The Sinking City - PS5 Review

The Sinking City by developer and publisher FrogwaresSony PlayStation 5 review written by Pierre-Yves with a copy provided by the publisher.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Having originally released in the summer of 2019 for the PlayStation 4, the Xbox One and the PC, Frogwares' The Sinking City is back once again with a fresh coat of paint and an upgrade under the hood in this H.P. Lovecraft inspired action adventure horror story.

Containing everything from the original as well as the added DLCs that have come out over time, the return to this half sunken and downtrodden city of fictional Oakmont, Massachusetts was interesting to say the least. Arriving in search of the source of the nightmarish visions and dreams that our protagonist has been having, you soon find yourself wrapped up in both a missing person's and murder investigation. Being new in town and being told by the powers will be to do it, you have no other choice but to get sleuthing.

The Sinking City was in no way perfect when it originally released. While there were certain aspects that could be overlooked such as the graphics and the performance on the older set of consoles, it was clear that the upgrades to the PlayStation 5 (and seemingly the Series X) took care of some of these. Mechanically the controls no longer feel PS2 era blocky for lack of a better term. Now, exploration is smooth enough and where a fair amount of improvement can be seen in are the shooting mechanics aspect of combat.

Aiming your variety of guns such as a 9mm, 6 chambered revolver, machine gun, shotgun and long barreled rifle feels more natural then it used to. Added in for the PS5 only through the DualSense is that the trigger has been given a bit of resistance making you actually have to "pull the trigger" on your camera and firearms. The part of combat that still feels a little clunky however is attacking monsters or other humans trying to kill you with your spade. Upgrades in the skill tree can be acquired to swing faster which makes it a little more natural but the movements don't reflect this and honestly? You'll generally be wanting to use guns when it comes to the monsters that literally go bump in the night.

Other issues that haven't been resolved and are a little more clear this time around is how empty the world feels. If a building on the side of the street is not involved in either remain or a secondary quest it just stands there. There's no way to open the door, there's no way to go inside, there's just, nothing. And where this becomes the most noticeable is if you are playing The Sinking City for the second time. The reason is you already know where to go so when you get to where you need to be, the door will still be locked as you unfortunately still need to sleuth out the clues in order to move forward.

For those playing for the first time though, not only will part of the above be a non-issue, but, you can easily find yourself sinking into your role especially if you go from main or side quest into the next immediately. Following these paths one after another will make the world feel less empty as you will be talking to people and exploring spaces regardless of if there are monsters awaiting you or not. Sadly, the same won't be said for returning players unless you really don't remember what happened the first time around and everything is fresh enough for you. 

On a final note, I still found myself being impressed by the monsters both real and imaginary. A large part of this adventure revolves around our protagonist's sanity and if it gets too low monsters will start coming out and they are very much real because the mind thinks they are real. There are stimulants that can be used and then these become nothing more than vaporus shadows, BUT, beware as sometimes real monsters tagged along for the ride. 

So overall, The Sinking City's revamp on the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X is worthwhile if you've been thinking of giving this Lovecraftian tale another go or had missed out on it the first time. With several upgrades and a new smoothness to the gameplay, going back for seconds alongside the added DLC was not a bad way to spend a few dozen hours.

Score: 7.5 / 10



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