The Sinking City (TSC) at its core is a detective game with elements of horror and it balances these very well. Unlike Deadly Premonition which I’ve reviewed previously TSC knows exactly what it is. The main part of the game involves the protagonist, private investigator Charles Reed, solving various crimes and mysteries for the inhabitants of Oakmont, a half sunken town, whilst also trying to uncover the mystery as to why he is getting strange visions. Doing this you must analyse clues to determine locations, figure out how things happened at crime scenes and defeat various horrific creatures. All of this gameplay is fun and relatively original, I haven’t seen a detective game like this that uses these kind of mechanics. When all clues have been uncovered you can view the Mind Palace where you can put clues together. It is here where you can side with different characters creating branching paths but I couldn’t see how the results would end up much different apart from which trophies you would get.
The story, as described earlier, is fun albeit a bit mediocre. It is easy to understand but doesn’t provide much in the way of twists and the like. I also found the ending highly underwhelming with no boss battle and a cutscene that just ended with the credits in a “oh I just completed the game, okay” moment. That may have just been the ending I chose. There were also a few side missions to help flesh out Oakmont which I found interesting but unfortunately there were only a few of these.
Graphics wise the game is solid and is what you would expect of a game of this generation but it doesn’t provide anything new or fancy and they won’t win any awards for their graphics here. The character enemy models are interesting if a bit similar, most of the characters lack distinct feature but have different enough personalities. There are also a small variety of enemies but this isn’t much of a problem. One of the main issues I had with the graphics was the fact that the draw distance was so poor, often to the point of areas and characters appearing in front of me all of a sudden because they hadn’t loaded in yet, this was also coupled with a few framerate issues.
The Sinking City probably isn’t going to win any awards, but it’s intuitive gameplay and intruiging story generally makes up for the lower graphics quality.
+ Cool detective gameplay
+ Fun horror elements
– Low quality of graphics