Title: Disco Elysium: the final cut
Developer: ZA / UM
Editors: ZA / UM
Platforms: Nintendo Switch (revised on), PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X | S, Xbox One, PC
Release date: 12 October 2021
On paper, Disco ElyseeThe latest version of “The Final Cut” should have been perfect for the Nintendo Switch. It’s not graphically exhausting. It uses the same dimensional scale as the exceptional Underworld. It’s more about storytelling than fast-paced, controller-destroying gameplay. It should be perfect. But at this point you should know why I am writing this intro with “should”.
Disco Elysee is a remarkably clever title. This allows you to build your character up as if you’re setting it up for a tabletop RPG, and then, along with a series of introductory questions, it really gives the game a feel for who you want to be for this session.
From there you step into the role of the most unlucky detective. The only thing that works in his favor is the simple fact that his heart hasn’t stopped yet and for him even that is a little hanging in the air, be it good or bad.
The whole game itself plays out like a tabletop role-playing game. There is a dungeon master / narrator, and your ability to see things, notice things in a conversation, or understand the lore of the world all boils down to rolling the dice. The game doesn’t completely indicate that you’re taking a perception test, but it plays out like a DM doing it all on the sly.
When I was fighting a giant skin-head it wasn’t all about my reflexes or my ability to dodge, it was all about playing noticing my strength levels, mixing it with options like whether I had or not shoes, whether or not I had a hangover and would tell me at the percentile of my success if I chose to knock the guy out. When I gave the order to attack, a pair of dice were thrown and luckily I succeeded.
But that’s how this game works. You live and die by the grace of the dice. My first part ended quickly because my character was so annoyed with a kid that he literally lost all morale and, through that, his desire to continue being a cop. Long story short, after a lot of swearing, he quit. Game over.
With all of that said and done, Disco Elysium: the final cut Should be great on the Nintendo Switch, especially on the go as it’s basically a getting started and tabletop play session.
The problem stems from the sheer amount of stuff happening that completely stops the flow of narrative.
On the one hand, the loading in this game is bananas. I timed a moment when my character stepped out onto a balcony. It took 20 seconds for the game to load the balcony. It then took my character another 20 seconds to come back after picking up the unique item on the balcony. 20 seconds might not seem like a lot, but sit still and slowly count to 40. It took my character a whole minute to step out onto a balcony, grab an item, and come back. And that’s every time you get a loading screen. Walking around a building with multiple rooms becomes something where you honestly debate whether it’s worth stepping back just because of the time it takes.
AI is also frustrating. Sometimes it’s hard enough trying to find the right joystick to get your character to focus on the element you want. But there are plenty of times, especially indoors, where you select an item and then watch your character walk around for 15 seconds trying to figure out how to get into the exact position the game wants them to be. either for storytelling and future actions. Sometimes if you stand too close your character won’t even try to interact. If you are too far away, your character will sometimes take a turn or two around the immediate area before remembering what they were supposed to do. The AI couldn’t find Waldo if it looked at Waldo’s driver’s license.
Of course, these are minor issues and it’s not particularly revolutionary, but things like that can add up. I explored an abandoned installation that makes it seem like my character wouldn’t have been run around by an AI that didn’t know where to put it and got bogged down in insane loading screens (especially at a time when I had had to run back and forth through four of them to come and go from a particular location), it felt like something I could have done 30 minutes before if the game had performed at a better clip.
When you combine that with the fact that the game is too dystopian and depressing, it takes a long time for your sales to sit there half the time you play.
Disco Elysium: The Final Cut (Nintendo Switch) Rating: 6.5
While this is a great game on its own, Disco Elysium: The Final Cut just doesn’t cut it on Nintendo Switch. Long loading times between small rooms and different floors of buildings cause the game to lag enough to lose the narrative flow completely, which is a big deal given that storytelling is its primary focus. If the load times are corrected alongside bad AI which tends to make your character lose your character trying to stare at something two feet in front of them, you get a great portable game. So far, it’s a bit disappointing.