Disco Elysium: The Final Cut is an isometric open-world role-playing game where you step into the shoes of an amnesiac detective who loves to drink. The opening few hours of the title are rife with confusion because you can't even remember your name, but you'll get the hang of it relatively soon.
The game has been available on a number of platforms like PC and PlayStation 5 (PS5) for a while now, but it recently launched on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S. If you're thinking about picking it up on Microsoft's latest console, we have you covered. I've been playing the game on Xbox Series X for a week now, and this is what I think about its performance and visuals.
Disco Elysium: The Final Cut on Xbox Series X features voice acting for every character, many new quests, and locations. This is a significant upgrade over the base version, and works well on consoles because there's controller support. There's a lot to love about this port of Disco Elysium on Xbox Series X, but the load times are curiously not one of them.
While this may seem like a minor inconvenience, in-game loading times were supposed to be eliminated on this generation's consoles. There are plenty of titles on Xbox Series X that have either instant or near-instant loading. Diablo II: Resurrected is a great example of this. The loading screens are a relic of the original build that came out 20 years ago, and only last for a fraction of a second on Xbox Series X. It's unclear why Disco Elysium takes so long to load even minuscule environments.
Even if you're entering a small building, you'll notice that you'll have to withstand a loading screen for around 10 seconds. Let's say you're going up the stairs to an even tinier setting. The same loading screen greets you every step of the way, through every transition. This quickly gets annoying because massive environments aren't being loaded here. There aren't that many interactive objects either. The prolonged loading screens appear to be a result of inadequate optimization in my opinion.
Now that that's out of the way, let me say that Disco Elysium looks spectacular on Xbox Series X. The game appears to be running at 4K resolution at 60 frames per second (FPS). During my roughly 30 hours with the title, I didn't encounter any noticeable FPS drops and traversing the city of Revachol was a breeze. The art style is one of the highlights of the experience.
The graphics look like they're straight out of a painting — maybe one by Edward Hopper — but the file size is only 8 GB. Don't let that fool you because Disco Elysium is a lengthy and complex game. There are many ways you can approach interviewing suspects, and depending on what you say, events unfold differently. There's a tremendous amount of replayability because of this, and even your initial character build can affect the dialogue and action choices you get.
The crux of the gameplay revolves around inspecting clues, talking to various characters, and wrestling with your mind. There's unprecedented freedom of choice. You can intimidate suspects, try to seduce others, be a diligent officer, or simply a menace. How you shape your character over the course of the experience is up to you because Disco Elysium relies a lot on psychology. Sometimes, I'd say wildly bizarre statements just to see how my partner or other characters would react.
Like any role-playing game, Disco Elysium features clothing and skills that give you varying abilities. For example, if you choose to wear a hat or gloves, you increase your ability to either think critically or interact with certain objects. The same goes for skills. Speaking with individuals grants experience that can be used for a number of perks. For example, you can increase your pain tolerance or become smarter.
Lastly, you can directly control the protagonist through the left thumbstick on a controller. When you approach certain objects, you can toggle through them by using the right thumbstick. The controls have been adapted really well so you don't miss a mouse and keyboard too much. However, selecting various items to interface with can be challenging at times. If there's a lot of complexity, it'll take you a few seconds to select the right object.
The aspect of Disco Elysium that truly blew me away was the freedom of choice. I've played Fallout 4 and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, but those two games pale in comparison to this one. You can truly do anything, from being a compulsive liar to a hopeless romantic. You can also ignore the murder investigation at the heart of the plot and just go around town doing whatever you want. I can't wait to go back and try out different builds to see how the side quests unfold.
Disco Elysium came out in 2019 so you probably know about all the accolades it's won and its high Metacritic score. Suffice to say, it's a genre-defining game that should be experienced by all. It'll take you an hour or so to understand the mechanics, but it's worth it. If you haven't played Disco Elysium before, there's no question you should pick it up on Xbox Series X. It seems identical to the PS5 version from my testing given the load times, high resolution, smooth performance, and well-adapted controls. If it weren't for the dodgy loading screens due to lack of optimization, we'd have a perfect game. Instead, it's near-perfect but still mind-blowing due to its tremendous replayability and freedom of choice.
You can purchase Disco Elysium: The Final Cut from the Microsoft Store or the platform of your choice for $39.99. The game was released on October 12, 2021 on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S. It's also available on Google Stadia, macOS, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, and PS5.
We have a spare code for the game that we're giving away on Twitter. The winner will be drawn in the coming week.
Developer ZA/UM provided a review code for Disco Elysium: The Final Cut. The game was tested on Xbox Series X and PS5 consoles.