15 Conversation-Heavy Games Like Disco Elysium

Image credit: ZA/UM

Disco Elysium is a surprise indie darling that is a commercial, artistic, and literary success story. It was originally conceptualized as a tabletop role-playing game written and designed by Estonian novelist Robert Kurvitz. Kurvitz then went on to form a game company called ZA/UM, which proceeded to release the game in 2019.

Disco Elysium shares much of its core gameplay with classic role-playing games and tabletop games. These reflect on mechanics such as dice rolling, skill checks, and lengthy conversations. A unique feature of the game is that traditional skills are replaced with personality traits, each with their perspective and input.

Where Disco Elysium truly shines is with its stellar writing that isn’t afraid to drastically switch tones. The game is politically-charged, harrowing, emotional, hilarious, absurd, and philosophical, all at the same time.

Disco Elysium is truly a masterpiece, and finishing it just makes you want to look for more. Try these conversation-heavy games like Disco Elysium to scratch your itch.

Scarlet Hollow

Available on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Scarlet Hollow is a horror-mystery visual novel with detailed hand-drawn art. It has impeccable writing, charming characters, and some absurd elements; perfect for players looking for games like Disco Elysium.

Scarlet Hollow puts the protagonist in a small town in North Carolina for your estranged aunt’s funeral. However, this is the worst time to visit since several horrors are coming out from the shadows.

Like Disco Elysium’s skills, Scarlet Hollow features seven unique traits. These traits severely impact dialogue and the choices you can make throughout the game.

For example, Keen Eye makes your character extremely observant. You can only pick two traits in each run, which makes the game replayable for those invested in the story.

Scarlet Hollow has some truly sharp writing. It’s able to flawlessly switch from immersive, to comical, to horrifying, to absurd, and to endearing, like during romance sequences. This game should be ranked higher on this list—but as of now, all episodes haven’t been released yet.

Rainswept

Available on Windows, Mac, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

Rainswept is a murder mystery game that stars an emotionally troubled protagonist named Detective Stone. While solving the case, you’ll also unpack Stone’s unresolved trauma, which feels familiar for players searching for games like Disco Elysium.

Rainswept is deliberately cinematic. Its art direction, clever use of lightning, and framing really push the limits of its minimalistic art. Oftentimes, it feels like a well-crafted drama.

The game is a point-and-click adventure where you have to solve the alleged murder-suicide of a local couple in that town. However, as Stone finds out more about the case, it hits a little too close to home and he’s forced to confront his own baggage.

Aside from that, it’s lighter on its gameplay mechanics and is more akin to an interactive novel. Although there are small puzzles here and there, the strength of the game comes from the meaningful conversations you’ll have.

Sunless Sea

Available on Windows, Linux, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, OS X, and iOS.

Sunless Sea is set in the immensely lore-rich world of Fallen London, a text-based browser game. The game shares the same stellar, captivating, and oftentimes cryptic writing style.

You’ll take control of the ship captain in a massive underground ocean. There’s a high-skill floor to actually get far in its dangerous world; expect to restart several times before you get the hang of it.

Sunless Sea is one of the best open-world games because of how much it incentivizes exploration and remembers your actions. Every decision you make will determine the fate of your captain and your crew.

Amazingly enough, the narrative isn’t set in stone. Instead, it’s up to you to choose your own win conditions, influencing the background and story of your player character.

This text-heavy game is evocative and evokes the same dread as Disco Elysium. If you’re a fan of difficult gameplay, dialogue-heavy gameplay, and of course, games like Disco Elysium, then you should consider picking up this game.

Forgotten City

Available on Windows, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and Nintendo Switch.

Forgotten City is the standalone game of a massively popular Skyrim mod of the same name. This game is filled with insightful conversations, politically-charged discussions of Roman philosophy, and a supernatural mystery to solve.

You’ll play as a new arrival who stumbled into an underground ruins that transported you to ancient Rome. This small cursed city lives by the Golden Rule, where if one person commits a sin, every citizen turns to gold.

For players looking for games like Disco Elysium, your status as an outsider will allow you to play detective. The core gameplay involves you talking to the citizens in hopes of finding out who’s about to commit a sin.

The subtle intricacies of its gameplay make the game truly stand out. Exploration, conversations, and quests are all intertwined; the more you investigate, the more you’ll unravel other threads.

Sometimes, you have to break the Golden Rule to pursue a lead further. This starts a time loop that spits you back to when you first arrived, allowing you to remember everything that happened.

Additionally, the architecture is historically accurate to ancient Rome. It’s one of the best detective games, and a worthwhile experience.

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

Available on Windows, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Android, iOS, and Windows Phone.

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is a cinematic story-driven adventure game best experienced in one sitting. Directed by Swedish film director Josef Fares, this game uses its interactivity to keep you involved in its fairy tale journey.

After losing their mother recently, the two brothers might also lose their father, who is gravely ill. You’ll have to guide the two characters on a long adventure to gather water from the tree of life to save their father. There are many interesting smaller stories along the way too.

A Tale of Two Sons has an interesting mechanic where you each half of the controller moves and controls an assigned brother. You’ll have to navigate tricky puzzles while controlling them separately at the same time.

