The Sinking City is an adventure and investigation game set in an open world inspired by the universe of H. P. Lovecraft, the master of Horror.
The half-submerged city of Oakmont is gripped by supernatural forces. You’re a private investigator, and you have to uncover the truth of what has possessed the city… and the minds of its inhabitants.
It’s great to finally have a game that seems to put you right in the middle of one of H. P. Lovecraft’s worlds… that sense of strangeness that lies over everything like a fog that draws you in and embraces you in the oddness of it all is quite compelling. Best played at night with the lights off to truly become immersed in the world of The Sinking City.
Even with its (few) flaws, The Sinking City manages to shine right where other games of the same genre have failed to impress. It doesn’t abuse jumpscare and useless boss fights, but instead Frogwares focused on a well thought out and engaging investigative system and on pleasant action parts, which naturally lead the player to discover the monstrosities of the abyss and to bitterly repent of their own curiosity.
The Sinking City has an incredible atmosphere that really grips the darkest parts of your mind. Oakmont feels hostile, unwelcoming and full of secrets, but the game makes it clear that it might cost more than just your life to find out what they are. While it stumbles with its characters and combat, The Sinking City is a great first step into the supernatural detective game.
It’s clear The Sinking City tries to punch its weight with triple-A’s but overstretches itself. The fundamental lack of polish is problematic in light of its blockbuster RRP. But if nothing else, I feel it has the makings of a new cult classic.
The Sinking City is a near-miss, and a unique foray into surivival horror. It doesn’t coddle you, and it certainly doesn’t do any hand-holding, which makes it a unique detective outing let down in its execution by a number of tiny flaws. A sequel that focuses on making cases less humdrum, and cuts back on the combat, could be a hell of an offering for devout fans of the detective genre. The game isn’t bad, but it’s hard to care about what you’re doing when many cases in The Sinking City are so banal.
For the entire game you’ll have the feeling that something significant is going to happen soon – but it won’t. Story never takes a sharp turn, every interesting character is introduced in the first third of the game and there are no meaningful rewards to find in Oakmont openworld. [Issue#239, p.56]
The Sinking City is well worth playing for the initial rhythm of its casework and the freshness of its setting, but its mechanics, like its mystery, end up flooded.