Frogwares has flourished the game industry with the Sherlock Holmes games. An impressive Adventure/mystery title with awesome puzzle solutions, not to mention multiple endings based on your deductions. The company has built an impressive resume by resurrecting “The Great Detective” into our gaming hearts. Though the games engine is outdated with constant technical issues in each game releases. But it hasn´t stopped the dedicated fans to still support Frogwares vision and direction. Frogwares has always been considered a AA development studio with great narrative aspect and questlines that wishes our fans wanting more. But again the technical and loading problems have stopped the studio’s ambition of one day making into AAA portfolio. I am still dreaming!
Frogwares hope to capitalize on the success by the now released Lovecraftian horror game The Sinking City. I grow up with HP Lovecraft’s books around the house, so when I learned Frogwares was creating a game based on HP Lovecraft’s novel “Innsmouthers”. I was intrigued to see how they would do it. Set in 1920s fictional city of Oakmont follows war veteran Charles Reed as he arrives on advise of a stranger by the name of Johannes Van Berg, who warns him that citizens of Oakmont has suddenly gone mad with psychotic result. And the flood seemingly has something do with it.
Frogwares has done a brilliant job in terms of authenticity. Even if some nature of HP Lovecraft’s novels could be considered racist by some, especially one of the main characters Mr Throgmorton is a half-human/ape, Frogwares deserves massive praise for staying true to the story and provide our gamers with what could be the best Lovecraftian game so far.
I did, however, wish that the developer would have done there homework from there previous games such as Devils Daughter, and Crimes and Punishment, in terms of graphic. Controlling Charles Reed on the street among the citizens almost feels like I see the NPCs twins everywhere with often the same faces only different haircuts. It´s quite sloppy from a studio that brought us Sherlock Holmes, and especially in a high profile story such as Call of Chtulhu.
The game does an excellent job of not holding your hand basically us “the player” that must collect the clues ourselves, and point to the map constant in order to find the location the player looking for, now that’s a feature that we didn’t see in earlier Frogwares titles, especially in the latest Sherlock Holmes (Devils Daughter).
The Graphic system is outdated in the sinking city and I expected a much better work in that area. Loading times from the main screen to start the game took sometimes over 20-25 seconds, surely I hope Frogwares can take constructive criticism for the next console game. PS5 and XBOX SCARLETT is just around the corner for a 2020 Christmas release. There is no more room for error in the graphical and technical area, which I am confident Frogwares can overcome for future generations.
To get a Lovecraftian story work, the gameplay has to be essential here, but unfortunately, it falls short. Reed moves awkwardly when trying to shoot creatures and weapons are way too weak and have to constantly invest to have an impact against larger enemies, and it’s not worth it. I had better shot at killing the smaller creatures when I was hitting them with my blackjack. Though getting the skill points for upgrading my weapon went much quicker as the game progress.
The Sinking City includes several underwater scenes that were quite awesome but slow. (But who said you could run underwater). Reed is equipped with a Flare Gun and a Harpoon Gun that only stuns the creatures for 3-4 seconds which makes both guns useless. I found myself running most times in order getaway and often it didn’t help, the creature was way too quick.
The game also hade the same loading screen and pictures of underwater and quite an uninspiring theme song that Lovecraftian would not support. Though I have to praise the developer’s way of the creatures appear and sometimes reappear from nowhere and every time you head into a place or apartment. That scared me more than half the game.
The Sinking Citys narrative story has hade me going overboard. The constant battle over the city of Oakmont between (fish people) Innsmouthers, Throgmortons (Apes), and secret cult EOD is taking right from a Lovecraft book. Though Frogwares has brought their flavor and added a surprise cameo (No spoiler here). You control the Private detective Charles Reed who has to use his (Sherlock Holmes) skills to explore the broken city, find out what causes the mass hysteria, and most importantly how did the creatures and the flood started to overrun Oakmont. Once all evidence has collected, you need the mind palace option to piece the mystery together.
And as in Sherlock Holmes’s game, you need to choose carefully how to proceed certain cases so you don’t want to come to the wrong conclusion, as the game has multiple solutions that will have consequences for Reed later on. The same applies here in The Sinking City who does an extraordinary job keeping the plot thickens.
The travel system works fairly well and is of good use for those who are tired of exploring the big city. My final thoughts on the game are the amount of work the player has to put to thoroughly make your case, by going to the library, hospital and even police station for the archive, which is crucial for the Reeds progress in the game. Technical and Graph issues prevent me from giving a perfect 10. Don´t get me started on the gameplay.
The open-ended questline that can be resolved in many different ways is outstanding, as well the environment that brings out some of Reed´s madness if you don’t take the psychotic pills that is available to the player alongside the health injections. Frogwares also delivers a game that is truly worthy of Lovecraftian attention and they do I much better work than Cyanides Studio version of Call of Chtulhu that lacks the core of HP Lovecraft’s and it wasn’t even scary.
The trip down the rabbit hole has just begun
The Sinking City (PS4) Review
- The Sinking City (PS4) Review – 7/10