What propels A Tale of Two Sons to be a game like Disco Elysium is the strong bond between these two siblings, and how it’s the crux of the narrative. Similarly, the relationship between Harry, and the best NPC partner ever, Kim, plays an integral role in the game’s story.

Contrary to Disco Elysium and its massive amount of text, A Tale of Two Sons uses a made-up language based on Lebanese Arabic. Thus, its emotional story is told through gestures, actions, and environmental storytelling.

To The Moon

Available on Windows, Linux, Android, OS X, iOS, and Nintendo Switch.

To The Moon is a short narrative-focused game that will leave you crying more than once. This emotionally taxing game deals with themes of love, loss, and regret, similar to other games like Disco Elysium.

The game puts you in control of Dr. Watts and Dr. Rosalene. These two operate a complicated machine that could let someone on their deathbed re-experience their life, and even tweak it if they wish.

For the game, you’ll be dealing with your current client Johnny, an elderly man whose last wish is to go to the moon. With the help of your machine, you’ll uncover some of Johnny’s most traumatic memories, and understand his life’s greatest tragedy.

To The Moon features beautiful music that diegetically connects to the central story. And while the game only lasts for nearly four hours, its impact will stay with you for years to come.

What Remains of Edith Finch

Available on Windows, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch, iOS

What Remains of Edith Finch is an easy-to-play walking simulator where you explore the protagonist’s abandoned family home. Even so, its gripping and emotional tale will keep you glued to your seat for the whole adventure.

The whole Finch family tree is seemingly cursed, as almost all of them die young and tragically. As you comb through the dilapidated homestead, you’ll have a personal look at what happened to every family member.

These morbid sequences often skirt between reality and fantasy. Additionally, these segments feature unique gameplay or even a different genre. For example, one story is told through a comic book.

How Edith Finch discusses death in all its absurdity will feel familiar for players craving games like Disco Elysium. It tells a strong linear story that is tragic, heartbreaking, yet beautiful all at the same time.

Wasteland 3

Available on Windows, Mac, Linux, Xbox One, and PS4.

Wasteland 3 is an isometric RPG with satisfying turn-based tactical squad combat. But, as with games like Disco Elysium, it also delivers a heavy politically-charged story where your decisions matter the most.

Assume control of the Arizona Ranger Team November, who traveled to post-apocalyptic Colorado. The purpose of their mission is to assist their leader, the Patriarch, in gaining his favor in order to support their depleting supplies back in Arizona.

During story moments, Wasteland 3 has an abundant amount of dialogue. These conversations range from hilarious, bizarre, sickening, and provoking. Additionally, it’s all wonderfully voice-acted.

The decisions you’ll have to make are nuanced as it isn’t exactly clear which is the right side—if there even was one, to begin with. From big narrative implications to smaller side stories, you’ll always face the consequences of your actions.

Gameplay-wise, you’ll command your squad on an isometric battlefield. There are various tactics to gain the upper hand, such as fortifying your sniper on a higher vantage point.

Since Wasteland 3 is an RPG, there are many customization options to diversify your squad. Tinkering around with all the weapons, skills, gear, and more will let you express yourself in this harsh nuclear winter.

Vampire: The Masquerade — Bloodlines

Available on Windows.

Vampire: The Masquerade — Bloodlines was released back in 2004, and the game really shows its age. Once you get past that, Bloodlines is certainly the best of this series and provides a unique role-playing game experience.

Bloodlines puts your newly resurrected vampire character in the middle of a long war between several vampire clans. The game is set in modern-day Los Angeles; other creatures of folklore are also involved in the conflict such as werewolves.

Depending on your choice during the character selection screen, you’ll join one of the seven clans. Although you still have the choice of siding with whichever faction you want to rise to the top.

Bloodlines are similar to games like Disco Elysium because their world is rife with a long complicated history of nuanced politics, war and conflict, and opposing ideas. Where Disco Elysium takes place where most major events happened in the past, Bloodlines puts you right in the middle of a melting point.

If you can’t solve conflict with words, you’ll have to resort to brutal combat. Bloodlines is melee-focused but make use of supernatural powers that you’ll grow over the course of the game.

If you do plan on jumping into this great game, consider downloading a few mods to improve your experience. These mods do everything from fixing common issues, to upgrading graphics, and even polishing gameplay mechanics.

Unavowed

Available on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Nintendo Switch.

Unavowed is an urban fantasy point and click adventure game with supernatural elements. Despite hurling fireballs and confronting demons, the game manages to tell grounded and sad personal stories.

You’ll play as an amnesiac who can’t remember his bloody rampage across New York City when he was possessed by a demon. Afterward, a team of magical protectors named the Unavowed come to save you and offer you a spot on their team.

The story centers around redemption, similar to Harry’s story after his legendary drunken deluge that he can’t quite remember. Games like Disco Elysium are great for telling stories about second chances.

Since it is a point and click game, you don’t have to worry about intense reactive gameplay. Instead, you’ll focus on its amazing replayable story with branching dialogue and meaningful choices.

