How long does it take to create a good story? If you ask this question to the developers from ZN MU, they will say that at least it took them more than 10 years. I can say that this is a game, like any good detective story - at first glance it is simple, but in reality it is much deeper. So much deeper that in the game you can drown in the elements that are in it. We will tell you about them by reviewing Disco Elysium.
In terms of what the game is, Disco Elysium can be compared to Planescape: Torment, the first two Fallout or Arcanum - classic isometric RPGs with lots of text that is important to read. Digging deeper, Disco Elysium takes the root mechanics of Dungeons and Dragons and adapts it into a story of filth, violence in a poor society. By creating a dense and thoughtful lore, the game allows itself to experiment with the legacy of the past, and for example, create such mechanics as an internal dispute between the 24 parts of the hero's brain. But beyond that, the game has skill checks, companions, quests, visual novel elements, point and click adventures, branching dialogues, the ability to intimidate, charm, or come up with your own ways out of situations.
It all starts with the fact that in the backyard of a house they find a corpse hanging from a tree. Our main character is involved in the investigation, but it is rather difficult for him to take on him for one simple reason - amnesia. Our hero wakes up on the floor of the hostel undressed, dirty, his head is cracking, bottles of booze and drug residues are everywhere - our detective dabbled in all this in elephant doses and eventually lost his memory. Well, at least he's not dead.
When the game was still in development, the developer described it as a story about a real loser. The most wretched loser who is also a cop. And the exposition shows in the best way possible that despite the pretentious name, the games have remained the same. So, in complete oblivion, we begin work.
You can choose which detective you become. After all, it is in our inflamed mind that the conflict occurs. Our hero has four main characteristics: Intelligence, Spirit, Constitution and Motor skills. And each of them is associated with six skills that constantly lead the inner monologue and reflection of the GG. All of them constantly argue, speak and influence both our inner world and the environment when completing quests. You constantly have to choose what to pump and the most pleasant thing is that for each of your choices there is a reward, one way or another displayed in the form of a quest solution.
If you have high empathy, the voice displayed in the dialog box can tell you not to pressure the suspect, and so you will succeed. On the other hand, a skill that increases your physical strength can always recommend smacking the suspect in the face.
Even when you are talking to people, you discover thoughts that can then enter your brain and develop over time, and make themselves felt later, becoming a new piece of the puzzle. Some of them have a big impact on the mental state of your character, while others are made for fun. And yes, the game has amazing humor.
Controlling these skills affects not only the game, but also your leveling. You earn one more point for pumping for every 100 experience points [and you get them by completing tasks from the list of quests or simply communicating with people, revealing new information]. You will rarely increase the level in the game, but at the same time, you will have to carefully choose what to download.
The upshot of all this skill management is that Disco Elysium is somewhat unique and its closest counterpart, perhaps the outstanding Divinity: Original Sin 2, and even then not quite. Puzzle solving always involves skill checks, which are like a combination of a random die roll and your stats.
The higher the value of the skill you require, the more likely it is to succeed. And this mechanic is used to solve everything: from choosing an option in dialogue, to jumping over the chasm, and even during conflicts.
You are building your “Inner Empire” that David Lynch himself would envy.
Whom you lead from that and type up
The city in which the Revachel game takes place, as well as the area where all the main events of the Martynize game take place - dirty, worn out by poverty, grief and corruption, but at the same time made so aesthetically that you yourself would not mind waking up here after a three-day marathon with drugs.
All the people you meet on your way tell you mostly nasty and disgusting things that are fully justified by the situation. What can I do, this is a city of bastards, although sometimes I caught myself thinking that I was still being loaded with meaningless text. The freedom in Disco Elysium is not limited to just shaping your character. The structure of the passage is quite open and allows you to solve the murder both directly and not. All leave the passage to your taste. The list of tasks is constantly accumulating in your notebook, and you can perform them in any order, but the connection between them is not lost. Completing one task before another can open up entirely new avenues for investigation.
How you complete tasks, solve or prevent crimes depends on your characteristics. If you are physically strong, you will often deal with aggressive situations. But if your character is psychologically developed, you can find more subtle solutions to problems. The main thing is that you can complete the game by creating completely different characters. There is no feeling that by playing a certain role, you are losing some of the content that you would have received in a different playthrough.
It is this and many of the points described above that make Disco Elysium an extremely enjoyable RPG that really focuses on the classics, but does not forget to be yourself and not something parody.
My experience is unique and I am glad that it is. When I wrote about games that have been in development for over 10 years, I was skeptical about the comments of the developers that they were doing something new. But now my doubts are gone. This game gave me the opportunity to beat it playing Dale Cooper from Twin Peaks, and maybe next time I want to be someone more severe.
The Topic of Article: Good / Bad Cop: Disco Elysium Review.