Game Review - The Sinking City on Xbox One

Written by Zraitor on March 22, 2020 @ 4:33 am

--Graphics and Sound--

The look of the game is Lovecraftian horror come to life... flooded streets, disgusting monsters, with tentacles and slime, people who look downtrodden and even some rather... fishy. Almost every part of Oakmont is damaged by flooding and walking through the huge city has an ominous feel.

The water damaged city is fully brought to life with the sounds in this. Everything is so wet and dirty, and combining with the look of the city feels so damp and gross. Creepy background music and the monster sounds fill the city. Absolutely top-notch atmosphere.


-Cases - This game's version of missions or quests. You actually have to place the quest markers for yourself, based on the evidence you find and your best guess based on the directions you're given. There is also a "Mind Palace", this holds your clues to be combined by you to gain evidence. No hand-holding. Much of the game then, of course, is running around trying to figure out where to go, but as I said Oakmont looks great and so that didn't seem the usual chore to me. Quick travel is done in phone booths that are rather plentiful as well which cuts down on the running back and forth. Some of the cases even have multiple outcomes depending on what you pick, creating replay value.

The main character has some psychic vision you can enable to help find hints, but doing so drains his Sanity. Yes, in addition to a standard health bar you also have a Sanity bar .. when it goes low your vision distorts and you begin seeing all sorts of things. This is very trippy and also caused by looking at the monsters, making it hard to shoot them at times.

A few times you also have to go underwater and do some diving. This is very fun and creepy. I was expecting this to be a poorly done side thing, not so. It's a completely fun and a solid part of the game. With your slow movement, limited visibility, and weaponry you feel vulnerable and unsettled and this is exactly how a horror game is supposed to make you feel.

-Combat ? I admit when I first started playing I thought I made a mistake in buying this game... The early combat is BAD. But from gaining XP and buying the various skills and just figuring it out, it became more enjoyable. You're not a super soldier or anything, just an ex-navy man who can use a gun sure, but still pretty regular otherwise. Getting past that initial hump might be rougher on some players than others, but it gets better I promise you.

The player has a variety of guns to use, but ammo is scarcer than in other games, and you can't buy any, only find it or craft. You'll craft so much ammo. You can craft everything really, ammo, explosives, and medpacs for your health and sanity. Scavenging as you go through the map you find the resources, and you always have just barely enough for what you need, so running away is encouraged. A few enemy encounters sprouted creatures everywhere, so I'd often take one look at that, go NOPE, and throw a grenade and get some XP for the smaller creatures and leg it out of there. There is stealth but it seems limited, maybe it slows down the creature spawns but when they are spawned they always know where you are. Running away is always better if you can't take them down with what you have on hand.

Back to the XP and skills you have the usual kinds of things to spend your Lore points, gained while leveled, on. Better damage with a certain gun, more melee damage, more health, more sanity, chance to save materials while crafted... etc, etc. The game becomes much easier when you gain some Lore points, so again hang in there.


Private Detective Charles Reed travels to Oakmont to find the source of visions he's been having, believing it to be here. The city has been damaged by an event called the Flood, causing some of the city to be underwater, also bringing strange creatures and visions that drive people mad with it. After the bombing of Innsmouth by the government, the citizens flee and arrive in Oakmont looking for shelter. The strange fish looking people are very unwelcome, but so are all newcomers. An investigation to find out what is happening was conducted before Reed arrives, but the members have been driven mad, and are missing or dead. Stepping right into this situation, Reed uses his private eye skills and supernatural abilities to get to the bottom of everything...


With an amazing atmosphere, story, and world design The Sinking City is finally a Lovecraft game done right. If one can work with the weak combat, they will have a great time running around, solving quests and meeting the game's colorful characters. Highly recommended to all horror and or Lovecraft fans.

Gameplay Rating: 7
Story Rating: 10
Graphics & Visuals Rating: 10
Sound Rating: 10
Overall Rating: 9


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Game Information

Xbox One
Bigben Interactive
Action, Adventure
NA Release Date
June 25, 2019
EUR Release Date
June 25, 2019
AUS Release Date
June 25, 2019
ESRB Rating
PEGI Rating
ACB Rating
MA 15+
MVGL User Score
Official Website
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