Mixed or average reviews - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 34
  2. Negative: 3 out of 34
Buy On
  1. Jun 25, 2019
    The Sinking City is paradoxically teeming with life and things to do while atmospherically making you feel alone and unsafe. The revamped investigation systems rely on your own powers of deduction and the combat is both tense and nerve-wracking. Save for the graphical issues, The Sinking City is heart-pounding, unrelenting, and addictive. Its powers of immersion and fear are not to be overlooked, and fans of eldritch horror, Cthulhu, and things that go bump in the night will definitely be satisfied playing in the dark.
  2. Jun 26, 2019
    The Sinking City is obviously not a complete open-world action adventure title, but it offers enough to keep you engaged with some solid story and atmosphere, great characters, wonderful modeling of the city of Oakmont, and that strange feeling that you would expect from H.P. Lovecraft works. If you can skip past some of the game's shortcomings, you'll get to experience something that you never did before.
  3. Jun 25, 2019
    It’s not a particularly pleasant experience—but it is uncompromisingly captivating.
  4. Jun 25, 2019
    I had also hoped for a thrilling thriller and that's exactly what I got.
  5. Jun 25, 2019
    The Sinking City struggles under the weight of its ambition, but it’s compelling mysteries and horrific world make it a compelling journey.
  6. Jun 26, 2019
    There is so much to enjoy about the title that one can overlook the various combat blunders and need of day-one patches. Having received early access to the title for this review, The Sinking City has some optimization bugs to work out, but that doesn't impact the quality of the title (in the digital age, everything gets a day-one patch anyway). Despite these shortcomings, the title is a must-play for fans of detective thrillers, puzzle-solving, and cosmic horror. Dive into The Sinking City and welcome our Cthulhu overlords with open arms.
  7. Jul 1, 2019
    When it comes to detective games, The Sinking City features some of the best gameplay that I've ever experienced in the genre. That being said, it could definitely use a lot more fine-tuning to iron out its less desirable qualities.
  8. Jun 26, 2019
    Besides the primitive battle system and the technical shortcomings, The Sinking City is a solid investigation experience with a compelling story that provides hours of case solving.
  9. 75
    Some issues hold me back from giving The Sinking City full marks, but I still recommend it. Whether you’re a fan of Lovecraft, horror in general, or even a good old mystery, you may get a lot out of Frogware’s latest.
  10. Jun 25, 2019
    Even if it doesn’t succeed at everything it’s trying, The Sinking City has a lot of personality. The investigation isn’t as free as we were promised it would be, and the fighting are weak. But it’s a strong game with good writing.
  11. Jul 1, 2019
    Despite all of its various shortcomings, The Sinking City still gets a lot right, and it kept me coming back. I became determined to solve the cases, discover the hidden areas of Oakmont, unlock the additional in-game costumes, and just explore. Even though the gameplay stumbles often, for me there was still enough here in terms of story and content, to keep going, and I enjoyed myself more oft than not. Ultimately, I think that with some patching, The Sinking City could really be a stand out title, easily one of or the best AA games this year. But as it plays now, The Sinking City is fairly rough around the edges and might will test your patience and sense of leniency for its shortcomings.
  12. Jun 25, 2019
    The Sinking City is a faithful adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft´s universe, and has some interesting mechanics, but the game has many technical flaws and the open world structure feels "empty".
  13. Jul 10, 2019
    The Sinking City Is a pretty good adventure game, with a good universe, but the open world feature is annoying and the game suffers from multiple graphic diseases.
  14. 70
    The Sinking City shows a real lack of polish but the investigations provide a likeable adventure. I found cases to be engrossing and the politics of Oakmont, whilst well-travelled and strictly Lovecraftian, give the city a sense of place. The combat is cumbersome but those keen on the sleuthing might be encouraged to tolerate it.
  15. Jun 25, 2019
    The Sinking City is a great game for fans of Lovecraftian horror and delivers some stellar quest writing but unfortunately stumbles due to overused and uninspired mechanics, a bland protagonist and general lack of life.
  16. Jun 25, 2019
    The Sinking City is a captivating detective undertaking that dives into the hauntings of H.P. Lovecraft with a compelling narrative that is sure to question your viewpoint as well as reality itself. If you can look past its presentational shortcomings and mediocre combat system, the plight of private eye Charles Reed is one worth seeing for yourself.
  17. Jul 19, 2019
    The Sinking City is a fun game, but to really enjoy it there is a lot you'll have to put up with. Maybe that will be solved in the future, but at the moment the only thing that really saves this game is the amazing influence of Lovecraft.
  18. Jul 7, 2019
    When The Sinking City focuses on its every Lovecrafian tale and lets you play the paranormal sleuth, it gets under your skin and manages to keep you hooked. As soon as it turns into a survival horror game with shooting mechanics, however, the result is bad enough to make you want to stop playing all together.
  19. Jul 4, 2019
    Frogwares shows that it really knows the Lovecraft universe and it dares to make it their own thing. As a game, The Sinking City, unfortunately, is not that strong.
  20. 65
    The Sinking City is a flawed gem, marred with technical issues and repetitive gameplay. The interesting worldbuilding and story elements are insufficient to carry the game in the face of poorly applied mechanics. The Sinking City could have benefited from an additional delay and a tighter game play loop.
