My mad quest for suplexes is going to get me killed.
My mad quest for suplexes is going to get me killed.
Come watch every lancer in the imperial army shoot our tank! At once!
A helpful gardener gives me gloves, which is probably good.
Probably less good.
Probably less less good.
After five minutes of questioning a kid hopped up on goofballs and cusses, Kim leads me away to maybe do something else with my life.
We’re here to investigate the dead body, still hanging from the tree like the world’s worst laundry. There are tracks underneath the body, but when I try to investigate them, they make my brain hurt, and I have to sit down.
Hurty brain no work need happy see
Explain yourself, trash bin!
Kim reluctantly tells me we can pop it open with the prybar he keeps in his car. TO THE CAR
One prybar later, my brain pings me to let me know it still hates me, but maybe we could cross something off the list and report my badge stolen. I’m sure it’s just a simple matter of protocol.
There’s precedent, of course, and a clear series of rules and regulations to follow.
Fortunately, there’s plenty of mutual respect in the precinct.
Superior officers always take the time to ensure that their younger, newer fellows have their unwavering support.
What’s more, their concern will lead them to ask questions and ensure that no further ill has befallen their compatriots.
Junior officers always feel secure and confident sharing the truth, knowing that compassion awaits.
Even if incorrect information comes out, due to stress or difficult working conditions, there’s always a calm, clear head on the other side.
In those times of tension, a little jocularity helps everyone involved clear the air.
I don’t think that’s really–
I’m sure none of this will come back to haunt me.
So, I’ve broken everything, and the woman in the wheelchair off of whom I pinged like I was going for a high score is totally fine.
But I got a 30 réal double bird discount, so it was coooooool, baby.
Less cool — my brain reminding me that I’ve forgotten where home is, or even what home is.
WAY cool? Hobocop.
THOUGHT GAINED: HOBOCOP
Kim promises to help me figure out what life and everything are after hours tonight, and also lets me in that we’re pawns in some sort of inter-department pissing contest. That seems like a bad thing to force me and my sworn ally to do!
Name Acquired: Sweetie
Lena here seems great. She should hang out with me all the time.
THIS GAME’S ALL RIGHT
Unfortunately, she declines. I could tell she wanted to come with me, though! I’ve played Sly Cooper — okay, no, I’ve seen Sly Cooper once, I know it could work. She gives me a pen when I know what year it is, and then we talk POLITICS.
So we’re in Revachol — I think — and it’s a Zone of Control, which means it’s run by an alliance of foreign powers called the Coalition. They run everything here, and the fact that there are still cops is complicated. This is all a bit much for her, and Kim’s not an encyclopedia, or at least can’t help the skill that keeps poking me about how empty it is. I need a reality lowdown.
WHAT A GOOD SCREEN THIS IS
I’m quicksaving in case I fuck up and try to flirt with this poor innocent woman.
I successfully do not click on this option, and I would like my medal.
Klaasje tells me a lot that I don’t know, in perhaps nicer tones than I deserve. I’m a cop! I’ve been here for three days! They don’t like cops here! My brain sasses me and I give that sass right back to anyone who happens to be standing nearby! I proudly declare that I deduced that I threw my shoe out the window, so clearly I’m a cop. Klaasje, an angel, lets this go.
CRAAAAAAAAAWLING IN MY SKIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIN THESE WOOOOOOOUNDS THEY WIIIIIILL NOT HEEEEEEEEALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL
Apparently I don’t get to know what happened to the bird.
Oh, so we’ve already hit level 1 on the Social Link.
I think I’m high.
This is Kim Kitsuragi, who is apparently my… assistant? Co-detective? Superior? Bosom chum? Bosom chum, and we are here to get a dead body out of a tree. Wait. We’re here to investigate a dead body. The dead body is still in a tree. The dead body probably shouldn’t have been in the tree still. Well, sometimes dead bodies are up in trees, and who am I to question the ineffable ways of the universe? Come, friendo, let us go be COPS
Look, just… just don’t say anything, okay? It’s fine. It’s fine. COPS
Garte is not a fan of my avant-garde nature.
Garte is also not a fan of answering questions, but we get some done anyway. We learn that the person who made the call after finding the dead body was Sylvie, who usually works the bar here at the Asshole Of the World or whatever this place is called. She’s not here because it’s none of my business, which is a lousy thing to say to a cop, especially one on a magical journey with his bestest friend in the whole world. Also a lousy thing to say to a cop is that he apparently owes you money for… something? I mean, that’s rude, Kim doesn’t like it when people say that, but I’m sure I can play this cool and–
Street SAVOIR faire–!
Well, this could have gone better.
But it could also have gone worse.
I had an accident.
Fuck it. Leave the tie. Leave it hanging up there on the ceiling fan, dead, like a gallows victim in a tumble dryer.
Saves on glasses. Smart. Eco-friendly. I’m basically a conservationist.
