The 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 youThe 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.… Expand