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Disco Elysium - Gameplay and Achievements Guide

Written by xyrilyn   /   Dec 27, 2019    

This guide is the list of things you would want to know before starting the game (and more). Includes gameplay and achievement tips.

Gameplay Tips and Achievement Guide


Want to be the best detective that has ever arrived on the scene? Do you also want to get all the achievements this game has to offer? Then this is the guide for you. Any spoilers (which will be present because of the nature of this guide) will be tagged within spoiler tags to the best of my ability.

This guide covers

  • Gameplay basics and mechanics (and best ways to use your skill points).
  • Achievements tips (gotta get them all, right?).

This guide will not cover

  • The mechanics of attribute skill checks (it's all probability, my friend).
  • The plot of the game (you should play the game and find out yourself).


This is a point-and-click narrative-focused role-playing game. Key controls are your mouse, 'tab' key, spacebar, and 0-9 keys on your keyboard.

  • Clicking moves your character around and allows you to interact with stuff.
  • Double clicking moves you around even faster.
  • The 'tab' key highlights interactables (things you can click on: NPCs, orbs, containers, etc), making them easier to see on-screen.
  • The spacebar stops all movement.
  • The numerical keys are shortcuts to selecting dialogue options.

That's it. Now on to the good stuff.

Attributes & Skill Checks


The attribute points you assign at the very start of the game when creating your character are fixed for the entirety of your game.

The four attributes are: Intellect, Psyche, Physique and Motorics. Points you put into an attribute determine the starting skill levels of relevant skills under that attribute. Skills can be leveled up using skill points. Every 100 XP gains you one skill point.

Skill Checks

There are two kinds of skill checks: Active and Passive.

Active checks are those you trigger yourself by selecting it as a dialogue option. The probability of success is shown to you when you hover over the dialogue option. This probability is based on the difficulty of the check compared to your level for that skill, plus modifiers.

What are modifiers? (mild spoilers, no plot spoilers). Modifiers are positive or negative bonuses to the roll of an active check. Knowledge of events and completion of certain tasks or actions make some active checks significantly easier (or significantly harder) to succeed.

Some active checks can be re-attempted. Some cannot.

White checks can be re-attempted when you level up the relevant skill by at least one point. Some white checks can also be re-attempted when you learn new things from the people around you.

Passive checks are hidden checks that come up automatically as successful when you meet the skill levels for them. Passive checks come up all the time as you talk to people, click on orbs, etc. There are too many to list, and attempting to do so would defeat the purpose of playing the game.

XP and Skill Points

Tips on Earning XP

You earn varying amounts of XP from speaking with NPCs in the game and completing tasks. If you play the game normally (and follow the tips on skill point allocation), you will not run into problems.

There are three Thoughts in the game that allow you to gain more XP:

  • Thought #1: Jamais Vu (Derealization): +1 XP per orb clicked (To Acquire: Speak to Lena in Whirling-in-Rags about understanding your reality. Then speak to Joyce (Rich Lady), at the boat, north-west from Whirling-in-Rags).
  • Thought #2: Actual Art Degree: Passive Conceptualization checks give +10 XP (To Acquire: Talk about art with the people in Revachol. Once enough art-related dialogue options have been selected, the Thought will become available - which you should then opt-in).
  • Thought #3: Wompty-Dompty Dom Center: Passive Encyclopedia checks give +10 XP and +2 Real (To Acquire: Gain access to the coast on Day 3 by closing the gates near the waterway. Speak to the man and his son by the Feld Mural. The Mural is near the Boardwalk, west from the Fishing Village).

Tips on Skill Point Allocation

  • You don't have to spend your skill points immediately. It is better to save them for when you need to re-attempt white checks.
  • You can complete the game with just one Thought unlocked. You most likely will need to internalize the Volumetric S**t Compressor thought to proceed with the dead body.
  • You can complete the game with so many spare skill points that you don't know what to do with them. (See tips on earning XP).

Gameplay Tips

Tips on Gameplay

  • Time progresses only when you select dialogue options. Each line of dialogue advances time by 23 seconds.
  • There is no timeline of events that you must adhere to. Take the time to explore the game and enjoy it fully. There's no need to rush. The characters in-game may urge you to hurry up, but you don't actually have to.
  • Revachol works on a schedule. At 9 PM (21:00), you can end the day by going to bed. Most NPCs are gone (i.e. not at their usual locations) by 10 PM (22:00).

Achievement Tips [Spoilers]

Dialogue-related achievements will not be covered in this current version of the guide. They are relatively easy to obtain as all you need to do is talk more. Simply revisit past dialogue options and say them all.

Achievements not covered (at the time of writing):

  1. Biggest Communism Builder.
  2. The World's Most Laughable Centrist.
  3. Il Coppo Del'Arte!
  4. Hyperstellar Law Official.
  5. Baddest Hustler In The Neoliberal Hood.
  6. Literally The Sorriest Cop On Earth.
  7. Truly Rabid "Traditionalist".
  8. Unbelievably Boring F**k.
  9. The Lawbringer.
  10. The Opener Of The Eighth Seal.
  11. Expert Advanced Remote Viewer.
  12. Massive Torque Dork.