The Weeknd’s second big single, “I Can’t Remember My Face When I Am Drunk,” was a bit too high-concept for the mass market.
Inland Empire, so far, has mostly been IT IS BAD WHERE YOU ARE MAYBE YOU SHOULD NOT, so I can only assume it’s a skill I’ve had for the last six minutes and no longer.
Look, there’s only so much Ronald McDonalding of my own face that I can handle. It’s time to face the music. Wipe the mirror.
Gaze upon my works, ye mighty, and despair.
Someone broke my smolder a LONG time ago.
Look, I probably shouldn’t even talk to any women so long as I have this face. Just put a paper bag on my head and nope myself out a window as soon as I see one. Milady myself into orbit.
COP POWERS ACTIVATE
The crime came from INSIDE THE HOUSE
why do i hate shoes
This is the saddest quest log that has ever been.
Oh good, pity XP.
Oh god I’m a nightmare human. Pants. Find pants. Apply pants to body. Drag pants onto body and release mouse cursor. Get Pants. Attack pants. Attach pants. Pants. The pants are key.
Found key. I’m ahead of the game now. I’m playing with house money! I’m up two touchdowns late in the fourth! I can do this! Suck it, lizard brain!
Gasp My signature skill!
BY GAWD THAT’S DISCO’S MUSIC
brb dying of a heart attack from trying to pick up a tie
brb taking actual HP damage from trying to pick up a tie
If I know anything about heart attacks, just staring at the ceiling for thirty minutes fixes it right up. Clears the ol’ ducts out. Like a chimney sweep in my chest. It’s fine. It’s probably fine. Not using it anyway. Good as new!
Fuck you, tie.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME
welp, the lizards are talking, I’m out
We start with my brain, or at least that weird bit in the back of my brain, hissing a forked tongue into my ear and scratching my cortex. The words are gravelly and raspy, scraping their way into my head and telling me things that I definitely want to hear, not telling me things that I don’t want to hear.
I’ve never had my best interests at heart.
Things I’ve learned:
One, I apparently sabotaged my own health to a tremendous degree, for reasons that escape me right now.
Two, all of the voices in my head sound dangerous, sexy, or delightfully both.
Three, my skills will come into play in internal conversations with myself, not just external interactions with the world, making me feel as if I’m battling myself as well as the rest of the world, which is a heck of a neat angle on how RPGs traditionally work.
Four, I don’t know what a limbic system is.
After a brief foray into geological metaphors and confirmation that I am the saddest sack since Michael Strahan’s record-setter, I’m ready to take on the world. I’m ready to face the facts. I’m ready to open my eyes.
I TAKE IT BACK
PUT ME BACK IN, LIZARD BRAIN
I TAKE IT BACK
I’m given a few choices right away on creating a character. I can be a great Thinker, I can be a Sensitive soft boy, or just like Olivia Newton-John, I can get physical. I’m playing this at the beginning of the United States battling a pandemic, so maybe I won’t do that last one. Instead, let’s create our own character. Let’s make a bunch of choices without knowing the system and then have to live with them forever! It’ll be great fun! Come back!
We have four stats. I have never prioritized physical stats in an RPG and I’m not about to start now. I think going Look At My Brains is what I used to do in RPGs, but as the dumbest person in most of the rooms I find myself in nowadays, maybe instead I’ll be emotionally intelligent instead. I’ll be in touch with my feelings and open, emotionally, with everyone around me! I’ve played Planescape Torment, you want a high Wisdom, I know how this works.
I think this is an isometric RPG.
Okay. Now’s where it gets real. I can pick one Signature Skill. What sums me up more than anything else? What matters the most to me? When people go, “That Mister Elysium, you know what he’s about?” what will they say? From a video game standpoint, do I shore up a weakness in a lower attribute, or do I go big on a strength?
Let’s review the options.
I think the smart choice here is something like Inland Empire, so I don’t totally botch something in a setting with which I’m not familiar, or Empathy, because I want everyone to like me all the time. I’m not going to do that, though.
I’m going to live like a meteor, streaking across the sky, burning itself into everyone’s minds, and if I go out, I go out with a bang.
This is my start, and I go ‘til I finish, whenever that is.
Let’s put that point in Savoir Faire.
Let’s go big.
Hello everyone and welcome to Start to Finish! If you’re new to Start to Finish, this is a series where I, Matt Bowyer, play a game from the very start to the very finish, even if sometimes the very finish is “I don’t want to do this anymore.” The core concept behind Start to Finish has always been playing a game I’ve never played before, and doing so blindly. I don’t use walkthroughs, though I take advice, and I don’t look up tips, though I accept them.
This time, though, we’re stretching that ‘blind’ definition out.
I don’t know what Disco Elysium is.
So, uh, wish me luck.
Click on any of the images to see them bigger and readable! Lot of text in here.