Welcome back to Game of the Month! The last game i previewed on my Twitch channel was The Sinking City by Frogwares. They are known for producing the Sherlock Holmes games where you have to solve mysteries of course and they brought that concept into a Lovecraftian setting where you have to solve the mystery of what is behind your own madness. Set in Boston during the 1920’s prohibition period, you are brought to the sunken city of Oakmont Massachusetts, a place where those afflicted with madness seem to find there way.
You are Charles Reed, a former navy diver turned private eye, who has been afflicted by a strange madness. This madness comes with a benefit, the Mind’s Eye. This gift gives you a supernatural sense to see what is not there and to visualize the past. A great tool for one who has become a private eye, but the longer you use this ability you descend further into madness. With no spoilers you learn more as to how Charles became afflicted by this madness.
You are summoned to the city of Oakmont my Mr. Johannes Berg who claims the secrets to his madness can be learned here. You come to find out the city has befallen a Calamity, the waters around this fishing town have risen flooding half the city turning it into a dark Venice of sorts. Some streets you have to use motor boats to transverse to get to your locations.
The city is wary of Newcomers so you are not readily trusted in the town. Money has no value here, bullets and booze are the currency of the people. You find that the city has many secrets and many mysteries around, so there is a lot of work available for a private eye and your rewards are material needed to craft bullets, and other important weapons like grenades and traps.
You have a health bar and a sanity bar. When the waters rose, strange creatures came from the waters. In classic Lovecraftian fashion, they are grotesque and some can be very difficult to kill. The locals call them Wylebeasts, and as you explore the city you start to learn more about how these beasts come to be. Since ammunition can be scarce it is not bad to just run from an encounter. Survival is more important then wasting bullets you may need later. You can create health kits to heal yourself and if your sanity gets low you can make antipsychotics. Your sanity is affected when you use your Mind’s Eye to long and when you are in the presence of the Lovecraftian beasts. Stick around to long, the visions will impede you making gameplay very difficult.
As you explore Oakmont you will always have a Main Case which follows the primary storyline then you will find Side Cases which help you understand more of what Oakmont is all about, unlock different outfits upon completion, and a great way to get salvage rewards to keep your weapon and support gear up to date.
As you progress in the Main Case you will gather clues which you can combine to make deductions as to how to proceed in a case. At times you will have multiple deductions and you have to choose your path. Your choices can have slight changes on how you progress through the Main Case. Side cases do not use the Mind Palace, but you have to deduce your next actions as the game rarely points you in the right direction. You have access to multiple archives, like the newspaper, police records at the police station, patient records at the hospital so you may need to figure out which records will help you progress to the next part of the case.
As you explore the city you will find items to add to the lore tab. Lore items just give you more information about Oakmont, its people, what happened before and after the calamity. Those who enjoy backstory should pay close attention to these. Anything in the Lore category does not affect your cases.
You gain experience which grants you knowledge points. You can spend your points to increase skills with your weapons, crafting, and to increase health and sanity. Each is in a tree format wo you need to purchase the earlier skills before accessing the later skills.
Oakmont is a very large city and the map proves this. At times you may be given an address and you have to locate it on the map before you head out. You have the ability to put markers down and focus on those locations to you can use your on screen directional to head in the right directions. As you explore the city, you will find phone booths. These booths allow for fast travel between them so you can move around faster. You have to unlock each booth in order to use it for the future.
Lastly we have your inventory. Here you can craft bullets for your weapons, create traps and grenades and craft health kits and antipsychotics. You have to find the proper salvage in order to keep your supplies up. You can unlock skills to increase inventory caps, and granting you better chances to save materials allowing you to craft more.
These are the basics of the game itself and I do not want to give away any spoilers here. I will say trhe gameplay works rather well being it a third person view. The story was interesting and followed the Lovecraftian theme rather well. Voice acting and audio was very well done and I believe those who love story will enjoy this game very much. There is a lot of content, i barely have completed all of the side cases here so the amount of gameplay is worth its price tage. I have about 20 hours in and still have more content I can complete.
To check out some live gameplay, check out my Twitch channel and check out my game highlights for The Sinking City!