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Disco Elysium spoilery thread

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by Prime Junta, Oct 19, 2019.

  1. ItsChon Resident Zoomer Patron

    ItsChon
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    Alright losers, how's this for a suggestion. Why not remove the island from the successful Visual Calculus check-in Klaasje's room? This has double reactivity because if you arrest Klaasje, you'll never get to see the red thread she leaves for you, which means that you never find the killer and you're removed from the force as a disgraced cop? The dev team could have also included multiple different checks to try and force the information from Klaasje in a desperate attempt to stop you from arresting her (if the devs didn't want to make not arresting Klaasje the only way to get a semi-decent ending), and this could be a good way to include both Int and Phys checks in the game with like a tortured kind of check (could also give further reactivity with Kim) or trying to convince her of a plea deal or something along those lines). I'd argue that this increases reactivity/C&C, as well as provides a very reasonable explanation as to the whole island thing, in that you wouldn't know about the island until later, and the devs should indeed add a dialogue option to ask Joyce and have her shoot you down (net-picker's boat is being tarred so it's unusable).

    As for people that have complaints regarding the deserter, I'd say that they're making a fair point, but I kind of liked the out of the blue deserter doing the killing. From a literary point of view, it serves as a great metaphor for the game. The fact that all this bloodshed and violence was all because of some random deserter killing a (relatively) innocent person for a failed ideology and for succumbing to jealousy, it's kind of poetic. It really gives us some sort of insight into why Harry went to shit. 18 years of being on the force, seeing all this bullshit in the failed world around him, compounded with the fact that the one thing that he truly loved and was beautiful in his otherwise shit life, it'd be enough to push anyone over the edge. That's what makes meeting the Phasmid and being readmitted back into the force so cathartic, and sets up a sequel so well. I do think that they should make the Phasmid a little harder to get too, but regardless, still great.

    I don't have too much of a problem with getting shot, and one or two of the Unionists dying, as it's necessary to set up the increased tensions in Martinaise which I think will be the premise of the sequel.

    What do y'all think of these suggestions?
     
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  2. toro Arcane

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    Removing the island from the Visual Calculus skill check would only make the end trip even more "surprising". It would not improve things.

    The only thing which can fix the game is to integrate the island and the deserter in the main story in such a way that the end game feels less of a cop out.

    Also there is nothing poetic about the ending. Honestly I don't want to think about it because I will start to hate the game and I don't want that.
     
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  3. ItsChon Resident Zoomer Patron

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    Really comes down to how much you hate the surprise/"cop-out" ending. I treated the game as more of an RPG versus a detective game where it's possible to solve the mystery if I'm super smart. The game is much better if you treat it as a story.
     
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  4. toro Arcane

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    I played the game using the available in-game mechanics.

    If you need to play the game in a certain way in order to be able to enjoy it then the game designer failed.
     
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  5. Theophrastus Novice

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    This is a bit of a crosspost from my post in the main thread. I don't think the ending with the Deserter is a cop out.

    To be honest, the first time round the killer took me off guard. I wasn't able to establish a motive nor arrest him. It didn't help that I was with Cuno. But on my second playthrough I began to realise that the Deserter was always there, even though he's defined as much as through his absence as through his presence. The secret passage and the prints which don't match anyone else's (including Ruby's), the bullet being from an antiquated gun, the little bunkers / hiding spots you find, the old cigarettes, the flowers which are left for Klaasje, the ballistics which point towards the island. Although the game leads you believe it's probably Ruby, as much evidence (even more imo) points towards another figure. Finding all this evidence on the second time round made for the finale to be much more satisfying. The conversation with the Deserter went from being short and disappointing to one of the longest pieces of dialogue in the game. All the suspects ending up as red herrings is a common trope in noir so I think its unfair for people to treat it as a betrayal or lazy. I feel like it has a lot of significance regarding the game as a whole but I haven't really thought this aspect through enough.


    What I think should be criticised is the railroading which almost suffocates the end of the game.

