You thought your daily commute is bad? Try being a citizen of Oakmont, their streets are flooded and things are starting to get crazy, figuratively and literally! Frogwares and Bigben Interactive were kind enough to allow me to experience their game that’s flooding with Lovecraftian horrors like the streets of Oakmont. I present to you, The Sinking City.
In this third-person RPG, you take on the role of former U.S. Navy Sailor turned Private Eye Charles S. Reed. Reed came to the fictional island of Oakmont to find answers to his nightmares and visions he’s been having since the war as it appears many people on the island are experiencing the same phenomenon. Upon arriving at the island, Reed learns that the city is falling into ruin as a great flood has taken place and strange creatures are coming from the flood waters and a mysterious force is calling to those inflicted with nightmares and visions…
Onto the game itself! There’s an RPG system in this, meaning you earn points that allow you to upgrade Reed’s abilities. There’s also a crafting system where you must make your own ammunition for your weapons as well as health from items you scavenge throughout your exploration of the island.
Speaking of exploration, the map system in the game is quite tricky and can be frustrating to use. Normally in open world games when you have a mission or objective, it pops up on the map automatically for you, sorry not this time! You’re made to read notes pertaining to missions where they tell you which street you got to go to.
The controls for the game can be a bit challenging, I find it hard to aim during combat but slowly I’m getting used to it, thankfully you can access controller layout as well as gameplay help anytime as there’s no real tutorial from the start.
There is some issue with the sound when it comes to the cinematic scenes as sound and action are out of sync, this only happened to me at the introduction and has not happened again, so fingers crossed it was just a hiccup but some cases the dialogue is cut off towards the end of a sentence which is annoying.
The biggest thing about the game that’s pretty much the core of it is the heavy Lovecraft theme. If you’re a fan of his works you will pick up on references being used as street names, businesses titles, artwork and statues around the city. Without giving too much away, one of the main characters in the game has striking features that would make him appear to have been from the Jermyn family.
Also, Lovecraft fans will be happy to know that there’s a heavy presence of “Innsmouthers”, refugees from the city of Innsmouth that was destroyed. Due to their unique appearance, the Innsmouthers face racial prejudice. There’s also a heavy presence of references to the book The King in Yellow which influenced Lovecraft who made references to the fictional malevolent being The King in Yellow in some of his stories.
Overall, once you get used to controls and how the overall mechanics work for the game, it becomes a lot of fun. I love open world games anyway so the fact this is open world and requires exploration tentacleling my fancy… yes, that was an octopus/Cthulhu pun! The graphics are alright, they could be smoother but once you get involved in the story it becomes irrelevant. The Sinking City was made with Lovecraft fan’s in mind but sadly it both does and doesn’t disappoint.
Its story/plot, dedication to staying true to the (Lovecraft) source material, and gameplay help it rank well on my scale but with its complex map, combat aiming, sound issues, similar plot elements to the Call of Cthulhu game, and the lackluster endings of the game after all the in-game buildup hurts it a lot. On my scale of five stars, regardless of the fun I had, I can’t ignore the negatives, it’s a 3.5