I've fallen in love with Disco Elysium all over again. I'm dedicating every spare hour to solving the case of The Hanged Man. I'm having weird, feverish dreams about it at night. Obsessing over the setting's fascinating (and weird) politics and history. Daydreaming about the horrors of the Pale. This happened back in 2019 when I reviewed the original release, and it's happening again today—but in a much more intense way, thanks to the recently released Final Cut.
This massive update, free on PC to anyone who already owns Disco Elysium, adds new quests based on the game's various political alignments, controller support, new clothes to play dress-up with, and more. But the biggest new feature—which must have been a real undertaking for developer ZA/UM—is the addition of full voice acting. Originally the game was only partially voiced; now every line in that million-word script is performed by an actor.
Disco Elysium is an extraordinarily dense game, with long, evocative descriptions of places and objects, branching conversations that can splinter off into rambling tangents, and the protagonist wrestling with the competing voices in his head. With these great walls of text flooding the screen, I often found myself losing focus, skimming past important details, and not fully absorbing the words in front of me. If, like me, you're a fast reader, it's easy to get ahead of yourself in the longer conversations in Disco and finish them without properly digesting what's been said, eager to get to the next topic.
The sheer amount of reading involved could get exhausting . Not because the writing was bad—far from it—but because there was just so damn much of it. But now that absolutely everything is voiced, I'm listening intently to every word through my headphones, and engaging with the game on a much deeper level as a result. I'm picking up details that completely passed me by the first time around—which is partly my fault, but also a testament to how someone speaking these lines really helps embed them in your brain.
It also helps that the voice of the protagonist's inner thoughts—the voice you hear most throughout the game, essentially the narrator—is so nice to listen to. Actor Lenval Brown spent eight months recording 350,000 lines of dialogue for Disco Elysium, which is around a third of the game. And his deep, sonorous voice is one of the highlights of the Final Cut. He brings the turmoil raging in your character's mind to life in a brilliantly characterful way, and I'm still not tired of hearing him speak after 30+ hours in his company.
And yes, full voice acting means your partner Kim Kitsuragi—one of the best videogame companions of all time, if not the best—has a lot more to say. Kim is a soothing presence throughout Disco Elysium, acting as a moral centre for the protagonist and a voice of reason when he inevitably takes things too far. And that feeling is only heightened by getting to hear more of Jullian Champenois' wonderful voice acting, whose performance lends the steadfast lieutenant a reassuring warmth and an endearing, deadpan cool.
I'm enjoying the Final Cut a lot more than the original release. The characters feel more alive, which only makes them richer—and more fun to hang out with. I'm absorbing more of the history, politics, and geography of the setting, which makes the city of Revachol, and the wider world beyond, feel even more real in my mind. I can't remember the last time I was this lost in a virtual world, catching myself thinking about it multiple times a day. Disco Elysium was already one of the best RPGs on PC—now, remarkably, it's even better.