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The Sinking City Pits A Lone Detective Against A World Ending Threat

The Sinking City is a detective story set in a doomed city. Players will arrive in a city where past tensions are only made worse by an unnatural flood. This is more than narrative dressing as players will need to travel mostly by boat. The lovecraftian influence is immediately obvious and lends an ever present ominous atmosphere. The city of Oakmont is nearly demolished and the player is left to discover what could possibly be the reason. 


The story itself is interesting. From the first moments, players are immersed into a world of dark mysticism. Normal creatures are twisted into monsters. Cult members openly prowl the street. There’s also tension separate from the dreams plotline, which makes the city feel as though it actually has history. When the occult elements start to come in it’s simply another layer. Players aren’t stuck waiting for the “good” part. The Sinking City does bring up issues of prejudice, but players are warned before the game starts. Also these characters often have sinister motives as well. This makes the characters feel complex and alive in a game that does have its flaws.

The gameplay on the other hand is more touch and go. The Sinking City gives players very little information. Objectives aren’t clearly listed and players are sometimes given obscure hints about where to go; like “go to the corner of x and x to get to the [location]”. While it adds some realism to a pre-GPS world it also adds an unnecessary level of frustration. A lot of time will be spent in boats as players shuttle from one spot of dry land to another. It makes the overall experience equally fun and chore-like. Potentially running in circles instead of going directly to the next location can make the game overstay its welcome. And that’s without mentioning the underwater segment.

This is a survival horror game. Most of the enemies players will encounter will force them to run rather than fight. This puts players in the habit of fleeing, but this “rule” will change with little notice. To clear certain areas a fight can’t be avoided. Clunky movements make the guns feel almost useless. At the beginning the pistol doesn’t even feel effective against the first creature players encounter. This makes any amount of fighting something to dread. It also drains tension and ruins the “horror” atmosphere.

The Sinking City captures a dreary snapshot before Oakmont becomes a battleground. It gives the players atmosphere in spades. But the clunky combat drains any tension once aggressive monsters show up. The NPCs have as much chance to add some depth as they are to have one repeating line. The Sinking City implements a feature well as often as it stumbles. However, it had such an intriguing twist and showed a deep understanding of what’s unsettling that I still look forward to what Frogwares does with the sequel.

Dia Tucker

Hello, fellow adventurers! I’m Dia Tucker, dwelling amidst the vibrant cultures and landscapes of the United States. My journey into the mesmerizing universes hidden within video games began in the whimsical days of my childhood. The epic narratives of the "Mass Effect" and "Elder Scrolls" series have always held a special place in my heart, guiding me through countless worlds and experiences. When I’m not crafting tales through words, you’ll find me delving into the boundless realms of MMOs, embarking on quests, and forging memories with companions from every corner of the globe. I invite you to join me as I share stories, insights, and adventures from both the pixelated worlds and the realms I create with words.

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