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The Sinking City - Open World Lovecraft Investigation - 27/06/19


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Bought this second hand at GameStop for far too much, I feel soo dirty.

Worth it though, loving it so far. The surreal behaviour of the townsfolk makes everything unsettling, it's great.

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Oh it is something different alright. There's no house numbers in the entire city (it's explained why in the story), so to find a destination you have to read the assignment, remember the town area and street names, open the map, look for the streets, manually place a marker and make your way there. Is an assignment too obtuse? To one of the three archives it is.

 

Tis not a fast paced game, there's as lot of menu'ing to be done.

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You’re given a quest. The quest says you’ll find your destination at the corner of X street and Y Avenue. You open the (massive) map. There’s no quest marker on the map. You scan around and eventually find the place you’re looking for, so you go to drop a marker on the map yourself and realise you can place specific markers for specific things, which is helpful. 
 

You get here and you’re given a clue. Someone was injured and you need to find them. You have their name and know it was a shoulder injury. That’s it. That’s all you’re given. So what do you do? Go to the hospital and search the records to see if you can find a patient admission for the day in question. There is one, but the names don’t match. Best go talk to them, but no bed number or floor is given, so off you go a-wandering. Is it that guy? He’s clutching his stomach. You speak to him. Gut pains. You see a guy holding his shoulder and moaning in pain...could be onto a winner...

 

That’s the kind of game it is. 
 

but also janky as all hell. 

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It is a very strange beast. Jim Sterling described it as the best bad game he had ever played and I'd agree. Once the rhythms of detecting start to click it comes into it's own but it really doesn't help itself in the beginning. How smooth is the framerate on Switch? I played it before release on PC. 

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It's a bit juddery on Switch but perfectly playable. Unfortunately, having just looked at a video of the PS4 version, the Switch version is much less visually interesting, lacking in various lighting, shadow, reflection and smoke effects that add to the atmosphere. It's also blurry as fuck. I'm still enjoying the story and detective stuff, but the combat is like a poor Silent Hill knock off. 6/10

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16 hours ago, Doctor Shark said:

You’re given a quest. The quest says you’ll find your destination at the corner of X street and Y Avenue. You open the (massive) map. There’s no quest marker on the map. You scan around and eventually find the place you’re looking for, so you go to drop a marker on the map yourself and realise you can place specific markers for specific things, which is helpful. 
 

You get here and you’re given a clue. Someone was injured and you need to find them. You have their name and know it was a shoulder injury. That’s it. That’s all you’re given. So what do you do? Go to the hospital and search the records to see if you can find a patient admission for the day in question. There is one, but the names don’t match. Best go talk to them, but no bed number or floor is given, so off you go a-wandering. Is it that guy? He’s clutching his stomach. You speak to him. Gut pains. You see a guy holding his shoulder and moaning in pain...could be onto a winner...

 

That’s the kind of game it is. 

I did that last night and felt like a proper detective. :)

 

The game doesn't give a good first impression. I couldn't get off the boat, the guy kept telling me to take all my belongings - I didn't realise I had to flip the gun over and examine it before I could continue. Graphically it's a real missed bag, conversations look decent enough thanks to the detail on the faces, but the models themselves look last gen. This looks like a 360 game with a couple of mods. Also, the cut scenes are horribly compressed and look proper dogshit compared to the main game.

 

However, the detecting side of this is indeed great so far.

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What I loved about Call Of Cthulhu was the atmosphere, writing and just plodding around looking at stuff. The rest was janky as fuck, but that was ok. That's kind of what I'm expecting from this. I'm hoping to get round to it before the weekend but y'know. Real life n shit.

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Edit: you need to interact with the door :facepalm:

 

I think I'm stuck with a game breaking bug :unsure: According to the internet, NPCs behind a door that's closed to me should open said door. They don't. I see the NPCs standing behind the closed door through the broken windows, but the trigger that makes them active is not there. It's at 

Spoiler

Randall Glassworks

So, uhm. Now what?