You can only bring two party members of the Unavowed at a time, which means players immersed in the story might go for multiple playthroughs. These compelling characters carry the game on their shoulders as they’re wonderfully written.

Pathologic 2

Available on Windows, Mac, Linux, PS4, Xbox One

Pathologic 2 is a bizarre Russian open-world survival horror RPG with tons of unique mechanics. It is both a reboot and a sequel to the first game released back in 2005. You could still jump straight to this game if you haven’t experienced the first, but keep in mind there are a few references to its predecessor.

Pathologic 2 is undoubtedly a masterpiece at what it does. But, admittedly, what it strives to do is hard to describe precisely and might not click with many players.

At its core, you’ll constantly be making hard decisions. During the 12 in-game day limits, you’ll choose which townspeople are worth saving, which districts you’ll doom, and what resource to give up for another.

These decisions also reflect on the resource management and survival system. Surviving isn’t easy, and you’ll often have to resort to dubious deeds to scrounge by.

These arduous gameplay decisions all reinforce its narrative theme of sacrifice. The story tells a bleak and depressing narrative centered around a mysterious object called the Polyhedron causing the plague.

Players looking for games like Disco Elysium but wished they doubled down on its depressing aspects will find a great game in Pathologic 2.

SOMA

Available on Windows, Linux, PS4, Xbox One, and OS X.

SOMA is a science fiction survival horror game with no combat and light stealth mechanics. The game emphasizes psychological horror and existential dread instead of traditional jump scared to achieve its horror.

You’ll play as a car accident survivor named Simon Jarett, who underwent an experimental brain scan. After the experiment, Simon wakes up in an abandoned underwater research facility in the far future, a year after a comet caused a major extinction event on Earth.

You’ll have to explore the abandoned facility while avoiding the sentient hostile robots. A large portion of SOMA’s narrative is told through collectible notes and audio logs scattered throughout the facility.

SOMA heavily delves into philosophical discussions of personal identity, consciousness, and memories. SOMA and other games like Disco Elysium are rare titles that will truly challenge you on their themes.

Safe mode has been added to the game which prevents hostiles from taking you down. It’s a perfect addition for those who want to experience this title free of stress.

Kentucky Route Zero

Available on Windows, Mac, OS X, Nintendo Switch, PS4, and Xbox One.

Kentucky Route Zero is my favorite game on this list because of the excellent way it tells its surreal story. Games like Disco Elysium are great for creating an unexplainable feeling that leaves you overwhelmed with emotions.

Kentucky Route Zero is a point and click adventure that focuses on its surreal narrative and meandering but meaningful conversations. If you’re a fan of magical realism stories like the iconic 100 Years of Solitude, you’ll appreciate all of its absurd and symbolic elements.

You’ll play as Conway, a truck driver for an antique shop, who is on a delivery run with his dog. The game starts with the duo asking for directions at a truck stop, but afterward the story deviates into scenarios that don’t make much logical sense. As with magical realism, you have to go with the dream-like narrative flow and enjoy the fleeting moments instead.

Kentucky Route Zero is aesthetically pleasing and often uses cinematic framing. There are many scenes in the game where you don’t want to move since you’ll lose the ephemeral moment.

There are countless ways to interpret the game and it all depends on what you take from it. The story isn’t focused and it tends to wander and explore.

But, rest assured that Kentucky Route Zero is spectacularly written. For example, seemingly mundane conversations are layered in human tragedy. It’s a unique experience and you’ll be thinking of this game long after you play it.

Divinity: Original Sin II

Available on Windows, Mac, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

Divinity: Original Sin II is hands down one of the best modern action-adventure games. It combines a fun and flexible combat system with intricately written characters set in a world with a rich lore.

The divinity is dead, and the evil forces from the void are taking advantage of this situation to attack the world of Rivellon. You have to lead your premade or custom character to become the next divine to restore balance—if that is your wish.

There are six main characters in Original Sin II and you can take up to four of them on the journey. These complex characters interact with one another, actively engages in the story, and even begin new quest lines. It’s always worth it to replay the game with a different set of party members to re-experience the story from a different perspective.

The highlight of the game is how much you can creatively express yourself in combat. There are many ways to exploit the environment in the game to your favor. Creating a party that fully plays to each other’s strengths represents true mastery of the game’s combat.

Planescape: Torment

Available on Windows, Linux, Mac, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Android, and iOS.

Despite being released in 1999, Planescape: Torment is still considered an essential game for classic role-playing game fans. Additionally, this game is one of the biggest inspirations for Disco Elysium and many games like Disco Elysium.

The protagonist is a nameless immortal amnesiac on a personal quest to learn why. The game has one of the largest scripts in video game history, making it almost an interactive novel with some combat here and there.

The game is based on Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Second Edition. So expect systems such as the character’s alignment chart that change depending on your actions and decisions.

Companions add a lot of flavor to the game, as they regularly communicate with each other, NPC characters, and comment on the events in the game. Furthermore, they’re essential in assisting the nameless immortal in a fight.

However, combat is mostly the result of inefficient combat. Planescape: Torment encourages players to resolve disputes and quest outcomes using dialogue. Using your wits, and the help of your skills, you can engage in compelling conversations to progress this lengthy game.

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