Since its very first announcement, The Sinking City has always been able to attract the attention of an audience constantly looking for new experiences with a distinctly horror taste with which to have fun. That of Frogswares it is in fact a team that has always bet all its cards on investigative experiences capable of keeping the gamers glued to the screen - not for nothing we are talking about the creators of the vast saga starring Sherlock Holmes - and the idea that their talent would be put at the service of a production with distinctly Lovecraftian themes, it could only galvanize us all even more. The wait was long and tiring, there were delays but in the end the big moment arrived and after receiving a copy of the work, we launched into the rotten and sick world of The Sinking City to study every detail carefully. . If you too are curious to find out if the creature of Frogwares really deserves an opportunity, all you have to do is continue reading our review
Journey into the abyss
Charles Reed is a private investigator afflicted by terrible visions that have irremediably turned his life upside down. Voices whispering his death, hands trying to grab him, huge monstrosities ready to devour him, wherever he turns it seems that someone - or something - wants to hurt him. In an attempt to discover the meaning of these tricks of the mind, Reed ends up discovering the existence of Oakmont, a town in Massachusetts not marked on maps and forgotten by the whole world. The town, once a splendid place full of life, is today only a faded reminder of what it was in the past. At the beginning of the 19th century, a terrible flood destroyed a large part of the area - with substantial parts of the city still immersed in the depths of the sea -, a catastrophic event which, however, was followed by many others. The flood has in fact dragged with it hideous creatures ready to devour any unfortunate while violent hallucinations are slowly driving anyone who is still alive to madness.
In such a hostile place and where visitors are certainly not frowned upon, our Reed will then embark on a long and meticulous search to find the coveted truth, be it earthly or beyond the reach of the human eye. A few minutes of play are enough to understand that the narrative sector is clearly the highlight of the adventure, a succession of well-told and intriguing events that manage to keep in suspense for its entire duration. The team has in fact decided not to waste time on unnecessary pleasantries, rather launching the player in the middle of the action, with important revelations that come up right from the tutorial. Well-characterized characters come together in a dark and ghostly stage universe made of visions and hideous beings that will haunt you for the entire game. Playing The Sinking City exudes a sick air that draws full inspiration from the stories of HP Lovecraft, an attractive and at the same time disturbing general mood where the more you play, the more you want to find out where everything will go.
From a more properly playful profile, The Sinking City showcases a particularly refined investigative spirit and fused with action mechanics in which to make one's weapons sing. Basically, the whole adventure is a huge case to be solved that will force you to make good use of your gray matter. This is understood from the very first playful moments, when one realizes that the vast game map does not present indications of any kind - except for specific buildings useful for gathering information -, leaving the player with the arduous task of orienting himself. time after time. When you start a mission, you will find yourself having to figure out how to move using the clues at your disposal. To give a practical example, during our game we were instructed to find a university professor of whom we knew only a little information. When we reached the town hall, we then started an internal search in the city registers to find out more information on the man in question, thus becoming aware of the fact that the individual lives at the intersection of two roads. Taking the map and after a meticulous search, step by step, we finally discovered the exact spot where the teacher resided and at that point we were able to go and meet him.
In short, it is already possible to understand how The Sinking City is not a title that wants to hold the player by the hand rather, preferring this to make do and come to his own conclusion by exploiting his abilities. Often and willingly we will find ourselves having to collect clues through which to reconstruct specific events, a real mental map in which to connect notions that we have collected to reach important conclusions. An interesting detail of these playful phases concerns the possibility of being able to reach several profoundly different deductions from each other, which could lead to unforeseen situations and capable of heavily modifying the already precarious situation in which the city of Oakmont finds itself. From time to time we will even be asked to put in order a series of visions of the past to reconstruct certain situations, all in order to have a clearer picture of the situation. The visions that began to haunt Charles Reed's mind also brought him a particular gift, a sort of look into another world with which to vividly observe memories of the past, a useful tool to see hidden details and capable of overturning our judgments on any investigation. Indeed, in this case the developers wanted to play a little safer trying to meet the players to avoid possible exaggeratedly frustrating phases and making it clear when and where it is best to use their secret skills.
The Sinking City, however, is not a title in which you just go from one area to another trying to get to the head of some mystery, but it also offers the possibility to fight against the many enemies that will appear in front of you. The vast land of Oakmont will in fact be freely explorable - as for any self-respecting open-world - and it will bring you into contact with a wide range of creatures just eager to get your skin. Four weapons will come to your rescue that you can use freely during the adventure and with which you will be able to face all that evil will throw at you. Be careful, though, as the flood that hit the country forced its inhabitants to reuse bartering as their primary means of purchasing goods, and guess what the new currency is? Exactly, the very small and precious bullets that you have painstakingly obtained. Fortunately, there is also a simple crafting system in-game with which to build bullets, traps, medkits and kits to give a minimum of peace to your sanity - represented by a bar that will decrease as you come into contact with the horrors. born from the bare earth of the area - but the fact remains that the resources will always be rather thin and will lead you several times to ask yourself what is the right tactic to put into practice.
Precisely because of the great importance that has been given to the shooting component, we are therefore sorry to have to ascertain how the work is not able to show off a worthy gunplay of the name, imprecise and less fun than we would have expected, especially due to a barely perceptible physicality of the bullets. Certainly could not miss the classic skill tree to improve your skills through experience points with which to level up, all within three specific branches with offensive and defensive improvements. The Sinking City also puts in place a whole long series of secondary missions that can be tackled at will, more or less complex activities that will give a few additional hours of fun to a satisfactorily lasting single-player product. From a more purely technical point of view, the creature of Frogwares is characterized by a work with some highs and many lows. The software house has clearly made art design and character design its distinctive features, with evocative settings, visually fascinating characters and - not always - majestic creatures. The city of Oakmont manages to strike fear in its state of total decay and the various structures that compose it - twisted and abandoned to themselves - offer wonderfully gloomy views. In contrast, however, playing on a basic Playstation 4 we witnessed a terribly dancing frame-rate which was often followed by real freezes, exaggeratedly long and frequent loads, delays in loading the textures, animations often rather dated and a polygonal counts not always at the top. On the other hand, from the sound point of view, The Sinking City sports an excellent English dubbing with Spanish subtitles and a soundtrack whose tracks are never too flashy always hit at the right moment.