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I bought it on PS4 on release, but it never clicked, for whatever reason. Double dipped on Switch - rude not to, at this price - to see if handy portability added anything to the experience. 

 

It did, but it also highlighted just how unsuitable the Switch is for this sort of thing, undocked at least. Was having real trouble shooting anything with those fiddly little sticks. So I reinstalled on the PS4, and it's like a different game. Not only the better controller, but it's a lot smoother experience on there, better framerates, map loading times, and that. 

 

Shame, as the Switch is great, but only for certain games, it turns out. 

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13 hours ago, Thor said:

Sadly this isn't holding my interest. Was worth a punt, plus I got to help a developer that was being dicked around by bullying publishers. :)

Man, that was quick.

 

edit: On a different note, shout out to the sound design. There's so many eerie ambient sounds going on (not so sure about the obvious sound of a drill, no clue what that's about) that set the tone. Special shout out to the excellent music.

 

 

Favourite track: Coverside.

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Ok, I literally just finished this. Flawed but with good intentions and heart.

 

I am not familiar with the Cthulhu mythos apart from recognising the most famous names and terms. And of course that Lovecraft had.... opinions. So there is a chance I am wrong here, but judging by how many names from the game only link back to the game during a google search, I can only conclude much of the content in the game is original. Which I think is neat.

 

The story kept me engaged, the handful of decisions you have to make are almost all rather complex. It's never a simple case of "this is the good answer", most if not all are "which of the two evils do you deem lesser". Midgame decision spoiler:

 

Spoiler

In order to proof your innocence, do you want to send a family man to jail or kill the mother of a politician? Choose one.

 

The story goes places (oh boy does it ever), truth be told it goes too far. Not in terms of delicate political issues, but more like how something is introduced and forgotten. Maybe this has to do with the path I walked and the decisions I made, there's three different endings and something tells me decisions affect NPCs and story progression.

 

So yeah, good fun. If you're up for it. There's a lot of menu'ing, travelling from point to point, guessing what archive to visit etc to be done.

I'll never play this again, I'll ask YouTube to show me the other endings.

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10 hours ago, Professor Puzzles said:

Apparently the Throgmorton family history is based on a Lovecraft story but they just changed the names. There might be more stuff like that in the game too, but I'm not sure as I'm not an expert on Lovecraft. 

You’re right. From IMDB.

 

Quote

The game is based on the "Cthulhu Mythos" created by horror writer H.P. Lovecraft, in particular on the novella "The Shadow Over Innsmouth", but is not a direct adaptation of any of Lovecraft's stories.

 

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Spoilers for story related event

 

Spoiler

I laughed out loud when it threw a Mayan death god in there. We have the literal Ku Klux Klan, otherworldly beasts, casual racism, violent gangs, mental problems all over the place, cults, torturers, summoned spirits. Ah sure, here's a Mayan death god. Because why not.

 

It is something else. As someone earlier in this thread said, Jim Sterling hits the nail on the head by saying it's the worst game he ever liked question mark.

I for one look forward to more horror output from Frogwares. And if this ever returns to PSN as a self-published title, I'll double dip just to support em.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm a few hours in now, and I'm quite enjoying this. I love the atmosphere, and the detective stuff has been surprisingly well done so far. The combat is awful, but also simple and there hasn't been much of it so far.

 

I think the last Frogwares game I played was that Lovecraft themed Sherlock Homes one from years ago, oddly enough. Nothing in this has come close to the terror of creepy Watson. :D

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8 hours ago, Mogster said:

I'm a few hours in now, and I'm quite enjoying this. I love the atmosphere, and the detective stuff has been surprisingly well done so far. The combat is awful, but also simple and there hasn't been much of it so far.

 

I think the last Frogwares game I played was that Lovecraft themed Sherlock Homes one from years ago, oddly enough. Nothing in this has come close to the terror of creepy Watson. :D

There are posters dotted around the game featuring creepy Watson :) Best Easter egg ever. 

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