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This review contains spoilers
I just want to try and explain why I like The Master so much.
The Master is a mutated being consisting of multiple people; they are modifying humans into super mutants because they desire to create a race that can thrive in the post-nuclear wasteland and wants to create a more authoritarian society considering democracy and human infighting caused the end of the world. Initially, The Master was a doctor banished from his vault and attacked by mutants falling into a vat of FEV. This greatly disfigured him, but it also led him to have advanced cognitive abilities. He then began experimenting with FEV, ultimately creating intelligent super mutants. So, here's the thing, The Master kidnaps people to develop these super mutants, but it mainly works on humans with little radiation exposure, so the success rate is low. Nevertheless, the Master hunts people to turn them into mutants and eventually amasses a respectable army. Their ultimate goal is to eliminate humans and have Super Mutants replace them, and they believe their actions are for the greater good; the ends justify the means.
You can defeat The Master by trivial means, such as fighting, but you can also convince him to give up. But how? Well, you give them undebatable evidence. You provide them with proof that the Super Mutants are sterile. When you show them this proof, they initially claim the document is incorrect; however, they ultimately concede. They believe their killing of humans is justified because their atrocities in the short term will lead to long-term prosperity. So while Super Mutants are nearly immortal because they're sterile, their population will never see an increase, only a gradual decrease, and the amount of humans that can ultimately be turned into Super mutants is low. It's clear why this evidence would convince The Master to change his mind. He kills himself: "I don't think that I can continue. To have done the things I've done in the name of progress and healing. It was madness. I can see that now." This is fantastic. It takes a character whose actions are generally despicable and gives them a lot to say for themselves.
But why is The Master's so compelling? Well, I believe it's because I'm conflicted regarding my feelings toward their plans. Their plans are thwarted because the mutants are sterile, but I'm still conflicted about whether I would agree with their actions if they weren't. The Master has a compelling logical basis behind his intentions, and their plan catalyzes a thought-provoking moral quandary. If humans destroy the world, do they deserve to be wiped out, and another species be given a chance?
This review contains spoilers
For the most part, Disco Elysium is a compelling character study, both of its protagonist and distraught setting. Having lost his memory, its protagonist has to deal with the society around him and wrestle with why he drank himself into such a state. The game also gives you so much agency and room for self-expression in how you decide to confront Harry’s situation; I find that incredibly compelling. The game allows you to explore Revachol’s people, politics, and mystique, again with a lot of agency, but it is also more than ready to criticize your choices.
And the ending, learning who the real killer is, getting into the absolute pit of human nihilism, only for a shred of hope to shine through with your discovery of the cryptid.
I Loved this.