10 Reasons Why Disco Elysium Is Good

Reasons why Disco Elysium is good
Don't these guys just look like the crowd you want to hang with?

Disco Elysium is an indie RPG created by ZA/UM Studio. Despite its status as an independent game, Disco Elysium did not fly under the radar at all. Released in 2019, it has received four The Game awards and three BAFTAs, and Metacritic awarded it a 91% rating. Clearly, the people love it - but what makes Disco Elysium so great? Here are 10 reasons:


10. Unparalleled Voice Acting

Dizzy DROS, the Moroccan voice actor for Measurehead

If you read any Disco Elysium reviews at all, you probably noticed that most of them mention the voice acting. This article is no exception because the acting in the game is truly something else.

For example, picking Mikee Goodman, a metal musician, to voice several aspects of your consciousness was a bold yet rewarding choice. In the opening of the game, listen to the croaky voice of your Ancient Reptilian Brain and compare it to the grating talk of your Limbic System. I bet you wouldn’t guess that both of those voices belong to Goodman. I know I didn’t before I looked it up.

Apart from Goodman, Disco Elysium has a large cast of voice actors from various backgrounds. I personally enjoy the variety of accents the cast brings with them, from the French cadence of Kim Kitsuragi (voiced by Jullian Champenois) to the Moroccan intonations of Measurehead (voiced by Dizzy DROS). The actors’ diversity and talent really bring the manifold society of Revachol to life.


9. Breathtaking Art Style

Isn't this just stunning?

Disco Elysium’s art jumps out at you as soon as you open the loading screen. The painting-like style isn’t typical for a video game of the RPG genre, and that’s exactly why this stylistic choice is so effective. It’s simultaneously dreamlike and realistic – just like the story the game tells.

Thanks to the art director Aleksander Rostov, the game is incredibly aesthetically and visually pleasing. It trades photorealism for the feelings the visuals evoke, which is a needed distinction in the current video game trends. The art helps you immerse yourself in the world of Revachol, so similar yet so different from our own.

Disco Elysium has outstanding attention to detail, and its art is no exception. You can see the cracks in the asphalt and the discolored floor tiles. Every time you enter a new location, it is worth stopping for a second to just take in the meticulously crafted scene.


8. Engaging Interactivity

All those shiny orbs? Yeah, those just scream "interact with me!"

Disco Elysium is not only about reading. The murder mystery the story revolves around is sure to engage your puzzle-solving brain. The game doesn’t simply lead you through the entire investigation; it is up to you to put the pieces together and get to the bottom of the case.

With the visuals, the music, and tons and tons of text, it would’ve been very easy for Disco Elysium to feel simply like an interactive book rather than a video game. Fortunately, there are riddles to crack around every corner, mechanics to explore, and skill points to carefully invest. It wouldn’t be as exciting without the risk of failure.


7. Rich Lore

Look at how much is going on here - you don't want to miss all that sweet lore!

Lore is what Disco Elysium is about. Clearly, the creators put a lot of thought into the world they built, with every minute detail telling a part of the story.

At the start of the game, the main character wakes up having forgotten everything, and you get to explore the world – and yourself – with him. There is no cognitive disconnect between a player who knows nothing and the character who knows everything, which makes picking up those little clues so much more engaging.

The lore is not limited to the history and the politics of Revachol; Disco Elysium has layers. No detail is too small in the game’s detail-ridden world. You learn something new about the universe in every conversation you have with an NPC, every thought you have, and every book you read.


6. Transcendent Soundtrack

This image is pretty much what the music sounds like. Sorta.

If the 2020 BAFTA Games Award for Music is any indication, Disco Elysium soundtrack is really, really good. Composed by the alternative rock band British Sea Power (currently known as Sea Power), the OST seems to have a track for every possible character and situation in the game.

In my opinion, the great thing about the music is that it is completely non-imposing. Sometimes you wouldn’t even realize the music was playing in the background. It is so subtle, and it weaves itself into the story perfectly.

