PC game - Disco Elysium

I just finished playing this and I’m still stunned. It’s partly an RPG and partly a detective game. You play an amnesiac police officer trying to figure out who the hanged man is and who hanged him. You also have to figure out your name and why your gun and badge are missing.

The mystery is so complex and the characters are so bizarre that in many cases, I felt like I was playing Twin Peaks: The Game. The otherworldly setting isn’t quite post-apocalyptic, but after a terrible war, the authorities are struggling to keep the cities from falling into anarchy. It’s confusing and long-winded, but it’s the best game I’ve played in a long, long time.

Sounds like “Murdered: Soul Suspect” or going back even further, “Deja Vu”.

I finished it last week and loved it. Closest thing to a pen-and-paper RPG that I’ve played yet.

There’s essentially no combat; it’s virtually all dialogue and various skill checks. Losing a skill check isn’t always a bad thing.

One aspect that I haven’t seen in other computer RPGs is that you really don’t want to just explore every dialogue tree completely. Other characters might look down on you or lock you out of some options if you say something really stupid. You have to be fairly judicious in the choices you make.

My only complaint is that it doesn’t have tremendous replay value. You don’t really feel it as you’re playing it the first time, but some aspects of the game are a bit on rails. I’m about halfway through a second playthrough with a totally different character, and while there are some differences, the major points are the same.

Bumping this because I think more people should play the game.

I played through most of Torment: Tides of Numenera over the holiday. Disco Elysium definitely takes some inspiration from that (and, I presume, Planescape: Torment). In particular, if you liked the [Scan Thoughts] ability, and want even more of that kind of thing, Disco Elysium will be right up your alley. It has several passive abilities that show up in the dialogue, depending on your character build, and you’ll need to use them to ask the right questions. Unlike Torment, and as I noted above, you actually have to be judicious about what you say to the NPCs: ask the wrong thing and you can close off some options. You can’t just recursively explore the tree every time. Gleaning hints from your inner “spidey senses” is thus crucial.

Goddamn this game was GREAT! Very confusing for the first couple of hours when you don’t understand the effects of the various “skills” but the story is amazing. There is zero action, you can play the game entirely with a 2 button mouse, don’t even need a keyboard.

My advice for those who haven’t played it is to go in 100% cold. Don’t read reviews or beginner tips or any of that. The real confusion you feel those first few hours understanding the game world and how it works actually contributes to the immersive ness of the game as your character is basically amnesiac.

Play the game. Don’t read ANYTHING about it. The only disclaimer worth knowing ahead of time is that if you don’t like reading in video games you will hate this. It’s essentially a choose your own adventure book in video game form.

Great to see someone else liking it. Agreed about going into it cold. A friend played a pre-release version at PAX, but once I got the hint that is was something special, I decided to not ask anything about it, so as not to spoil things.

May I ask how many hours you felt it took to beat? I have two weeks off at Xmas, some of which might be free to play something.

20 hours or so? More?

I played Witcher 3 during the summer and it took 60 hours.

I played Planescape: Torment when it was newer and I don’t remember the hours, but it was pretty long I thought.

I had such high hopes for the game. I love complicated RPGs, I love noir, I love good stories, I’m kind of a politics nerd. I thought it’d hit all my sweet spots.

But: I have a severe sad sack allergy.

After a week of feeling like the hour-at-a-time I was playing the game was a slog, I finally uninstalled it, probably not even halfway through. I just couldn’t stand being around the main character.

My playtime says 66 hours, but that’s two playthroughs. Probably the first took a bit longer, so maybe 40 hours starting fresh. I’m a reasonably completionist player, so 20 hours is probably possible if you’re skipping a bunch of stuff. That said, I have 93 hours in Witcher 3 and I’m nowhere close to finished! Maybe you aren’t quite the completionist that I am.

It’s been a while since I played this game— will have to play it again someday— but, besides the obvious David Lynch, Torment, and other references, I just realized that the writers were obviously big fans of Maryanne Amacher, among all the other people.

Are there good cheat sheets/footnotes for the game so that stuff like this is just written down explicitly in case people missed it?

I’d say 60 hours, give or take. If you are a completionist a fair bit more. If you rush…maybe 40 hours.

I’m amazed you did Witcher 3 in 60 hours. I think I was pushing 100. But then I am sort of a completionist (not quite). There were so many side-quests that I had to do lots of them. Some were no big deal but some really had some meat to them. Loads of fun. I still see YouTube videos occasionally showing me something I never saw.

I really, really hope they continue that for Cyberpunk 2077 (they said it would be shorter than Witcher 3…I hope not too much).

FWIW Disco Elysium is amazing. I can’t think of anything quite like it. Not for everyone but if you like this sort of game it is one of the best.

Grabbed a copy of PC Gamer for the first time in ages, on a whim when I was at MicroCenter the other day. It was the 100 must play games issue, and D. E. was #1. It’s on my to-do list. I like the idea of having a game that needs a mouse and two buttons…

I’m waiting for a sale to grab this title. I have so many titles in Steam I’ve never played that I have trouble justifying a new game I have to pay a large sum for.

It’s like having a fridge full of leftovers that are delicious and choosing to get takeout. (Though games are less likely to spoil, admittedly.)

It really is a great game but it certainly is not to everyone’s tastes.

That’s fine and no reason for apology. I don’t like sports games…that’s just me…doesn’t mean they are bad.

DE is great but…weird. If you played something like Planescape: Torment then you you will probably like DE.

I’d recommend watching a playthrough on YouTube. Only for 5-10 minutes or so to see if you would enjoy the game. It wouldn’t spoil very much (a few minutes) so probably worth it.

I’m probably getting this eventually once it goes on sale for cheap (like Atamasama, I have a lot of games that I haven’t played yet, so I really can’t justify paying a lot for new games).

I do have a question, though: do the skills you concentrate on really matter all that much? It seems like people tend to favor some skills over others, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of consensus, which makes me think this is one of those games where what you play counts less than how you play it. Play to your strengths, and downplay your weaknesses and the game will adjust so that you really don’t miss anything needed to complete the game. In other words, play the type of character you want to play. Sure you’ll miss some things, but you’ll see other things that a different character won’t get.

No specific spoilers in here, but since the answer could be seen as a spoiler of sorts:

It doesn’t really matter much in the end. Although you’ll see different dialogue and some minor differences in events, all the main plot points are the same no matter what playstyle you focus on. I played a second time because I hoped to see things that I missed, but it wasn’t really worth it.

I guess this could be seen as a good thing; you can be confident that you aren’t missing significant content by playing the “wrong” character. It just means the game doesn’t have much replay value. That’s fine; it’s still a damn good game.

Your sense is accurate. The skills matter tremendously in a narrative sense, but it’s so different from any other RPG that there’s not really much of a context to place it in. It just doesn’t map to my sense of “gameplay” enough for me to have any idea of what a strength and a weakness even are. You’re really building a character, and your choices matter a ton with respect to who that dude is, and that’s really the game. But they don’t matter much in the sense I think you mean.

You will have a very different experience of the game just in terms of the (extremely, extremely good) writing that you’ll be exposed to, and different character interactions, but you’re ultimately unraveling the same mystery. I would hate to give you any examples because like others have said, any spoilers are a crime because the narrative is the whole point.