    On my first play-through I got to Ruby on Day 5, which I also expected to be the day of the Tribunal because of an Inland Empire bit with Joyce which says you only have 5 days. I let her get away after interviewing her because I had dogshit FYS and couldn't pass any of the checks to stop her. I then go to the Tribunal without my gun because I couldn't find out where the old fishmarket is. Even though I pass most of the dialogue checks since I don't have a gun everyone gets slaughtered and Kim is sent to the hospital. I end up with Cuno, leading to no one believing me about the Phasmid and my dismissal from the force. I thought damn I really fucked that up. On my second play-through I set out to rectify some of my failures, only to find out they weren't failures at all. The game literally forces you fail or locks you out of some choices. Since the Inland Empire check told me I have 5 days I try and get to Ruby, with my gun, by Day 4. Since in my first encounter with Ruby I was told I wasn't "really sneaking" (or being quiet, I'm paraphrasing here) this time round I try and do my best to approach Ruby stealthfully. I equip the merc boots (when checking out the pier you're told its good that you have them equipped because they're the lightest footwear or something) and make sure I walk and not run within the FELD building. First time round I don't open the door for Kim because that's obviously loud. Instantly killed. Okay, I open the door for Kim but make sure I walk there and have my gun equipped. This time I'll have the surprise and hopefully be able to arrest her. Nope. No matter what you do she knows you're coming. You can either let her get away or let her kill herself. Disappointing, but I continue hoping that since it's the 4th day and its my only remaining lead I can go to the island. I spoke to the lady the day before and she said it'll take a day or two to fix the boat. Maybe it'll be ready? Nope. Turns out the Inland Empire dialogue regarding the Tribunal is bullshit. It triggers once you find Ruby, not on a certain day. I go through the tribunal and although I immediately shoot the head merc and dodge the first shot 4 of the Hardie boys still die. I was glad I averted a massacre but thought there still must be a way to avoid the Hardie boys being killed. If Ruby kills herself maybe you can use both guns to kill more of the mercs immediately? Nope. Nothing changes. Also, turns out the second dodge check is impossible to succeed.

    It would have been much better had the developers made it so the Tribunal was locked to a certain day rather than instantly happening once you find Ruby. Currently it can be triggered by the 3rd day, effectively ending the game way earlier for some people. Two things would happen if it was tied to a day rather than Ruby. There would be a greater sense of success. Going through all the motions on another playthrough to ensure that you get to Ruby before the Tribunal starts. You're allowed to go to the island and bring the Deserter (or not) to the Tribunal. This wouldn't necessarily solve things. In the back of my mind, when I still thought this was a possibility, I also thought there was a good chance they'd just shoot the Deserter and still want to kill everyone else because they lynched Lely. I'd find that a lot more satisfying than being locked out of going to the island. It would also create a greater chance of failure. You don't do any of the things you're meant to and end up with everyone killed without ever reaching Ruby. Now that would be a fuck up of an ending.

    The game leads you on so much regarding choice and freedom that the eventual railroading feels like a betrayal. This is where the novelist / artist background of the developers hurts the game. Because in the end the story they specifically want to tell overrides the possibilities they presented and hinted at in the game. If you're presenting a narrative through the format of a game, particularly that of an RPG, you have to sacrifice some of your narrative vision to the possibilities you present within the game. Either don't suggest / allow for the possibility of something happening (definitely the weaker of the options), or allow some variation in the story.

    Although the developers have been awfully quiet since the release (come on, no patch notes?) I hope there will be an update / DLC / definitive edition. God knows its in a much better state than Divinity, Pathfinder or PoE2 were on release.
     
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  6. Jenkem Cipher Patron

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    what changes depending on whether or not you tell joyce about the takeover??
     
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  7. Twiglard Savant

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    I'd like to know that too. Also, what was that she decided to do? Go look for other insulae? I found that part of the conversation hard to understand.
     
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  8. Prime Junta Arcane Patron

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    Surprise surprise, I really dug the ending.

    I'm not generally speaking a superfan of the "killer only enters the picture at the end" storytelling trope. I don't virulently hate it either however. I do think that the game used the trope well: it gave you a line of possible suspects, but there was always something about each of them that didn't quite fit the evidence.
    • Titus? Doesn't fit psychologically: would've worked if the lynching was a lynching, but not as a coverup.
    • Klaasje? Then why cop to calling the cops, whether she actually did it or not? Bullet came from a rifle, how would she have shot him with a rifle while in bed with him?
    • Odd-Sole? Footprints don't fit the ones in the secret room.
    I had my money on René actually -- decorated veteran carabinier, old but physically active, plays boules without wearing glasses so clearly has good eyesight, would know where the rifle stashes are and how to get one into working order (if he didn't have one of his own from the old days), local so would know all the nooks and crannies of Martinaise including any old sniper positions from the war, carries any number of grudges from which a motive could come up. Also suspiciously helpful from the start, without giving out any useful information. IMO the game should have let me pursue that line of inquiry.

    But anyway, I think the game did a pretty good job of implying that there's a missing piece here. It dealt out the history of the place which turned out to be relevant to the case after all -- the atrocities, the wounds left by them, the weapons caches, the very early Inland Empire hint about love and Communism, the subtle signs that somebody's been sneaking around the place quietly.