  21. Playstation Official Magazine UK
    Jul 30, 2019
    Weaves Lovecraftian mythos into an interesting setting. But it frequently veers into being dull and repetitive, which isn’t what you want from dreamlike horror. [Issue#165, p.89]
  22. Jul 4, 2019
    The SInking City is the new game from Frogwares where you play as a detective to discover the origin of your own paranoia.
  23. Jul 2, 2019
    The intrigues that play out between its often bizarre but always interesting characters and factions, and underwater sequences that see Reed in a 1920s diving suit, are highly absorbing. Its narrative puts the boot into religious cults, and Lovecraft would surely not have approved of its ruminations on racism. It also tackles Depression-era deprivation, which is pretty apposite in today’s world. The Sinking City is original, commendably thought-provoking and deliciously gothic, but aspects of it feel either half-finished or ill thought-out. Had it pruned just a little of its ambition, it could have had more than cult appeal.
  24. 60
    The Sinking City is a thoughtful take on the source material, but is nearly destroyed by the poorly-executed open world and actions sequences. The investigations themselves are well-structured and easy to maneuver, but the long treks between, and the downtime that comes with them, is unnecessary. Still, if you're a Lovecraft fan or a fan of Frogwares' Sherlock Holmes titles, it's well worth a play for being an intriguing, and more authentic take on Lovecraft than most manage.
  25. Jun 27, 2019
    Those invested in the Cthulhu mythos might be interested in the tale found in The Sinking City, but most others should wait until the game is patched.
  26. Jun 25, 2019
    The Sinking City proposes good ideas terribly badly executed. After the initial hours we have a monotonous game which is lacking in good shooter mechanics and narrative.
  27. Jun 25, 2019
    The design of the monsters and the Innsmouthers are fantastic and the world building is creepy and fun. However, The Sinking City gets hamstrung by an overall chunkiness it doesn’t quite recover from. It’s hard to stay invested when combat is terrible and glitches and crashes ruin pacing and progression. This is a game demands a lot of patience and tolerance.
  28. Jun 28, 2019
    There simply is no digital adventure that can capture the unique horror of H.P. Lovecraft. The Sinking City tries hard, but ultimately finds its demise.
  29. Aug 1, 2019
    I would recommend this game only to true Lovecraft’s fans. Follow the story and don’t step aside – otherwise, due to a large number of side quests, you may completely lose the thread of the story. You won’t find interesting gameplay mechanics, gloomy atmosphere or something like that in this game. All I managed to find was a simple detective story with elements of mysticism and a bunch of controversial design solutions. I definitely do not advise you to spend money on The Sinking City.
  30. Jun 27, 2019
    The Sinking City is a perfectly acceptable detective game that gets bogged down by mediocre open-world adventure. While I respect Frogwares’ ambition to explore new areas, with results this shoddy, they should have stuck to what worked. Without tacking on hours of worthless travel and open-world nonsense, Sinking City would have been a high-quality cosmic horror mystery. In its current form, I can’t recommend anyone but the most devoted Lovecraft fans make the journey to Oakmont.
  31. Jun 26, 2019
    For what seems meant to be a horror game about piecing together clues and cobbling together what’s left of your sanity, long stretches of The Sinking City are inordinately concerned with killing the shit out of some monsters as a sort of Chosen One.
  32. Jun 26, 2019
    While the characters in The Sinking City may be more concerned with the murky waters flooding their homes, players will find themselves neck-deep in a flood of technical problems and puzzling game design choices. Anyone looking for a quality Lovecraftian horror game won’t find it here, which is disappointing as The Sinking City was one of the most exciting horror games showcased at E3 2019.
  33. Jun 26, 2019
    The Sinking City's promise of a world that never holds your hand is exciting, but the game ultimately falls short of its lofty goal. While the story and characters are interesting, the detective work quickly grows dull and the shooting mechanics are underwhelming at best.
  34. Jun 25, 2019
    It's hard to resent a game as unapologetically dweeby as The Sinking City. It's an old-fashioned, bookish mystery rooted in the mythology and mysteries of a pulpy, cult-favorite mid-century American novelist--an effort not without charm, to be sure. But no matter how fond your affection for H.P. Lovecraft and the idea of a wide-eyed, slow-burn literary adventure, the poor design, cliched writing, and lumbering pace make this far more tedious than delightful, let alone unsettling or terrifying.
This publication does not provide a score for their reviews.
This publication has not posted a final review score yet.
These unscored reviews do not factor into the Metascore calculation.
  1. Jun 25, 2019
    Frogware's most ambitious title to date sees it take on the Cthulu mythos, but unfortunately it makes for one of its most flawed games too.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 125 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 68 out of 125
  2. Negative: 33 out of 125
  1. Jul 1, 2019
    The Sinking City is a detective horror adventure that would leave both Lovecraft fans and fans of Frogware's previous Sherlock Holmes gamesThe Sinking City is a detective horror adventure that would leave both Lovecraft fans and fans of Frogware's previous Sherlock Holmes games happy and excited to see what the studio is truly capable of. That is if they actually gave us a complete and functional title. Unfortunately, this game is not finished.

