Today, games based on the works of the famous American writer G.F. Lovecraft are gaining momentum more and more. Games based on the works of this author were popular in the early 2000s, however, and in recent years have reappeared in the industry. What this is connected with is difficult to assume, however, most likely the matter is in the mysteriousness and elaboration of the mysterious world of the writer with its huge monsters, horror and endless fear of the unknown. Of the latest projects on this topic, it is worth noting Call of Cthulhu of 2018, which, although it had the proper atmosphere of mysticism and suspense, but due to some gameplay flaws, it turned out to be a rather average project. What can you say about The Sinking City in this regard? Will the game revive interest in the mythology of Cthulhu, or is it just another medium-sized project that had good potential due to the original source, but then something went wrong?
Mysticism and unknown horror
Since we are talking about the main character of the detective, let’s go over the plot a little. The game, like almost all of Lovecraft’s works, takes place in the 20s of the last century. The protagonist here is called Charles Reed, and he, as already mentioned, works as a private detective. Reed has a very difficult fate, as he is the only survivor on the mysterious ship “Cyclops”, which disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle. These events had a key impact on the psyche and reason of the protagonist, which is why he regularly suffers from hallucinations and visions. Reed arrives in the small town of Oakmont to investigate another case. The city is almost completely cut off from the outside world, and its locals began to slowly go crazy due to unknown mystical forces, along the way becoming less and less like people. And it is in such conditions that we must not only conduct investigations, but also find out the secret of the town and what forces are behind the changes in Oakmont.
What I want to note in the game is the good atmosphere and graphics. The town really seemed to have descended from the pages of another Lovecraft story with its fogs, ancient buildings and streets, general gloom, as well as ugly inhabitants who are increasingly moving away from the human race. If you value the good atmosphere in games most of all, and even more so if you are a fan of Lovecraft’s work, then The Sinking City will pleasantly surprise you. And this despite the fact that the game has a pretty good, albeit small, open world, fully accessible for research. Like a real detective, you must communicate with the characters, look for clues and comb almost every pebble in Oakmont in search of answers to certain questions that arise during the investigation.
We work like Sherlock
First of all, I would like to note that the developer of the game is the Ukrainian studio Frogwares, which is known primarily for the games of the series “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes”. This means that the gameplay in The Sinking City will be very similar to the games about the famous English detective. Is it good? Probably, after all, yes, because the games of the aforementioned series have a rather interesting gameplay in terms of conducting an investigation and therefore the presence of some mechanics in this game will be very appropriate, the more the main character here is also a detective, albeit less well-known and less adequate …
Charles Reed can carry out quite mundane procedures for any detective: research evidence, communicate with townspeople, look for items in locations, etc. However, in the course of his psychological trauma on the ship, the protagonist also discovered supernatural abilities, giving him the ability to solve riddles and obtain the necessary information and information when, it would seem, the next investigation is at an impasse. Reed can immerse himself in the events of the past, see what others do not see, and much more. All these mechanics that help us solve riddles are well done in the game. In principle, the “detective” part of the game can be considered a plus, although there are no too complicated puzzles or particularly intricate investigations, solving the secrets of Oakmont is, at the very least, interesting and exciting.
The game is spoiled a little by the monotony and protractedness of some quests. Most of the tasks involve the standard “give-and-bring”, and some of the secondary tasks are already very imposing and seem annoying. So we go to a still unfamiliar NPC just to ask about some person, and he immediately asks us to do something in order to get an answer to our question. It looks somehow even a little ridiculous. Unfortunately, behind all this abundance of monotonous missions, the mysticism and atmosphere of Lovecraft is lost, when it seems that you are about to face something terrible and terrible, against which you will be absolutely powerless. The flow of such assignments and assignments turns the game into a rather banal detective story with notes of mysticism and magic, leaving only very small hints that the game is actually based on Lovecraft’s work, which means that we must be constantly scared in it.
But if the investigation and passage of quests in the game still arouses interest and curiosity, then the action component of the game is performed at a very low level. Shooting in the game is pretty boring, boring and monotonous. The animation of monsters and people during battles looks unconvincing, and the process of the battle itself, be it a firefight from any type of weapon or a melee fight, can hardly captivate anyone. It is worth noting that such claims would be insignificant if the main emphasis in the game was placed precisely on investigations and solving mysteries, and the shootings in the game could be counted on one hand. However, unfortunately for The Sinking City, the developers decided to add too much action and shootouts in the game, which had a very negative impact on it.
In general, the game is a fairly average project from the creators of good detective stories, which lacks a lot and has a number of flaws. Tasks and quests in The Sinking City are monotonous, which is why the whole atmosphere and mysticism in the later stages disappears, the battles in the game are boring and not interesting. However, at the same time, the game is very well done visually, investigations are also well done in it, and mysticism with suspense is present at the initial stages, and exploring the small town of Oakmont is interesting and enjoyable. From what was not said in the main part of the review, I would like to note the presence of loot and a simple crafting system, which is especially unremarkable, and there are more than enough items and cartridges in the later stages of the game. To sum up, we have a pretty average good project that will appeal to lovers of Lovecraft with its mysticism, as well as those who do not mind spending a couple of hours in a good open world investigating various kinds of cases. If at the same time you are also ready for boring action, then the game is definitely for you. Otherwise, the choice is yours.
LID2PRO reviewer verdict
The game has an interesting open world in the form of a small town with its investigations of cases, a good atmosphere, especially at the beginning. But the presence of monotonous quests and boring action makes itself felt.
The visual component of The Sinking City looks pretty good, especially with regard to the elaboration of locations, but nevertheless, the graphics in the game cannot be called the most modern.
As far as the soundtrack is concerned, the game can’t really stand out. There is a fairly average voice acting with melodies here, but the sound in the game can hardly be considered its strong point.
Good and high-quality investigations using the hero’s supernatural abilities can be quite captivating, as can the plot with the atmosphere. However, the monotony of battles and the routine of some tasks greatly affect the experience of the game.
Whether it’s boring shooting, searching for clues or exploring locations – all this in the game is easy and simple, thanks to convenient and intuitive controls. In this regard, there are no complaints about The Sinking City in this regard.
Not a bad game based on the work of Lovecraft with a classic for such works of the main character and a good atmosphere of horror and mysticism. Unfortunately, the bad action component and the incompleteness of some missions turns this game with an initially very high potential into a rather average, albeit a very good project.