When a lot of game developers describe their games as RPGs, the role-playing part of that acronym is usually pretty minimal. You might be able to make a few choices about what to do here and there, but most games don’t let you fundamentally shape who your character is beyond a certain scope.

Disco Elysium feels like you let a 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons DM who got into the game from narrative-heavy podcasts make a video game, and the result is incredibly freeing. You play a police officer who has gone on such an intense drinking binge that he doesn’t remember a thing about himself, but has to go and solve a murder regardless.

The player gets to shape everything about who the character is through points allocated to parts of the character’s personality, which unlocks better odds at completing tasks, but also shape how the character acts. Drama as a skill, for example, might make you better at detecting lies, but also more prone to lying for no reason even when it’ll cause you problems. Internalizing the idea that maybe you’re actually a celebrity rock star might increase your odds of confidently bluffing, but you’ll also lose logic points because that’s a ridiculous thing for this character to think.

The sheer scope of ways to play your character, as well as the game’s commitment to letting you play through failure in amusing ways, makes Disco Elysium a must-play experience.



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