When Disco Elysium: The Final Cut first launched earlier this year, it quickly became one of my favourite games of all time. Half a year later, it’s still up there as one of 2021’s best, alongside my own ranking for it. Now, it’s hit the Nintendo Switch and it’s thankfully a great translation that’s only held back by some technical issues.
Disco Elysium: The Final Cut coming to the Switch was always a bit of a frightening prospect, only made worse by the PS5 version’s initial flaws. If the PS5 could barely handle the game without crashing, how on earth was the Switch version going to fare? As it turns out, quite well, although not without its own unique problems.
Starting off with the visuals, it’s thankfully much the same. Disco Elysium: The Final Cut has a pretty unique watercolour-esque that lends itself well to the Switch’s hardware, although it does look slightly muddier. Importantly, the port also sounds the same as the PS5 version, with all the same fantastic voice-acting that The Final Cut introduced. I’d actually argue that this is even better, thanks to the game launching in a less buggy state. Now every voice line plays as it should, and that’s great.
I also have to give specific major props to the font in the Switch version which is perfect. One of the biggest issues with the original release is that all of the game’s text was apparently made for ants and was incredibly hard to see on a TV. That’s not an issue here as text is suitably beefed up for a portable. Yes, this was really that big an issue with the PS5 launch.
The Switch version also has touch screen controls, which is a neat addition, especially if you’ve played before and know how much of a pain walking up specific stairs can be. All in all, in those areas it’s a fantastic conversion.
Frustratingly, the real issues here – and stop me if you’ve heard this before – are the loading times and frame rate. Loading times are a lot longer than they were in the PS5 release and can sometimes be up to 20 seconds long. Disco Elysium: The Final Cut isn’t a fast-paced game or anything, but when you’re moving between areas frequently, it’s annoying to have to wait for so long.
It also brings a new challenge to The Final Cut – a lack of save-scumming. Stop with the judging looks for a second, we’ve all done it. If you don’t know, Disco Elysium: The Final Cut implements dice rolls to decide how actions work and failing them will put certain actions on pause until you level up, or cut them out altogether.
A big part of the fun is working around these issues, but if you’ve played through the campaign five times (one without even inspecting the body, go me) then you know what rolls are important to hit and likely want to save scum it to get past them as fast as possible. In the PS5 release, that meant saving before and then reloading if you fail, which would take about five seconds to do.
In the Switch version, that process is at least tripled every single. One specific Shiver check late into the game took a hell of a lot longer because of it and it’s hard to look past if you’ve played the game on any other system. Of course, the other argument is don’t save scum, but we’ll ignore that for a second.
There are also some frame-rate issues here and there. Going into the Whirling Inn Rags at night turns the game into a slide show, as does zooming out too far. Again, not massive issues considering Disco Elysium: The Final Cut is a slower-paced game, but it is noticeable for returning players and likely noticeable for new ones too.
Neither of these issues are deal-breakers and Disco Elysium: The Final Cut does work well on handhelds, but it’s a shame that returning players will have to play a ton slower. If the slow loading times are a worthy trade-off for you being able to play the game anywhere, or you’re playing for the first time and think getting the police coat doesn’t matter all that much, then it won’t be an issue.
Beyond that, this is the same Disco Elysium: The Final Cut that I fell in love with when I played it all those months back. It’s hard to succinctly summarise, but it’s essentially a detective CRPG that lets you mould your amnesiac character into whatever kind of cop you want to be, all whilst solving the mystery of a murder in the depressing but heartfelt town of Revachol.
Disco Elysium: The Final Cut’s writing is literally some of the best I’ve ever seen in a game, coupled with some amazing voice acting, a brilliant story that’s full of people to meet and choices to be made. I have never played a game with dice-rolls that decide what happens because I like to be in control as much as possible, but the game is so good it didn’t bother me in the slightest.
It also has the same issues, such as an ending that splits people, some repeated decisions, and a skill that controls the ending no matter what cop you make yourself. Still, none of those are enough to make it any less than an essential game, and that’s the same with the Switch version.
If you can’t play it elsewhere, Disco Elysium: The Final Cut on Nintendo Switch is a great option, especially if it’s your first time playing. Returning Revacholians will find the long loading times to be an extra annoyance, but it’s not like we didn’t put up with worse when the PS5 version launched. There’s just nothing quite like Disco Elysium.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by ZA/UM