The Sinking City is an action, investigation game that takes place in the 1920’s era in Oakmont, Massachusetts. Inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft, players take the role of Private Detective, Charles Reed – a troubled soul investigating the cause of an unnatural, somewhat supernatural flood.
From the get-go, you are thrown right into the action, after a short but intriguing cutscene you will be entrusted with your very first investigation – and what a start to the game it is. Without giving too much away it eases you into the mechanics and controls of the game quite steadily, giving you a chance to learn the ins and outs before getting to the nitty-gritty, so to speak.
It’s safe to say that The Sinking City is more ‘investigation’ then it is ‘action’ but that’s fine. It was quite refreshing to play something that differs from the norm. You will spend a big chunk of the game, well, investigating? Very similar to that of past Sherlock Holmes games you will be searching for evidence, reading various documents and speaking to vital characters to help progress through the story. One thing I loved, dialogue choices. I love that little bit of choice. I know, it’s the simple things.
The Sinking City has a gameplay mechanic similar to that of Murdered: Soul Suspect – Charles Reed is able to use what’s known as ‘Retrocognition’ in order to recreate past events and see things that you can’t see with the naked eye, allowing you to reconstruct various ‘crime scenes’.
Another cool mechanic in-game is your ‘Mind Palace’. A place where every piece of evidence and/or information you have uncovered for each case is stored. In your Mind Palace, you combine clues in order to come to a conclusion based on what you have uncovered and in some cases, choose a specific outcome; lie or tell the truth about what you uncovered. Choosing one or the other will have a different outcome for that particular story arc.
There is combat in The Sinking City but honestly, it’s nothing to shout about. Aiming your guns seems extremely awkward and I found it difficult to aim at an enemy in time to actually hit it before it jumped closer to me. The combat just felt very clunky and lacklustre.
With The Sinking City being an open-world game you are pretty much free to explore wherever you see fit; meeting characters, killing monsters and just good old sight-seeing – and what a world it is to see, but more on that later!
It is quite a big city to explore and with the only form of transport
You can also upgrade Charles Reed’s skills throughout the game from earning EXP through doing various things. The skill tree is set out into 3 categories; Combat Proficiency, Vigor and Mind. Combat Proficiency focuses on improving combat skills, Vigor increases Charles’ physical strength, health and ammo capacity and finally, Mind takes care of Charles’ mental health and crafting skills.
Okay, I have to tell you the bad parts of The Sinking City. That’s what I’m here for, I guess. Unfortunately, there are a lot of glitches present. I encountered many in my single playthrough; characters repeating speech, certain doors not opening, walking into a building and the screen going black but you can still hear everything that’s happening. Like I say, a lot and it can get quite annoying.
Let’s get back to the good stuff, The Sinking City does look great. The attention to detail outstanding. The city is strewn with the remnants of the flood; strange creatures flood the streets, the memories of the families that lived here float atop the water. The game’s soundtrack is fitting for the gloomy look and gives the game that added eerie feel.
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