4th Jan, 2023
Moving on from Planescape, disco elysium might seem a weird choice, since it's pretty much in a world that's quite far from fantastical and not at all based on DnD. However at a closer glance you will find that this game is not only inspired by Planescape it's pretty much the best homage to it and it's the only game that can hold a candle to it. I still very much prefer Planescape, however I can respect Disco Elysium and enjoyed playing it very much. I got the same feeling playing both games, with both of them paying close attention to your intention in the game rather than the actual mechanics.
As with pretty much all isometric games, this one too is based on dice rolls. Pretty much any action that has a chance of failing is governed by your skill represented with a modifier to a roll of 2d6s. The skills are divided among 4 attributes, Intellect which represents your mental acuity, Psyche which generally represents your inner voice and creativity, Physique obviously governing your physical raw physical strength and Motorics which represents your fine control movements. You are limited to choosing 8 points to put into your attributes, with each point increasing all skill under the attribute, however it also increases your maximum skill level, with it being twice the number of points in the attribute. At the start of the game you can also put a focus to a single skill, increasing it and its maximum by 1. The skills themselves are fascinating, with some of them being extremely useful to a detective such as Shivers, which is basically your instincts and 6th sense, while others such as Inland Empire, which pretty much governs your inner thoughts and dreams aren't as useful and are sometimes downright making the game harder, however they still add plenty to the story and you don't really need to succeed in most challenges to complete the game, you just might get a different scenario/ending if you do it your way. There is no wrong way to play the game.
Again this is what should drive you to play this game. You start the game, waking up after a three day alcohol binge, naked on the floor, with a trashed apartment and a somewhat cheery song playing in the background. Soon you get your one and only companion while also getting the what and the why of you being here. It soon becomes obvious you don't remember who you are, where you are, what you're doing here and most distressingly even the current year. However the most interesting characters, in my opinion, in this game are introduced at the start and they're simply your Reptilian brain and your limbic system. Yeah you can talk to your body parts while you're unconscious, that's not at all weird is it ? No more weird than being an immortal moseying through a city of doors in the center of existence. Your conversations tend to vary from them warning you not to try to remember who you are, since that's the reason you drank as much as you did, to scolding you for damaging your own body beyond repair, to even certain parts, trying to convince you to take more drugs and go back to a stupor. One of the most interesting skills in this aspect is the Electro-Chemistry, which is basically the “Party” skill, it tries to get you to take drugs and even forces you into them if you put too many points into it. The same is true of most psyche skills, with inland empire making you an airheaded detective with your head constantly in the clouds, daydreaming the day away, or Authority making you assert yourself over others and show them that youre “THE LAW”. If you at all enjoyed role playing games you should pick this one up as i believe it's one of the few shining gems of the last decade. Its probably going to grip you and not let you got till you finish it, maybe even a couple of times.
All in all i think this is one of the most interesting games and even more surprisingly a love letter to role playing games everywhere, first and foremost Planescape. A true master piece that i wholeheartedly recommend to anyone who has a few hours to play it.