With the release date coming up soon, I’m taking a look at some big The Sinking City features in our preview. This new adventure meets horror game, heads to PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC on 27 June 2019.
I’m breaking down what’s to look forward to here.
We’re looking at everything from the unique setting of a flooded to the blend of horror and investigation gameplay. You’ll also be able to enjoy plenty of trailers and gameplay as you go through.
Take a look and don’t forget to leave me a comment if you’re picking this up, yes or no! If you are on mobile, view this as One Page Here.
5Adventure meets horror, meets Lovecraft
If you are familiar with the developer, you will know what to expect in terms of gameplay in The Sinking City. The team behind Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter are getting there investigative ideas behind a new IP.
One that is set in the world of H.P. Lovecraft and his famous, Weird Tales. This includes the main famous works of the Cthulhu fiction.
With that we are going to get a mixture of different elements. One that brings in classic adventure and puzzle solving gameplay but with some dark looking horror elements too.
You’ll be using your notebook and skills as an investigator to find out what has been happening. NPC characters will be needing you to solve things they can’t. And hopefully, this will help you find out why these monsters have descended upon the city.
While one of the other The Sinking City features down the page looks at the monsters here. Predominantly, the focus of the game will be solving the mystery of the city and it’s inhabitants.
I’m personally interested to see where they go with the mixture of gameplay. I would normally say that the style of Frogwares is on the same as a point-and-click adventure at times.
But they have done a really good job of mixing that with 3D movement and exploration in previous titles too. It’s the same here in terms of navigation, especially with this going more open-world.
While investigation gameplay is key, we’re are also in for some jump-scare moments and some confrontations with Cthulhu inspired monsters.
This should bode well for a healthy mix of gameplay elements, making it appeal to more gamers potentially. Although, I do expect it to be still a little slow paced for some players out there.
A little clue to this one is in the title. The city is sinking, meaning we are going to be heading into a boat in this one! Not involving Mimir and his stories, sadly.
But what the game will involve is a fully open world map with areas that are only accessible with your boat.
You are in the 1920s during the game in The City of Oakmont, Massachusetts. This strange flood is described as both physical and metaphysical. Meaning it’s both real and in breach of the normal rules of reality.
Sounds like I’d rather not go for a swim in it that’s for sure!
Charles Reed, the main character, is a detective and investigating what is happening around the city. The issue is, his own mental problems (more on those later) are causing him problems as he is slowing going insane, along with everything in the world around him.
The others in the city make him look pretty normal, however. They have lost their minds to what is happening, and in many cases turned pretty nasty themselves. You will be investigating what the hell is going on this city to help them. And yourself in the process it seems.
Of The Sinking City features coming up, the setting was the one that makes me really interested in the title. Frogwares have gone full open-world this time too, plus the flooded setting and haunted feeling to the city makes for a great setting.
While I’m somewhat worried about the insanity and way the inhabitants might feel a little cheesy. That all comes down to the writing and performances of the actors.
A smaller team delivering an open world could open this one up to being a bit buggy. But I’d much rather a few glitches here and there than all the loading screens seen in the Sherlock games.
It’s certainly a big step forward for this team to attempt something this bold.
3Investigation without “hand-holding”
There is always a balance to manage in any game. In adventures like this one, it’s the sense of challenge in figuring out the puzzles or answering a riddle.
In The Sinking City, the developers are suggesting there is very little hand-holding as you investigate what’s going on. No markers automatically appearing where you need to go.
Instead, it’s about finding things out. Speaking with people and finding clues to where to go for the answers.
However, there are different kinds of markers here. Key structures and signs around the city to observe will come up in clues or as you get into conversations. Or signs around doors to let you know something lies within.
You also have a toolkit available, including your investigator’s notebook. A lot like you’d see in L.A. Noire. Plus “mind’s eye” a vision of the reality of the world that lets you see the past, and put events together to figure out exactly what happened.
I’m on the side that games should provide a decent challenge. I like that we can have an adventure that makes you feel more like you have to solve something, rather than navigating you through the game constantly.