    It's really easy to pick holes in a story after you've read it, and it's almost as easy to come up with something that sounds like a plausible outline that addresses those flaws. However having done a little bit of writing myself I can tell you this from personal experience: that shit always starts to break down when you set out to write it. You'll patch one hole to see another one emerge from somewhere else, then try to patch that and notice that the pacing goes all wonky, fix that and you lose the tension, and so on and so forth.

    Summa summarum, as plot structure, story, mystery, and ending goes, IMO Disco Elysium was better than most TV, film, or book-form noir cop stories. Not perfect, but then nothing on this mortal coil is, and it sure as hell pushed my buttons.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2019
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  9. Lithium Flower Magister

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    Dope! I'm assuming its just an alternative to shooting the gunner with the same consequences, right?
     
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  10. Lithium Flower Magister

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    ItsChon Agree with the sentiment in the second paragraph, disagree about excluding the island. Figuring out that the shot came from the island does factor does end up coming into play in a few checks when you get to the island, so its not inconsequential. There are also reasons to arrest Klaaaaaaaasje even if you are convinced in her innocence, simply for obstruction - I feel like cucking people out of going to the island would make it a decision with a simple good/bad resolution that would overly punish Robocop larpers

    That's sweet. I still think you ought to be able to ask Joyce - I actually went straight past the NP and to Joyce to ask her because I thought it was obvious I couldn't use NP's boat yet

    Mechanically and fictionally, the investigation is not pointless because you can collect a bunch of prior information on the guy that is directly beneficial when you confront him - you can guess the motive from the dried flowers and the footprints in the hidden space, you can deduce the location by the fact that no one heard the shot so it must have been from a distance, you can figure out it was someone using an old military surplus rifle firing military-grade ammunition. This information in combination creates a criminal profile while maintaining a sense of mystery about the perpetuator.

    The trope of "the killer is actually some nobody you had no idea about" is relatively common in deconstructive examples of the genre. I usually don't care much for this twist, but it worked for me here precisely due to fact that you can figure more or less what, if not who, the killer was. As for emoshins, the dialogue with the guy got to me, and I am not even a commie IRL - I feel like its almost written to be a cautionary tale for commies to warn them against becoming bitter zealots possessed by the extremes of their ideology (ie: tankies). The guy is a living ghost and no one really knows that he - or why he - exists - that is the point.

    As for why you the devs didn't want to give you the option to explore the island early, its pretty obvious. They didn't want you to bypass the climactic events of the tribunal etc by solving the case on the 3rd day. The main character is a mess and needs to hit rock bottom before they get better - getting shot in the line of duty and potentially losing Kim certainly qualifies. Whether you think this works or would have instead liked a more open-ended and reactive finale is entirely a matter of personal preference. Personally, it more or less works for me, because as I said there are decent reasons for why you can't go to the island, it just needs to be acknowledged further by being able to talk to Joyce about it.

    As to what makes a story better or worse, that is IMO entirely subjective.

    This is directly pointed out in the game. The crazy helmeted killer is an unknown factor that you can find out more about if you make certain choices when talking to Rudy.
     
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  11. Shadenuat Arcane

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    But those genres are non interactive fiction.

    It's like if you establish rules and ask player to guess what cup the marble is under, but then cheat. If you cheat, then what is puzzle about?

    I personally knew the killer was on the island the moment I bought the map though.
    Because it's the only location player hasn't been on.
     
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  12. Prime Junta Arcane Patron

    Prime Junta
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    Maybe the real murderer is all the suspects we interviewed along the way?
     
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  13. Lithium Flower Magister

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    What's the cheat? What rules are broken?
     
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  14. Shadenuat Arcane

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    It is the same trick used in Fallout New Vegas - player can interact with anyone, thus they hidden 2 final ones there behind plot gate.

    That smells like designer's copout to me.

    Wouldn't it be a much more powerful mechanical design if player could solve case in 1 day, but then never learn the backstory of Harry, never see Dora, get different endings?
     
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  15. Lithium Flower Magister

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    And as I keep repeating there are legitimate reasons why you can't go to the island early, so I don't see how the game's logic is broken. Would it be better if the game allowed the player to discover the hidden art of teleportation just so that they could talk to the deserter before the finale???
     
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  16. Shadenuat Arcane

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    Yes it would, because it would fulfill player agenda and reward those players who actually are good at game.

    I mean, we can ask from another direction: how would it make game worse?
     
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  17. toro Arcane

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    Or maybe it's a simple cop-out.

    Can you be more specific? I did not kill Ruby but I did not meet her again either.
     
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  18. PrK Educated

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    Some more thoughts after finishing the game.

    To get this out of the way, I loved the ending. The way you get there from the moment you confront Ruby is indeed linear and antithetical to what the game lets you do up to that point, but the beats it goes through along that linear path are great and for a first playthrough it felt right. That said, I would definitely like the option to visit the island earlier, changing the way the ending plays out as well as decoupling the mercenary confrontation from the act of finding Ruby.

