Disco Elysium The Final Cut
A Modern Point-And-Click Classic
From the late 80s to well into the 90s, gamers couldn't exist without a new point-and-click game announced for the PC. Developers like Sierra Entertainment and Lucas Arts thrived on games that allowed players to have freedom of choice. This freedom wasn't without consequence, as some of gaming's infamous scenes resulted from poor decisions. From going into space without a spacesuit to touching a button the player wasn't supposed to, the joy was finding out the extent of what the game allowed you to do. With the release of Disco Elysium, ZA/UM attempted to bring back the insanity that players could achieve in the genre's heyday.
There isn't a "right" way to play the game but it seems like there are many wrong ways to go about your journey. While answering boldly won't completely result in an unwinnable situation, it can make simple solutions problematic. There are instances where the player can give into their hedonism or try their hardest to be a "good" cop. At the very least, as "good" as a cop who spent three nights, depressed-drinking can get. From its engaging story, unique premise, and stellar world-building the original Disco Elysium received acclaim unknown to an indie dev. Its praise allowed ZA/UM to release a "definitive version" known as The Final Cut with new dialogue and fully voiced characters.
Raphaël Ambrosius Costeau Of Disco Elysium, At Your Service
The player finds themselves in an internal monologue featuring nonsensical lines of dialogue, encouraging the player to "submit." While it's all insanity, it sets the tone for the rest of Disco Elysium. The player's consciousness is telling them to awaken and despite the player's best efforts, they will eventually awaken. Cue the player awakening in nothing more than their underwear, clothes everywhere, and shattered windows. Directly in front of them is an empty bottle which more than paints the picture. The protagonist had just finished their three-day drinking binge and have no memories of anything about who they are.
The game is a point-and-click adventure where highlighting points of interest will begin the examination process. Players, for example early on, can identify a mirror that will reveal their face. This changes how the game register's their portrait from a shrouded image to "the expression." Depending on the stat distribution at the beginning of the game (or choosing between three premade classes), players will come across several checks early on.
The Greatest RIval (And Ally) Is Yourself
About 90% of the dialogue in Disco Elysium is within yourself, separated by different sections of your mind. The Psyche, Intellect, Physique, and Motorics. I decided to pick one of the existing archetypes, going for the "Sensitive" build consisting of high Psyche and Physique but low Intellect. This left the internalized monologues less open for interpretation and more insightful than usual, focusing on a cop's intuition. Alternatively, players can become a mindless brute, answering every action with violence. Regardless, these checks are determined by a player's stats and their modifiers. Some checks are more difficult than others as the tougher the check the greater the consequences.
As I mentioned earlier, there is no right way to play Disco Elysium and the conversations within your head will tell you so. Whether it's terrible advice or sound advice, most of your reasoning comes from your fractured mind. The best that the player can do is, respectfully, "mess around and find out." There are glaring obvious choices that may hinder progress at best and issue a game over at worst. How would the player know unless they tried? Perhaps to balance the potential craziness the player engages in, their partner Kim serves to cushion the blow as the game's "straight-man."
Disco Elysium Is A "Mess Around And Find Out" Masterpiece
While Disco Elysium's hero is a downtrodden detective in the case of a murder mystery, the protagonist's personality is all dependent on the player themselves. Does the player wish to be a good cop or a bad cop? A man embracing sobriety or one who goes deeper down the depression rabbit hole? The player's fate is left in their own hands, with both sides internally making valid points. I suspect over my time playing this game, I'll understand what it feels like to be in the shoes of a mentally disturbed man trying his best. I'll also begin to understand the difficulty in ignoring vices as they present themselves. Overall, Disco Elysium has earned its praise in exploring the inner workings of the mind for a reason, the Final Cut being no different.
Disco Elysium Final Cut is now available on the PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S