The Sinking City is a detective horror adventure that would leave both Lovecraft and Sherlock Holmes games excited to see what this new game has to offer. The game has a compelling narrative and the design of the monsters is fantastic; however, that is not enough to keep me interested and engaged due to the mediocre open world and tedious combat system.
The idea of an open city where you have to find clues and scavenge for crafting materials is a potentially interesting design choice, but the city is stretched way too much. It feels like I spend more time traveling looking for what I need to do as opposed to actually doing it. The visuals lack polish in general as well. While the move to Unreal 4 is appreciated, the animations are very jerky and the constant waving around is very immersion breaking.
While gunplay is not supposed to be this game’s strength, the combat is extremely clunky and frustrating at times. There is no indicator whether or not you are doing any damage to creatures. Even when firing at enemies from point blank range I still have the lingering doubt that I am shooting through them. Some actual blood splatter and stronger impact sound effects would go a long way there. Movement is a chore as well. I get stuck on terrain constantly and climbing over things is inconsistent. The Field of View is also far too narrow and flat.
I am happy that the writing and voice acting are of high quality which usually isn’t the case in these types of games. The actual detective work in The Sinking City is also great even if it is the same as previous Frogwares games. There is a big emphasis on making sure you find and put the clues together correctly or else you may reach the wrong conclusions and have people suffer because of it. This is a design choice I greatly appreciate and respect in such a detective adventure game.
The main problem in The Sinking City is that in order to get to the parts of the game that really shine, you need to play through the other disappointing aspects of the game. Namely, the tiresome open-world travel and clunky combat can cause many players to grow frustrated with the game and stop playing entirely. There is also a lot to like in the game but unfortunately, that is not enough to help the game become great.
GameRev was provided with a digital download code for the purpose of this review.