    The prerelease info was both confusing and potentially misleading. The misleading part is certainly the length, even if I didn’t mind it at all. On the other hand, I had misunderstood that the game would take place in all the districts of Revachol instead of a single one. In the begining especially with the Lonesome Way Home thought I was looking forward to the prospect of finding Harry’s apartment in Jamrock. On their defence, the overall cockiness was for the larger part justified.

    I don’t know how different playthroughs play out, but my INT/PSY one was certainly satisfying. Inland Empire and Conceptualisation made my Artcop of the Apocalypse a glorious reality. Higher check floors and ceilings would be preferable imo, as well as very high skills taking over your choices instead of being mostly for flavour. White checks unlocking by increasing the relevant skill is not ideal I think, instead more alternative ways to unlock them as well as time passing would be preferable.
    Once again, I probably got more triggered from those beeped voice overs than actual gays would be if it was uncensored. Maybe that was the intention? Hope not.
    In the end, even if it is still fresh on my mind, I am confident it places with ease in my top 20 RPGs of all time.

    A couple last things, who is/how did you meet the character shown in 0:42 in this trailer? Also, I remember from an interview there was supposed to be a guy that extolled the virtues of glorious field artillery and went into detail about them, anyone saw something like that?
     
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  19. Prime Junta Arcane Patron

    Prime Junta
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    Or maybe you're a tiny bit butthurt for some reason?

    Consider serial-killer stories. This trope is very common in them: you build up a profile of the killer in the killings until you know enough to nail him. In our case, the killer is a serial killer -- he has at least two murders on his conscience, and he's fantasising about more.
     
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  20. Shadenuat Arcane

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    But player can't do that. Where's mechanics for building profile? (now that would be interesting if you could fill thought cabinet with hints on killer or random political shit and that would affect your choices) Where is the dialogue option for nailing a wrong person?

    You thought on Rene. Is there an option to confront him?

    You only get to a killer when story allows you to get to a killer. Not before.
    No more, no less.
     
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  21. PrK Educated

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    Why are you talking that way about René? Don't tell me there is a way for him to live?
     
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  22. toro Arcane

    toro
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    Nah. I just like to hear the lamentation of the fanbois.

    Maybe there is a reason why this so called trope is 'very common' ?

    Just read this:
     
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  23. Lithium Flower Magister

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    Then stop pretending that you care about rules and narrative. Just say: I wanted to be the big hero and the game didn't let me do that and now I am sad.
     
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  24. Kyl Von Kull The Night Tripper Patron

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    Solving the case is tangential to the actual story, although this didn’t become obvious to me until I met senor stick insect.

    There is no way catching any culprit could be positive enough to wipe out the bitter taste of that dream sequence. Nothing short of a miracle is gonna let you get over that. So they give you a miracle that’s perfectly foreshadowed between the phasmid hunt and Chekhov’s camera. The taste of the dream, the final interrogation (I admit that it doesn’t make your investigation pointless, but your triumph is also a major anticlimax), and the insect creates a kind of composite flavor that really resonated with me. Like emotional umami. I can’t think of another game in recent memory that’s managed to make me feel shit like that. Not just because the prose is so dramatically better then practically anything else in the medium, but also because they have a better understanding of how to play you like a fiddle.

    In theory, I would’ve loved more freedom at the end, but in practice the most linear parts of the game were my favorite parts: the wreckage of the car and the final act. And I can’t complain too much about the linearity at the end—it’s functionally the same story structure as PS:T, but better paced because there aren’t any trash mobs.

    I highly recommend making the spirit bomb from the liquor and your tie. It doesn’t change the outcome, but watching the lead mercenary get burned alive is cooler than shooting him in the face. Plus, it’s like a Viking funeral for the second best companion in the whole genre: your horrific party necktie. You get a little sequence in your head where it says goodbye to you.
     
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  25. Prime Junta Arcane Patron

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    I don't think there is an "actual" story. There's a palimpsest of several stories. There's the case, obviously; there's your personal character arc as you claw your way out of the Abyssopelagic Zone (or not, as the case may be); there's the impending end of the world. I don't think it could work without having these (and more) interleave.

    Edit: Another thing I really liked is how the tone in your dialogue shifts over the days. On Day 1 you really come up with some deranged shit, with the "normal" lines comparably few and far between, making it a bit of a struggle to act like you're sane. By Day 3 you do still come up with the occasional superstar or Communist firebrand line, but at least on me they wore thin, and it was cathartic to be able to shave, get rid of the Expression, and focus on trying to be a slightly less sad excuse for a human being, and a better cop.
     
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