Review: The Sinking City (Epic Games Store)

The Sinking City is an action-adventure mystery horror video game developed by Frogwares and published by Bigben Interactive, inspired by the works of horror author H.P. Lovecraft.

Pros:

  • Decent graphics.
  • 35gb download size.
  • Controller support.
  • Graphics-resolution, v-sync, resolution quality preset.
  • Difficulty–3 for investigation and 3 for combat and are independent.
  • How to play section.
  • Tutorial pop-ups.
  • In engine cutscenes.
  • Decent voice work.
  • Chilling soundtrack.
  • Adventure gameplay with a strong detective/puzzle influence.
  • The city is like its own character.
  • The city is made up of like 60% of land and 40% water.
  • Fast travel points to find.
  • The game has no hand-holding at all.
  • Amazing creepy atmosphere.
  • Play how you want.
  • Able to see the “other side” thanks to your unique ability. Whilst in the other realm you can see re-enactments of interactions/events, find clues and get very basic navigation help.
  • Archives-found around the map and used as a database. You put in info parameters like area, time period, etc and get more information or hints.
  • Mind Palace-when you get clues you can group them together to make them deductions which you then get in order to solve the case. Finding clues will auto-fill the mind palace.
  • Crafting-ammo, health, items and you can loot materials from around the game world.
  • Living world with many people walking about their business.
  • Boat-used to traverse the waters.
  • Map-can place waypoints and has a clever marker system that is tied to missions and clues so in a way it gives you all the info in one go.
  • Massive map.
  • Loot/resources respawn.
  • Horror aspects with the odd jump scare.
  • Branching conversations with other characters.
  • Clues are generally an item found or when you watch back an event and you must put the sequence in order so you get the true facts. Getting this right will add it to your Mind Palace.
  • Combat is simplistic with you using weapons or melee.
  • Secrets to be found.
  • Does a really good job with the source material.

Cons:

  • Long load times.
  • With such minimal hand-holding or guidance of any type, you feel alone and frustratingly lost.
  • Vague clues.
  • A lot of back and forth.
  • No achievements or trophies.
  • One and done experience.
  • Crafting is constant.
  • Low ammo count.
  • Hit detection woes with melee in particular.
  • Slow-paced.

  • 8/10
    Graphics - 8/10
  • 9/10
    Sound - 9/10
  • 7/10
    Acessibility - 7/10
  • 7/10
    Length - 7/10
  • 8/10
    Fun Factor - 8/10
7.8/10

Summary

The Sinking City is a Love raft game that really nails the atmosphere and setting but more importantly tells a powerful story. It’s just such a shame you have to wade through so much detective work and guessing to even come close to satisfied. You get vague clues, crime scenes to put into some order so you can have the clue to then stick with another clue to make into a deduction to then get more deductions which then create a solution. Exhausted? Well, imagine instead of reading that you are actually playing it and for many many hours. Yes, games don’t need all the arrows and breadcrumbs in order to be good but it does need some way for you to actually stand a chance of finding clues. When I play it I get frustrated but when I describe it to friends I almost love it. It’s a marmite game that leans hard in one direction and its either for you or against you. For me, I can take it but only in much smaller chunks.

Jim Smale

Gaming since the Atari 2600, I enjoy the weirdness in games counting Densha De Go and RC De Go as my favourite titles of all time. I prefer gaming of old where buying games from a shop was a thing, Being social in person was a thing. Join me as I attempt to adapt to this new digital age!

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