Goodest Of The Good Cops / Baddest Of the Bad Cops

In your ledger, this achievement is described by the "Good Cop / Bad Cop" statistic. For "Goodest Of The Good Cops", you need +10. For "Baddest Of the Bad Cops", you need -5. You can get both within a single game run. (Personally, I've hit +30, with a few minuses, in a single run).

Recruit Detective Kim Kitsuragi

Non-spoiler tip: Be patient.

After returning from the island, you will encounter your old task force. After proving your worth to them, you can recruit Lieutenant Kim to join Precinct 41.

The Figurines Won't Win Her Back

In the Pawnshop, interact with the cabinet to the right of the shop owner. Pass the Interfacing check to find a figurine. Buy the figurine for 0.50 Real. On the island, when you inspect the bed in the Flak Tower, you will gain a task to nap in the tower. Take that nap. In the dream sequence, offer the figurine to the woman.

Fairweather t-500 Vitreous Enamel

When speaking to Manana about the missing armour pieces, select option 2 that declares your intention to collect all the armour pieces. This is very important. You will gain the "Find all the armour pieces" task. Without this task, you will not be able to gain the achievement. Proceed with the game to find all the armour pieces.

Boots (Greaves)

Obtained from the hanged man. You must first get the body down from the tree. Once you have done this, you get the option to perform an autopsy. Before performing the autopsy, attempt to pull off the boots. Kim will reprimand you. Then proceed with the autopsy. If you have high enough Logic, you will get the Passive check to omit the boots from the autopsy - omit the boots. If you do not have high enough Logic, proceed as per normal. Once the autopsy is completed, send Kim away. Do this by pretending to go to sleep. Twist the boots off. Clean them up in the kitchen of Whirling-In-Rags.

Gloves (Gauntlets)

Speak to Cindy about the hanged man and the missing armour pieces. She will tell you about a little girl at the Fishing Village who may have the gloves. On Day 3, close the flood gates and gain access to the coast. Enter the house west of the Washerwoman and speak to the little girl about the gloves. She will reveal that it is buried in the destroyed sandcastle behind the house. Go pick it up. 

Chestpiece (Cuirass)

On Day 3, find the cryptozoologists on the west side of the coast. Speak to Gary. Chat with him (i.e. scare him enough) and with enough Perception / Composure, you will notice something is off. Pass the Perception / Composure active check and scare him into giving you the chestpiece.

Hat (Helmet)

Obtained on the island, after chatting with the Insulindian Phasmid. Equipping all four pieces of armour will complete the "Find all the armour pieces" task, thus gaining you the achievement.

Enemy Of The Physical Realm

There are more than five things you can "bang up" in the game:

  • Dumpster behind Whirling-In-Rags: On Day 1, do not ask for the dumpster key from Garte. Pick up the prybar from Kim's Kineema. Use it on the dumpster and fail the active check. Then kick the dumpster. (You may need high enough Half-Light, but I'm not sure).
  • Mailbox near the Bookstore: Kick it.
  • Warded Door at the back of the Bookstore: Bang it up. (You may need high enough Pain Threshold).
  • Tree east of Siileng: Accept the task from Egghead (from the Ravers group near the Church) to make the song harder core. Interacting with the tree allows you to pick up tape, and kick the tree. Kick the tree.
  • Furnace in the Doomed Commercial Centre: Kick it. Gain access through the back of the Bookstore.
  • Phone Booth at the Boardwalk: Dial random numbers multiple times until you reach the final number. Proceed with the dialogue options until you eventually punch the phone booth.
  • (Unconfirmed) Roof Door at Whirling-In-Rags: Kick it down.

The Most Honourable Cop in The Land

In your ledger, this achievement is described by the "Honour" statistic. You need 11 to get the achievement. (Personally, I've hit 14 in a single run).

  • The Sleeping Dockworker in Whirling-In-Rags: Must be done on Day 1, as the worker disappears after Day 1. Requires Interfacing of 4. The gloves from the Gardener gives you +1 Interfacing. Steal the pass and show it to Manana. Admit that you stole it, and then return it.
  • Kingdom of Conscience Thought: Before opting-in or ending the Thought, proceed through the dialogue options to find one that says something along the lines of "it'd be the honourable thing to do". You do not need to internalize the Thought.
  • Speak with Titus after the Tribunal: Tell him it was "honourable to fight with him". This gives +1 Honour. When talking about the Hardie Boys, there is another "honourable" dialogue option for another +1 Honour.
  • Rene's Medal: Requires high enough Drama. Must be completed before Day 4 or 5. When Rene offers you the medal, refuse it for +1 Honour.

Secret Achievements

The secret achievements are: "Gluten-Free Topping Pie" and "Recruit Detective Kuuno de Ruyter". For "Gluten-Free Topping Pie", see the above guide I linked to. For "Recruit Detective Kuuno de Ruyter", proceed with the Tribunal, do not warn Kim and let Kim be shot (I just died a little typing that). When you wake up, Cuno will be with you for the rest of the game. After returning from the island, convince the others to let Cuno become a junior officer.

Written by xyrilyn.

Game:   Disco Elysium