Disco Elysium (2019) - Detective RPG

You can make a lot of progress through the game before getting the body down. Don’t let that stop you.

There’s even an achievement for finishing the game without getting it down.

I think part of the ‘main story’ is that you are a pathetic detective that left the body hanging more time than you should. I’m not even sure you can get it down the moment you find it.

I watched the entire documentary incl. the unedited interviews - very interesting! And yeah, both the CEO and executive producer appear to have done some shady things, but whether illegal, courts will have to decide. And at the same time Kurvitz was probably pretty often quite unpleasant to work under, the reaction of Argo Tuulik to Kurvitz’s attempt to become lead again, “nobody wanted that” speaks volumes - Argo is Kurvitz’s friend of 20 years! Or used to be.
And Kurvitz’s statement where he ignores the specific claims to defend himself with the ridiculous “I am a communist and a writer” spiel is just hilarious…sly bad.

Anyway, it did make me want to finally play it (I have owned it since day of release, bought it full price, but never really was in the mood for such text heavy game, much like Rock8man). I installed it and immediately noticed that camera movement when moving with my character is super stuttery despite the game running at stable 60fps.

Apparently this is some Unity issue the developers never noticed/bothered to fix, so I found a solution on resetera, which is to switch windows desktop to 50hz, because at 50 the game actually runs properly (it uses borderless fullscreen only).
Kinda ridiculous, but at least I can play it now.

You can, with certain stats (and of course a bit of luck).

I never noticed the stuttering, either when I played it on my desktop or the couple of times I fired it up on the deck (without making much progress…I don’t know if this is a game I’ll ever really replay).

Best CRPG in a long time. Ignore everyone who says it’s a visual novel. They don’t know what they are talking about.

(It’s kind of a visual novel, but that’s ok. It’s not anime. [thank god])

Although as I think on it, I don’t really play visual novels, but the examples I have been exposed to didn’t have stats influencing the outcomes of things, just choices. Do they ever? If not, I reluctantly concede that it’s more CRPG than visual novel, given the hoary history of “role-playing” being numbers-influenced.

It’s an CRPG without “combat” which confuses people. And yet their are intense boss battles and you can still totally “die.” Even within the first minute of the game!

The “reputation” system is world-class. And moreover the Thought Cabinet is pure genius. The game reacts to your choices in profound ways, and knowledge gained gives you bonuses to skill checks!

It uses a 2D6 dice system where “snake eyes” is always a critical failure and “boxcars” are a critical success. And You’ll be rolling those dice in nearly every single encounter, often multiple times, based on your “skills”.

And your skills are…incredibly impactful. Your most dominant skills make their presence known. They basically become your most loyal companions.

It’s way more of an RPG then a great many other games that claim to be. And easily one of the best I’ve encountered in 20 years.

Calling it a visual novel is reductive and stupid. If it was reduced to just a visual novel, I wouldn’t bother even playing it!

Tequila Sunset says cheers!

I think it’s a little bit of a stretch to call the Tribunal a boss battle, and I’m struggling to think of any other encounter that comes even as close.

I thought it was really hit or miss in practice (and more miss than hit, really), but it certainly is an interesting idea.

It certainly does let you play a role far more than most so-called roleplaying games, and it’s easily one of my favorite games of all time.

I would certainly consider it one. I would also consider the first Evrart encounter, Klaasje’s interrogation, and the confrontation with Ruby to be boss battles, for all intents and purposes.

Yeah I like the Though Cabinet but there’s a big gulf between the thoughts that add new dialog and the ones that just adjust stats. I wish they all gave you new conversation options.

From a pure gameplay perspective it’s not balanced at all. Most of the thoughts just have trivial stat changes but there are some overpowered whoppers. I know balance wasn’t a concern for the devs – this system is mostly for roleplaying flavor – but it does mean some builds will have an easier time than others (like the “Art Cop” thought gives you a massive 30-40 more skill points to play with).


I mean, they are climactic sequences of dice-based “combat”, where death is sometimes a potential outcome of failure.

Yes. Exactly.

There are multiple boss battles, which I think are very clear, in this game where you can fail and die. This is outside of the other random stuff where you can also fail and die.

And, good god are people actually complaining about “balance” in a single-player RPG!

Viable is never enough, you must be optimal or die!

The one that always really stresses me out is having to break the news to the woman that her husband had died. Each failed check on that one is heart-wrenching.

I’m not complaining, I’m just saying I can see how the thought cabinet doesn’t work for some people. I don’t think it’s intentional that some thoughts/copotypes can change the game’s difficulty, but like I said, I get that it wasn’t really top of mind for the developer.

I like picking apart the mechanics of games I enjoy.

For varying degrees of loyal. They can give you plenty of bad advice, because that’s how the brain works.

I feel the “Most Loyal Companion” nod has to go to one Lt. Kim Kitsuragi.

Well, since I didn’t say anything when I got around to playing it earlier this year, the game got me to greatly respect the positions of a centrist (Kim) and a disillusioned social democrat (Joyce, just read into what she says) for how and why they believe what they do, while nudging me in the direction of keep trying to be less judgemental (as far as I recall, outside of the Evrarts, the Machine, and the Mercs - even then humanized - there’s just a big tapestry of humans trying to get by), so it’s definitely doing something uniquely artful.

Kim is such a great character. He manages to give the player a direction as to how to handle and process different situations while letting players behave as wildly as they want, and still remaining a believable character. Couldn’t have been an easy needle to thread.

It’s really funny to me that a self-described communist writer managed to write a story where everyone is constantly talking and arguing about their political ideologies, but it’s all just a lot of hot air that doesn’t matter and makes no difference to anything.

Yes, Dialectical Materialism: The Videogame. It matters because it matters to how characters see themselves, the world, and their place in it, which you can then use to inform your interpretation the real world as well. Or not, it’s up to you, other than making fun of supremacists, it doesn’t pretend to have answers.