Disco Ely­sium is un­like any­thing you have ever played be­fore

There’s a war in­side your head

Games TM - - CONTENTS - For­mat: pc | Pub­lisher: Hum­ble bun­dle | de­vel­oper: Za/um | re­lease: TBC | Play­ers: 1

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

The name Disco

Ely­sium – par­tic­u­larly when com­bined with its vivid wa­ter­colour art­work – may sum­mon the image of some eight­ies-in­spired throw­back game. That, we are happy to re­port, couldn’t be fur­ther from the truth. Disco Ely­sium is the new name for No Truce With The Furies; it’s as gritty, in­cred­i­ble and sur­pris­ing it al­ways was.

A NEW KIND OF CRPG

In many re­spects, Disco Ely­sium is be­ing built in the spirit of clas­sic RPGS. But here’s the thing, Disco Ely­sium doesn’t feel like a throw­back. It’s ac­tu­ally a hy­per-smart and in­cred­i­bly deep iso­met­ric RPG that gives us some idea of how the genre could (and prob­a­bly should) have evolved were it not for the ar­rival of full 3D frame­works.

IT’S A CRIME DRAMA AT HEART

Disco Ely­sium is si­mul­ta­ne­ously an ur­ban fan­tasy, a sci-fi story, and a hard­boiled cop drama. It works its in­flu­ences beau­ti­fully, help­ing to trans­form the city of Rava­chol into a unique play­ground. The game be­gins with you awak­en­ing to lit­tle mem­ory and voices (quite lit­er­ally) scream­ing in your head, from there it’s up to you how you tackle a mas­sive, sprawl­ing, open-ended mur­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

THE VOICES ARE REAL

We've men­tioned the voices, and that’s im­por­tant. Disco Ely­sium doesn’t bother with lengthy ex­po­si­tion, in­stead it drops you in blind to ev­ery sit­u­a­tion and sce­nario, with the ma­jor­ity of the in­for­ma­tion and the de­tail de­liv­ered through con­ver­sa­tion and dia­logue. Much of this con­ver­sa­tion ac­tu­ally takes place within your own head – with the dom­i­nant and la­tent ar­eas of the brain wrestling for con­trol.

THEY ARE TIED TO SKILLS

Your var­i­ous demons wrestling for con­trol isn’t just a neat trick, it’s also an ex­cel­lent ap­proach to lev­el­ling up and char­ac­ter at­tributes. In­stead of the stan­dard in­tel­li­gence, dex­ter­ity and strength stats you may ex­pect to find in a tra­di­tional RPG, Disco Ely­sium in­stead has you grap­pling, evolv­ing and push­ing back all your men­tal fac­ul­ties.

HOW DOES THAT WORK?

It’s an orig­i­nal skill sys­tem and it can take time to ad­just. Think of it this way, ev­ery ac­tion in the game – be it en­gag­ing in dia­logue, at­tempt­ing to pick some­thing up off of a table, or do­ing some­thing as in­nocu­ous as sip­ping a drink – will have a re­ac­tion from your brain, the skill rolls in the game are for de­cid­ing whether your ra­tio­nal fac­ul­ties, in­tel­lect and wit, or basest in­stincts – greed and fear – win.

OPEN QUEST DE­SIGN

As you wres­tle with your in­stincts, with those voices, the game it­self will be­gin to shift around you. If a line of ques­tion­ing against an NPC is too tough, for ex­am­ple, the au­thor­i­tar­ian side of your brain will be­gin to be­come more dom­i­nant and even­tu­ally take over. Should an NPC re­quire a lighter touch later in the game your ca­pac­ity for calm and quiet dia­logue will be­come sur­passed, al­ter­ing the ob­jec­tive.

IT’S BEAU­TI­FULLY WRIT­TEN

This prob­a­bly won’t sur­prise you, but Disco Ely­sium is in­cred­i­bly well writ­ten. It’s smart and it’s funny, never fail­ing to hold the at­ten­tion and keep us en­gaged – even through reams of writ­ten dia­logue, text and the oc­ca­sional splat­ter­ing of VO. Hon­estly, ZA/UM has done truly ex­cel­lent work in this re­spect and it’s go­ing to make waves through­out the in­dus­try, of that we’re cer­tain.

NO PLAYTHROUGH WILL BE THE SAME

Given how open-ended and truly sha­pable the game, quest, and char­ac­ter pro­gres­sion are, you should ex­pect Disco Ely­sium to of­fer an ex­pe­ri­ence that will truly change ev­ery time that you play it. Mak­ing even the slight­est tweaks to your per­son­al­ity will open new lines of in­ves­ti­ga­tion, new dia­logue op­tions and fresh new ways to ex­pe­ri­ence the game.

IT’S OUT THIS YEAR

10 Disco Ely­sium is ex­cel­lent. If ZA/UM can keep this level of qual­ity up through­out the en­tire ex­pe­ri­ence then this will likely be a game that we are talk­ing about for years to come. Looks can be de­ceiv­ing, and with Disco Ely­sium you’re go­ing to need to throw out any as­sump­tions you have of clas­sic RPGS and be ready to have the rule book re-writ­ten in front of your eyes.

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