Pleasant depression. Disco Elysium Review

White mourning

In 2013, the novel “Sacred and Terrible Scent” was released, which tells the story of three men who continue to search for their missing classmates twenty years ago. The novel received positive reviews from critics, and literary critic Joanna Ross noted the successful combination of science fiction with “conventional literature.” However, the book failed, and its circulation was about 1000 copies. This circumstance plunged the author of the book, Robert Kurwitz, into a deep depression, followed, subsequently, by alcoholism.

In order to wrest Kurvitz out of the endless binge, the writer KaurKender, who helped Kurvitz write the book, and whom Kurvitz himself pulled out of the binge, suggested creating a game. He also offered to join the project of the artist Alexander Rostov, who created illustrations for the novel by Kurvits.

After some time, Kurvitz sketched out a plan for a future project. The game was supposed to combine Dungeons &Dragons(Shadow Blade 5e) and 1970s police series, to be a role-playing game in the spirit of Baldurs Gate, with a reactive storyline and a deep strategic combat system. Also, the game was supposed to warn players about the dangers of alcoholism.

In October 2019, the game was released on the Epic Games Store and caused quite a stir among both gamers and game reviewers, receiving a huge amount of positive reviews. A year later, the temporary exclusivity for the epic launcher ended and the project appeared on Steam. On March 30, an updated edition of the game was released, in which several cut quests were returned, a couple of locations, animations, sound effects were added, and dubbing was added for all lines. The project is called Disco Elysium.


Disco Elysium is based on standard RPG. You have a character with a bunch of attributes and skills, equipment that affects these characteristics. There are quests, the completion of which brings the character experience points and increases his level. Gameplay, before us is a classic RPG. We walk around the world, talk with characters and interact with various objects of this world, thereby discovering it for ourselves. It turns out that there is no strategic combat system in the gameEldritch Blast 5e, as well as teams. Moreover, the number of combat encounters in the game can be counted on the finger of one hand. There is no action in it. All there is in the game is conversations and constant tests of the hero’s skills.

However, everything related to conversations and role-playing is done very well in the game. Let’s start with the fact that there are two types of checks in the game, the successful completion of which allows you to either open a new thread of dialogue or perform an action: raise the barbell, or fix the crane. The first type ( * red checks ) can be attempted only once per game. The second type ( * white checks) you can try again if it fails. Only for this you will need to increase the skill being tested. The successful completion of the check is influenced by the attributes of the character and his skills. The higher the value of a character’s skill, the higher the likelihood of a successful check of this skill in dialogue. You can increase the character’s skills both with the help of ordinary pumping – by investing development points in them, and with the help of various clothes that the hero finds in the course of the story. At the same time, clothes can both increase the indicator of one of the skills, and at the same time subtract the indicator of any other skill. Thanks to this, you often have to go into the inventory and change the hero’s clothes in various clothes in order to successfully pass the test of one skill or another in a conversation.

Also, skills can be improved by studying various thoughts that come into the hero’s head from everywhere. Conversations with characters, interaction with objects, successful or unsuccessful passing of checks, and even internal dialogues with himself – generate various ideas in the hero’s head that take time for thinking and occupying a slot in the study of thoughts. The number of initially available slots is 6 ( * at normal difficulty level ). You can expand the cabinet to 12 slots by unlocking them with the help of skill points received by the hero when leveling up.

Each thought has both a temporary effect, which manifests itself only in the process of studying it, and a permanent effect – obtained after studying and accepting the thought. The effects of thoughts range from the trivial influence on the hero’s skills, to the discovery of all the “Firebolt 5e” white checks in the game world.

Eat, hate, control

There are many mysteries in the world, the best minds of our world have been struggling to solve for more than a dozen years. One of these mysteries is the human brain. How does he work? How does he think? What is thought in general and what is consciousness? How do thoughts and consciousness itself arise? These and many other questions still occupy the bright heads of the scientific community. However, some progress in this direction has taken place.

In the 1960s, the American neurophysiologist Paul McLean introduced the concept of the triune brain, according to which there are three centers of mental activity in the brain, each of which reacts in its own way to events.

Important note: this concept has been rejected by neurologists because it has not found confirmation in evolutionary and experimental neuroscience.

The reptilian brain is the oldest and has a fundamental impact on human behavior, it is he who is responsible for instincts as written in F95Zone. The limbic system is responsible for emotions and mood swings. The neocortex is the youngest part of the brain, and is divided into lobes, each of which is responsible for different bodily functions. Some lobes are responsible for social skills, others for the perception of the world, and others for processing information and making inferences.

Also, in psychology, there is a concept of internal dialogue. According to him, there is continuous communication with oneself inside a person. On the basis of this dialogue, a person makes various decisions in various life situations and circumstances (* this is, to put it in a very simplified way).

And it was the models of internal dialogue and the concept of the triune brain that the authors of the game took as the basis of the system of character characteristics.

It is based on four characteristics: intelligence, psyche, physique, motor skills. The higher the indicator of any of the characteristics, the higher the level you can develop skills tied to the characteristics. In total, there are 24 skills, which are not just numerical indicators, but individuals who constantly interfere with the conversation of the protagonist with someone, suggesting solutions to the hero, commenting on his actions and the information he receives from other people’s lips, often tempting to “throw” something. something. The likelihood of their intervention and the correct hint directly depends on the level of pumping these skills and the dropped numbers on the edges of the virtual dice ( * yes, even here there are checks). The implementation of internal dialogue, coupled with the locker of thoughts, became the feature that distinguishes Disco Elysium from the general background of indie games.

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