Balance is the key though. The last thing anyone wants is to be in an open-world completely lost for how to move the game forward.
There is the option to make the game easier or more challenging though apparently. So for those wanting to play mainly for the story, you will have that option to make it more accessible.
Always a good move to have an option for everyone.
2Fantastical beasts and where to find them
One key part of The Sinking City features is the monsters, creatures and gunplay you will be involved in during the adventure. This is a reasonably new concept to Frogwares.
Previous titles have employed some form of action sequences of course, but often in a more QTE style moments. But here, there be monsters!
We’ll be going into manifestations of the madness surrounding the city. Ones that will attack you on sight, and even work with together with different varieties of creatures to stop you.
But are these the biggest monsters in the game? It seems like the biggest ones might be in your mind here. How that all works out we’ll explore next.
It’s tricky to make an investigation game that focuses on traditional adventure game mechanics more widely accessible to people. It’s even harder to bring in new audiences too.
So to see the game as open-world and bringing in some challenges beyond just solving a puzzle is pleasing.
While I don’t expect it ever to become the main focus of the game, it’s nice to know it won’t just be wandering around between solving the next puzzle.
Saying that, adding something like this into the gameplay means there needs to be some quality behind it. Guns need to feel right, much like in the L.A. Noire action scenes, with that Rockstar feel to the shooting.
Being new, this might be an area of the game that’s more unpolished than others. But could really make the game more appealing to people if they get it right.
1A story of insanity
As you can see from the video, things are a little crazy here! Our final of these The Sinking City features is the story that revolves around the city, the main character and insanity.
Private Detective Charles Reed is your protagonist. And the madness around him is not the only thing that’s struggling to keep-it-together.
The forces that are impacting the world are also driving you mad. It means odd things keep happening like tentacles coming out of your face while shaving (you don’t see that in Gillette commercials usually!).
This mental issues you have do come in handy at times though. You can use your connection to the madness to find clues, solve puzzles and progress through the story.
It will be interesting to see how they drive this to decide how much is the world affecting your character. Or just how much it’s you affecting the world.
In a world going mad, so are you. It makes sense for that to be happening and gives some decent direction on the story. Even opening up some different endings and twists on the narrative.
There is the worry, like a few things here, it could feel a little on the cheesy side. So I do hope the writing and the performances are good enough to really sell what’s going on as something genuinely dark and serious.
With this also working to give you some interesting abilities, it works nicely to have you be the only one that can solve what’s truly happening to the city, however. It should make for some unexpected moments that’s for sure.
Thoughts on The Sinking City Ahead of Launch
Personally, I am pleased to see this change of tone from Frogwares. They have done a very good job making Sherlock Holmes games over the years. With each game improving on that last.
Over the series, they brought the same sense of adventure and investigation gameplay, but in a more modern way. Especially with the titles coming to console and playing really well on PS4 and Xbox One.
With The Sinking City, I am expecting some similarities of course. But this is also a time to break free of the Sherlock formula. With a new style and new characters, I hope to see something that really does feel unique.
The setting and concept I like. It’s got a dark feeling about it and the Cthulhu storyline should make for an entertaining and freaky experience.
Gameplay wise it may be slower paced than the standard action-adventure game out there. But saying that, there are some monsters and gunplay in the title, so it could be more fast-paced than your traditional adventure title.
Thankfully my review will be starting ahead of release and I will be able to bring some detailed thoughts from closer to launch. I have a positive feeling about The Sinking City from what I’ve seen so far, however.
It will be aiming for a more niche audience, appealing to those who like the pace of an L.A. Noire [Switch review] or their previous, Sherlock games. But I do think there could be enough change to also attract a few more gamers too.
More coming on The Sinking City on MGL soon.
Will you be getting The Sinking City?
After all that, what do you think? Are you picking up The Sinking City when it comes out? Undecided? Let me know what you think in the comments below.
If you have questions on the game, drop those in the comments too. I will answer what I can around the embargo rules etc.
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