Review: The Sinking City

The Sinking City is an open-world horror adventure based on the HP Lovecraft universe. After seeing the trailers for The Sinking City, I was very curious about this game. Will we finally get a nice adventure again?

I had never heard of HP Lovecraft, he seems to be quite well known. HP Lovecraft was an American fantasy and horror writer. He lived from 1890 to 1937 and was not recognized as a writer until after his death. He is most famous for his Cthulhu Mythos.

Story

In The Sinking City, you play as Charles Reed, a veteran with ptsd, who now works as a private detective. Charles has suffered from visions and nightmares since the war, and he sets out to find the cause. This investigation takes him to the city of Oakmont. Here after a flood, everything weird and mysterious is going on. People have visions and disappear, weird beasts appear and more. You get almost no information at the start of the game and you will have to use your detective skills to find out more. I will not reveal anything further.

Operation successful, patient died

In the menu you will receive a casebook in which you can keep track of and research your cases. Here you will find your main and side cases including all the clues you have found. There is also the Mind Palace. Mind's Eye, a special ability associated with the visions, allows Charles to view an object and see the past. He can also go back in the past and see how everything happened. You then have to put these pieces of the past in the right order and you will receive new clues. These clues end up in the Mind Palace. Here you have to place 2 clues together to get a new clue.
It all sounds great until you play The Sinking City and notice that no skill is involved at all. All clues are easy to find and with Mind's Eye there are the so-called Omens that show you exactly the way. Which seems a bit redundant, because everything is already quite easy to find. There is also the Mind Palace. This is no more than clicking until you have found 2. No ashtrays for clues leading you in the wrong direction. There are also several archives where you can get information. Here you need 3 search criteria that you will also be presented with.

The basic idea of the game is good. If they had conveyed this properly in the game, this could have been a hit. Unfortunately, I think a lot of bad choices have been made.

battles

The fights do fall into the horror category, but not how you would think. I almost have nightmares of how badly this works. I know this isn't a shooter, but the mechanics of this game really suck. A hand weapon with which you strike very slowly. Every time you want to hit a beast you have to think about where it will be in two seconds. Shooting with a gun is also almost impossible. With his military history, you'd think Charles would have some gun skills. I avoid fighting as much as possible.

"Open" world

The map of The Sinking City is quite large. You can walk or sail freely. You can also choose which case you work on. All of this basically makes the game an open world. If you travel through Oakmont you will see a lot of doors and windows, and they are almost all closed anyway. For such a large map there is very little to see and go inside. Even doors that I could get through earlier closed at a later time.

Slowly

Slow is a word that fits perfectly with The Sinking City. First of all, you have to wait a long time for the game to load. Then, randomly, something has to be loaded into the world here and there. The conversations keep coming and are often endless and you want to skip it after a while. Not a smart idea because sometimes there is a clue. Then there's the controls. You can run but this is more like speed walking. So you have to speed walk through a large and quite empty folder. In the end you have fast travel locations in different places and fortunately you can move a little .

Graphics and sound

For this review I played The Sinking City on a base PlayStation 4 and graphically the game looks good enough. What I do regret is that the whole city looks more or less the same. Obviously I don't mean this literally, but a lack of variety makes it very repetitive. I would have liked each district to have had its own atmosphere. After a few hours of playing it started to get very boring.
The sound is positive. The effects and sounds give you goosebumps every now and then. Unfortunately, that soon passes when you see which monster appears.

Verdict

A game in which you can spend hours and have a feeling that you have achieved nothing. A bunch of bad mechanics with excruciatingly long conversations and mediocre graphics. The only positive thing I can say about The Sinking City is that the creepy atmosphere in the game is good.


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