    Load times take over a minute on the PS4, manual saves don't load where you saved at and instead loads you at the closest point on the map you were. I know that gunplay is not supposed to be this game's strength, but even then it is not even subpar. There is no feedback on whether or not you are doing any damage to creatures, no real signs of damage nor feeling of impact. I fire point blank and I still have the lingering doubt that I am shooting through them, only when they drop do I know that I was hitting something. Some actual blood splatter and stronger impact sound effects would go a long way there. Movement, in general, 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, and as is typical of most console versions of games, cannot be changed in the settings menu.

    The visuals lack polish in general as well. I am not expecting AAA animation and fidelity, but I am expecting something comparable to what this studio, Frogwares has done before. While the move to Unreal 4 is appreciated, the animations vary from jerky and robotic to constant waving and bobbing around. Some of the lazier and more automated animations were excusable in the past Sherlock Holmes games of theirs, but when you bump up your graphical fidelity and are going for an even more photorealistic look for your game, your animation needs to be able to back that up. Otherwise, work within your limitations and go for something more stylistic and appealing.

    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. A smaller but more dense hub I think would have fit this game far better. That, or do what Frogware did in their past Sherlock Holmes games where you moved from point to point, that way you only have to go to places that actually serve some sort of purpose as opposed to walking around a bigger city simply for the sake of it.

    The only aspects that are effective really are the things left over from previous Frogware titles. Namely from the Testament of Sherlock Holmes and onwards. Up until then the voice acting and script writing were very much a dead giveaway of their budget nature if the graphics weren't enough to tip you off. Enjoyable in a so awkward that it's endearing kind of way. But from Testament and onward, the voice acting has been top notch. I am happy to say that the Sinking City does continue with this trend. And I am happy that the writing is of a quality seen in Crimes and Punishments, and not like the confused and inept Devil's Daughter. The actual detective work in the SInking City is the same found in Crimes and Punishments and Devil's Daughter, so if you know that system and enjoy it as I do, then you will be happy in that regard. Player choice and agency is of a similar level as well, you have to make sure you find and put the clues together correctly or else you may reach the wrong conclusions and have people suffer because of it. It is not afraid to let you be wrong in your conclusions and have you press on regardless. It is a design choice I greatly appreciate and respect in a detective adventure game. Only these games and L.A. Noire let you fail as a sleuth really.

    The problem is that in order to get to the parts of the game that really shines is that you need to, unfortunately, play the rest of the game. And because of those parts, namely the optimization, the combat, navigation, and overall polish cripple whatever chances this game had to be truly satisfying. Maybe some of the issues such as the long load times may be better on other platforms such as the PC or maybe the PS4 Pro or XBox One X, but the actual core of the game is inherently flawed. But as a fan of Frogware and Lovecraft, I would have loved to have played it on PC, I have the setup for it. It's a shame it won't be on Steam until next year. Maybe by then they can fix it up a bit and sell it at a discount and it will be worth it. God help you if you think the Switch port coming soon will even be able to get off the ground. It's a shame that in order for someone to think that the Sinking City is a solid game worth the $50 price point at this time, you'd have to be more insane than the citizens of Oakmont or anywhere else in the actual Lovecraftian mythos.
    Full Review »
  2. Jul 4, 2019
    I’ve got about 15 hours into the game. I’m really enjoying it. I am a Lovecraft fan and am enjoying the handling of the lore and the vibe.I’ve got about 15 hours into the game. I’m really enjoying it. I am a Lovecraft fan and am enjoying the handling of the lore and the vibe. The story is dope so far. The game is slow paced and is not a shooter game. If you’re not into that you definitely shouldn’t get it. I do really like it and the pro’s definitely outweigh the con’s but again. It is for a specific gamer. Downs... graphics aren’t stellar and there are bugs. Combat is chunky as many **** about but again it isn’t a shooter. It’s a bit of a let down when people give a game a “0”. It’s just not helpful. Nether is giving a game a “10” for “balance” Full Review »
  3. Jun 26, 2019
    I can’t believe how low the reviews are for this game! I have played it, non-stop, for the last three days, and I popped on here to see howI can’t believe how low the reviews are for this game! I have played it, non-stop, for the last three days, and I popped on here to see how close to 100 it was. I love this game!! I am not a huge Lovecraft fan, but I am very thankful I bought this game without looking at the reviews. This game takes chances, and it definitely takes some getting used to, but I am so glad to see a game that doesn’t just copy Far Cry or The Last of Us. Full Review »