Disco Elysium: The Final Cut
By Chad Sapieha,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Story-driven tale loaded with mature themes, gray messages.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Uses a world much like ours to provide social commentary on a wide range of subjects, including racism, sexism, classism, substance abuse, and fascism. Players can choose socially progressive or conservative story and character paths, with the former generally serving as more serious and dramatic choices and the latter typically prodded and poked fun of by other characters and the narrator.
Positive Role Models
The protagonist is an alcoholic and addict who wakes up after a bender with no memory. From that point on, his personality is largely shaped by the player's decisions. He can continue to seek out or opt to avoid alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes, and he can make fascist, racist, and sexist comments (often with consequences from other characters) or stand up for more progressive ways of thinking, such as defending his Asian partner against bigots.
Ease of Play
Players simply move the hero around and tap a button to make him interact with objects or talk to people. Figuring out what to do next is occasionally a bit tricky, and making the wrong choices can result in failure, ending the game and forcing players to start over from a recent save file.
Violence & Scariness
No combat, but players will come across disturbing scenes -- such as a bloated corpse hanging from a tree -- sometimes accompanied by descriptive dialogue. Players can also make choices that lead to acts of violence with blood, such as people getting shot, again with graphic text and dialogue descriptions.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
No depictions of sex, but several characters clearly reference and discuss sex in graphic fashion, using words like "c--t" and "d--k" as well as more colorful phrases such as "c--k carousel."
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Strong language appears in text and spoken dialogue throughout, including words "f--k" and "s--t."
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Products & Purchases
This is the updated version of 2019's Disco Elysium.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Drugs, alcohol, and tobacco are discussed in detail and depicted in use. Several game tasks involve procuring and using illicit substances. Much of the game's humor stems from the hero's internal struggle to either stay sober or give in to his addictions.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Disco Elysium: The Final Cut is a narrative role-playing game available for download on the Windows PC, Mac, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Stadia, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S consoles. It's a more complete edition of the critically acclaimed Disco Elysium, adding new missions, voiced dialogue, and support for gamepads. Players assume the role of a detective who's also an alcoholic and addict, having intoxicated himself to the point of amnesia. He must investigate a murder case while trying to remember who he is, all the while constantly tempted by parts of himself that want to indulge in drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes. The player can choose whether or not he stays sober or succumbs to these desires. Additional dialogue options, frequently peppered with strong language including the "F" word, allow players to decide if his interactions with other characters will be professional and respectful, or if he plays the part of a racist, classist, fascist jerk (often with consequences), or if he ends up falling somewhere in between. There's no combat, but players will encounter scenes with dead bodies, blood, and graphic language describing them. Some influential dialogue choices may lead to other characters getting hurt or killed. Parents should also be aware that several characters discuss sex in frank terms, with words like "c--t," "c--k," and "d--k."
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Disco Elysium: The Final Cut
Based on 2 parent reviews
A great game for older teens who do not have complex mental health problems or extremist tendencies.
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What’s It About?
DISCO ELYSIUM: THE FINAL CUT is a story-driven role-playing adventure set in a fictional city. It begins with the main character, a police officer, waking up in a trashed hotel room with no idea who, where, or even what he is. He relies on strange voices in his head, which tell him he's a member of a sad, ape-like species living worthless lives in a flawed society. He slowly learns that he's a cop investigating a murder in a shady area of town, that he has a terrible substance abuse problem, and that he owes the innkeeper a lot of money for making a mess of his room. The entire game is spent exploring the world and talking to people to gather clues and information. Conversations -- both those with other characters and those with facets of his subconscious -- are the main activity, providing multiple avenues of optional dialogue that shape both the story and the personality of the game's hero. Players can make him seem respectable and professional, if mildly pathetic, or choose questions and responses that could make him belligerent and frequently offensive to several socioeconomic groups. Various tasks are heaped on top of his murder investigation duties, encouraging players to collect items, revisit locations and people of interest, and learn more about the city and the world as they try to piece together a range of puzzles, not least of which is who the hero really is. This special edition of the game, which brings it to consoles for the first time, adds support for gamepads, drops in a handful of additional story missions, and includes voice acting for virtually every character.
Is It Any Good?
There aren't many games as dedicated to telling an interesting story filled with complex and fascinating characters as this one. Thanks to its mature themes, graphic descriptions, and often intellectual subjects and messages, Disco Elysium: The Final Cut is definitely geared for an older audience equipped to understand its humor, which flirts with offensiveness and impropriety at almost every opportunity. It's a deft work of writing, allowing players to make the hero thoroughly despicable based on his interactions with others and how he treats his own body, or a man on a slow, tough slog down the road to redemption. It's also laugh-aloud funny, with jokes ranging from low-brow -- there are plenty of dark giggles to be had whenever our hero entertains his addictions -- to cultured, with witty commentary about political ideologies, class war, and even existence itself. It's a dream game for bookish sorts who love the idea of sinking into a fascinating role but have little interest in combat.
The new Final Cut edition is meant to build on the award-winning original, and it does this by adding plenty of quality voice acting to flesh out characters both real and in our hero's subconscious. It also includes new tasks and items meant to add to the world's backstory as well as dive into our protagonist's sociopolitical leanings, as determined by the player's dialogue choices. The only real issue with this edition is that switching from mouse and keyboard -- the controls for which this game was originally designed -- to a gamepad has introduced a few interface problems, such as occasional trouble finding and moving down certain paths while exploring, and difficulty highlighting and selecting some of the objects and characters with whom you want to interact. Thankfully, these aren't game-breaking problems. Disco Elysium: The Final Cut is decidedly not meant for kids, but older players who appreciate great storytelling with a liberal dose of edgy humor are going to have a blast.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about character strengths. Did the police officer in Disco Elysium: The Final Cut, as you chose to play him, exhibit any traits that you think are worth emulating?
Do you think the voices the police officer hears in his head urging him to do drugs and consume alcohol are realistic, or are they so far-fetched as to be merely comical?
- Platforms: Google Stadia, Mac, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online?: Available online
- Publisher: ZA/UM
- Release date: March 30, 2021
- Genre: Role-Playing
- Topics: Adventures
- ESRB rating: M for Blood, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Use of Drugs, Violence
- Last updated: April 9, 2021
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