It’s hard to tell that an alt-rock band wrote over three hours of diverse noir-esque music. Having listened to Sea Power’s other music, it became very clear that their creative range deserves a BAFTA.


5. Multidimensional Characters

So many characters, and all of them well-written!

You are playing as a detective who drank so much the night before that he can’t remember anything. It is clear from the get-go that the game will dedicate a lot of time to unraveling his complicated past. Don’t let the complexity of the main character satisfy you right away, though. Every character in the game has layers and layers of backstory to offer, from a lorry driver stranded in a days-long traffic jam to your own partner Kim Kitsuragi.

Most of the NPCs offer quite a bit of dialogue, so there is a chance to get to know each of them better. In my opinion, it is definitely worth it; every character is very well thought through, and their stories are genuinely interesting to learn.

As I mentioned above, Disco Elysium is all about the lore, and every character fits perfectly within the overall narrative. There are characters that are morally questionable and those who are pure of heart, and all of them are unique in design. Coupled with out-of-this-world voice acting, every NPC you meet seems real.


4. Fantastic Roleplay Setup

You can be whoever you want to be. Even the stylish hipster in this picture.

Even though you play a specific character, you control what kind of person he is. Is he a genius cop? A good-for-nothing loser? A dumb brute? You decide, from the second you choose your skills to every dialogue option you pick.

In a sense, every new playthrough is a blank canvas for you to paint your character on. Depending on who you roleplay as, your choices will lead you down new and unexplored paths every time.

Check out my article on the best beginner builds to see some fun character options you can roleplay as.


3. Unique Game Mechanics

Let the fate decide your life with a roll of the dice.

Disco Elysium’s game mechanics are unlike anything you have ever seen before. The skill system consisting of 24 skills can seem overwhelming at first, but once you get the hang of it, the genius of the system becomes clear.

If you have ever played Dungeons & Dragons, you would immediately get that old-school tabletop RPG vibe from the game. The dice rolls determining event outcomes especially bring the tabletop association to mind. It might seem unconventional and a little uncomfortable, but the randomness of the game is, in part, what makes it so great.


2. Unpredictable Replayability

Didn't get to use your gun last time you played? Well, there is always the next time. And the next time. And the next time.

Disco Elysium's completion time is estimated differently by different sources. HowLongToBeat shows an average play time of around 22 hours, with completionist runs averaging around 45 hours. However, what those numbers don’t take into account is all the replay potential that Disco Elysium has.

Simply put, there is no way to see all of the outcomes of the game on the first playthrough, even if you grind for more than 60 hours. You will fail some checks. One chosen dialogue option can close an entire quest line. One completed quest can lock another. Every little detail changes the gameplay: the skills you pick and upgrade, the clothes you wear, the drugs you take. One playthrough will simply not suffice, and every next run will be different from the previous one.

Since event outcomes are decided by your choices and dice rolls, Disco Elysium is completely unpredictable. The very first check you complete is a Savoir-Faire check to see if you can get your necktie off a ceiling fan, which means that when you start a new game, you don't even know if you'll have your tie for the rest of it. Such a seemingly minor detail could influence the rest of your run, making it different from your other playthroughs.


1. Outstanding Story

Disco Elysium is all about getting to know Kim Kitsuragi. Well, and the great big story around him, too.

All the other points in this article wouldn’t make Disco Elysium great; what carries the whole game is the story at its heart.

The amount of reading needed to play the game frequently puts players off it, but it is so well-written that once you start, you can’t stop. There is so much to learn, so many mysteries to unravel, and so many dialogue paths to go down that it is simply impossible to get enough of it.

Even if you are not a big reader, I guarantee you will pick every last dialogue option to get to know a character before your first hour of playing is done.


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A big fan of story-driven games with a special place in my heart for good horror titles.
Gamer Since: 2009
Favorite Genre: RPG
Top 3 Favorite Games:Resident Evil 4 Ultimate HD, Outlast, Undertale

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