, every skill is a voice in your head, suggesting or demanding you indulge relevant desires. Failing skill checks can sometimes be more beneficial than succeeding. Having a good score can help you solve problems, but having a great score will introduce new ones. Too much Logic makes you arrogant; too much Rhetoric makes you an insufferable ideologue. Having enough Authority will allow you to take control of situations, but the higher the stat gets, the more often Authority pops up to insist that you demonstrate how in charge you are, even when that would be counter-productive.

My second-favorite aspect of Disco Elysium has been uncovering the mystery of the protagonist's identity. Despite the physical and mental skills you selected above, calling this "character creation" is a bit of a misnomer: the protagonist, his corporeal person, and his mistakes already exist. While you can put points into Physique, it's not so much that you're making him stronger—rather, you've made him more willing to lean into that aspect of himself. He's more capable of overcoming the physical challenges he already had the potential to overcome. More importantly, you are the unwitting inheritor of his problems: this is a common scenario in games and stories, but I really appreciated how well it plays out here.

My favorite aspect of Disco Elysium is Lt. Kim Kitsuragi. He alone is worth the price of admission.
posted by jsnlxndrlv at 12:42 PM on November 3, 2019 [9 favorites]

I am not a gamer at all but I knew this was a special game when my character died of embarrassment after asking a witness on a date and being brutally rejected.
posted by feloniousmonk at 12:58 PM on November 3, 2019 [3 favorites]

My brother worked on this game. A whole bunch of his writing is in there, although I think he mostly did... scripting? Something like that. So I suppose check out Death and Taxes too, which he also worked on.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 2:17 PM on November 3, 2019 [4 favorites]

If you have already played the game or don't mind light spoilers about the setting and skills, check out the devblog! It has a lot of information and world building.
posted by Memo at 2:52 PM on November 3, 2019

If this comes exclusively to Xbox and not the PS4, it will be the only exclusive game on that platform that I want to play. I deeply, deeply want to play this game, and I don't have a PC that can do it.
posted by SoberHighland at 5:16 PM on November 3, 2019

The thing that sold me on buying Disco Elysium (once I get my gaming PC set up again after moving) is this Twitter thread that details how you can do the stereotypical thing where one cop says something insightful and the other nods meaningfully back, but you have the choice to refuse to give your partner the last word and just keep nodding back and forth until you finally go too far and snap your own neck.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 5:37 PM on November 3, 2019 [2 favorites]

Content warning for the use of semi-obfuscated homophobic slurs in Disco Elysium. They’re front loaded, but appear throughout the game. The game does a lot of things very well, but I think it’s better that folks don’t get blindsided by that.
posted by GameDesignerBen at 8:29 PM on November 3, 2019 [3 favorites]

I have not played this yet, but it's got stiff competition for Game of the Year, as both Baba Is You and Untitled Goose Game are well worthy of that title. (Of course, magazines and websites will probably throw it at Call of Duty #Whatever.)
posted by JHarris at 1:04 AM on November 4, 2019

Does it pass the Bechdel test - or videogame equivalent? Do you get to talk to women who are important characters?
posted by sedimentary_deer at 1:22 AM on November 4, 2019

I've only played a bit before it started to make my laptop concerningly hot but from what I've seen so far this game is something really special. I love the idea of your character's stats talking to you and the particularly high stats sometimes imposing themselves on your will. Also, the hour or so I spent with it was hilariously funny, which isn't too common with videogames.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 3:58 AM on November 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

sedimentary_deer: yes, several.
posted by GameDesignerBen at 4:54 AM on November 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

I want to play this so much. I'm really happy to hear it's coming to Xbox eventually.

Co-signed, with fervor.
posted by um at 8:15 AM on November 4, 2019

Thanks GameDesignerBen - been on my radar but had some reservations because out of all the reviews linked to above only two of the screengrabs seem to feature women... Otherwise seems exactly my type of thing.

Hopefully will come to PS4 or switch because I don't think my laptop can manage the specs.
posted by sedimentary_deer at 8:29 AM on November 4, 2019

I saw this tweet a couple of weeks ago:
There's a bit in Disco Elysium where you're examining something and your partner makes an observation and you nod and then he nods and you can choose to keep the nodding escalating until your neck cracks and you lose health which means you can die from nodding in this game
Fantastic. Can't wait to try it out.
posted by mhum at 6:07 PM on November 4, 2019 [2 favorites]

I can't wait to play this. I don't have the cash for it right now. But soon. Thanks for this post. It looks like so much damn fun.
posted by Fizz at 2:15 AM on November 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

Need to play more but right now this is screaming instant classic. Not sure I’d go so far as to say “Game of the Decade” like most of my social circle, but it’s easily the best writing in the medium since Planescape: Torment and possibly just the best, period.
posted by Ryvar at 2:53 PM on November 5, 2019

I put Outer Worlds on hold to play this for the entire weekend, and love it. The world building is fascinating, as in, even the world in which this is set is not even a planet as we would know it.
posted by Marticus at 1:25 PM on November 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

Fine, you want me to play this? Fine.
posted by Justinian at 1:11 AM on November 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

If this comes exclusively to Xbox and not the PS4, it will be the only exclusive game on that platform that I want to play. I deeply, deeply want to play this game, and I don't have a PC that can do it.

You might be able to play this on someone else's PC via nvidia shield over VPN or some screen remoting arrangement like that?

I think the game is all menu based, so it might be a little laggy but should be playable.

Presuming you have a PC of some sort, or some other device that can run the client side app.
posted by snuffleupagus at 11:07 AM on November 11, 2019

This game feels alive in a way that shouldn't be possible. I love it and it will haunt me forever.
posted by selfnoise at 9:09 PM on November 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

I just finished this on the weekend (after backtracking 4 hours of gameplay to get my gun) and am still mulling over the world-building, characterization and internal dialogue. It's an amazing game, and I hope they make a sequel, or at least another in the same world.
posted by Marticus at 1:20 PM on November 17, 2019

Disco Elysium is 20% off on Steam until Dec. 3, and Steam Controllers are on sale for $5 before shipping until supplies run out. (The game's discussion forum on Steam suggests the Controller works well with it for couch play.)

Note the controller sale seems to be because Steam is discontinuing it, without specifying whether a v2 is coming.
posted by snuffleupagus at 4:55 PM on November 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

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