The cynical tone of the game doesn’t really bother me, but I think that has a lot to do about where I live and the leftist circles I run in here. It’s easier to dismiss cynicism as being a signifier of the dirtbag left when you live in a place where politicians at least pretend to care about the human rights of the marginalized. I live in a place where the defacto religious oligarchy is currently striking down a widely popular bill to outlaw conversion therapy. Leftists here are good, compassionate, and constantly fighting for the marginalized, but we’re also deeply cynical. It can be hard to be optimistic when the boot isn’t a just a threat, but something you feel on your neck every day.
That’s also the vibe I’m getting from Disco Elysium. Yeah, the game is cynical about leftism and about what happens when leftism instantiates itself in the world, but there’s also a deep humanity to just about every character you meet. As the game has gone on, the cynicism is still there, but it has fallen farther and farther into the background as the humane character work steps into the spotlight. The karaoke side case is an excellent example of this. It starts off as ironic and jokey, but at least in my playthrough, ended in a touching and cathartic place.
Anyways, it’s a good game, and I’m enjoying it a lot!