Platform: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Stadia, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Windows PC (Reviewed)
Release Date: 30 March 2021
Price: $39.99 USD/$55.95 AUD – Available Here
As the name implies Disco Elysium: The Final Cut is the version of the gritty psychological detective game the developers envisioned. Some content has been rescued from the cutting room floor, and some are new to game. Players will be able to enjoy full voice acting, new side quests, console support, and some smaller quality of life features. While the game is out on consoles for the first time, PC players who already own the original game will get a free upgrade.
Disco Elysium: The Final Cut has an interesting take on character development. Instead of emphasizing the interaction between characters, the game focusing heavily on the player moulding their character. The format works well as the player character is a completely blank slate after waking up with amnesia due to a hard night of drinking. The inner dialogue is where players will establish their character’s personality and world view. The inner dialogue is interesting and provides players a lot of options that breaks out of the standard binary of good and bad moral decisions. Instead, it’s a good mix of moral, social, and political outlooks on life.
The lore is excellent. It is an incredibly rich world, and the developers take every opportunity to let players learn about the bleak world of Revalchol. The sheer volume can be a little intense, but almost all of it is optional for those who prefer to focus on the story.
Disco Elysium: Final Cut is an RPG that is reminiscent of low to no combat tabletop RPGs. It’s a refreshing break from the standard RPG convention where players are generally expected to hack and slash their way through the world with social interaction and diplomacy as an afterthought or an occasional alternative. Having players punch their way through is a perfectly valid tactic, but there’s no combat system in sight. Instead, everything works on a skill check system where players roll dice with their bonuses and penalties to see the result. The game is extremely clear about the percent chance of success, which is helpful for those of us who just can’t do math on the fly.
The skill system is excellent. To start off, players can choose one of three pre-made personalities representing a set of skills or create their own. Skills are categorized under four ability types corresponding to four main approaches players can take to solve problems in game. Equipment and the Thought Cabinet can offer additional skill buffs and penalties, which can help bridge the gap for players struggling with certain rolls. Everything is well organized, and the skills chosen for checks are usually appropriate for the context. The only downside is the sheer number of skills can be a little overwhelming at times, especially in the beginning.
Disco Elysium: The Final Cut handles time in an innovative manner. The game puts a time pressure on the player as it is set over the span of multiple days. As characters only have a limited number of hours in a day to conduct their investigation, players do have to prioritize what side quests they feel is worth their time investigating; however, time only moves forward when the player interacts with someone. The mechanic gives players the freedom to run around town for as long as they need without worrying about becoming lost or preventing them from experimenting with ways to enter inaccessible areas.
The mission design is strong. All missions have a variety of solutions, and some solutions are incredibly crafty. There are also a ton of side missions to keep players busy. It feels like there’s too many side missions for most players to tackle on their first playthrough; but between the number of side missions and the branching storylines, there’s plenty of reasons for players to play a second run through. My only gripe is it isn’t always clear which missions can can’t be completed on that day. Some are marked with a clock icon, while others are not.
The controls are excellent. Fans of point and click adventures and isometric RPGs will be right at home. The developers added a key to highlight all interactable objects which is a necessary quality of life feature considering there are a lot of points of interest. The new version introduced controller support as the game is now on consoles. While the genre is better suited for the accuracy of mouse and keyboard, the controller support is an excellent attempt at a tricky situation. I frankly couldn’t come up with a more efficient system if I tried.
The developers have done an excellent job with Disco Elysium: The Final Cut’s visual style. The world is a beautiful mix of a painting aesthetic and with a slightly more realistic touch. When it comes to load screens and character portraits, the developers fully commit to the painting aesthetic. The result is a visually distinct style that contrasts nicely with the rundown environment of Revachol.
The game offers a solid soundtrack. It’s generally low key and moody, complimenting the investigation nicely. Yet when necessary, the composer does a good job picking up the pace without going overboard. The voice acting is the real star of the show, as it’s addition is one of the main features of The Final Cut. Without a doubt, the voice acting was worth the wait. The actors are almost all solid, and the actor who plays the player character’s inner voice is absolutely fantastic. The voice acting really takes the game to a whole new level.
Disco Elysium: The Final Cut is clearly the game the developers wanted to release, and I’m thrilled to see they finally had the chance to do it. The game offers excellent storytelling, novel character development, and an excellent non to low combat option for people looking for something out of the ordinary. Combined with the fantastic new voice acting, Disco Elysium: The Final Cut sets a new bar for expanded versions of games.
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