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July 21st, 2019, 19:32
The Sinking City

I enjoyed it for the most part, but it didn't break the mold for games based on H.P. Lovecraft lore. It's janky and inconsistent like the rest of them, but there's a lot to recognize and enjoy for fans of Lovecraft.

You play as a private investigator by the name of Charles Reed, and the game takes place in the fictional city of Oakmont, Massachusetts in the late 1920's. A good portion of the city is underwater due to a flood that happened the previous year, and parts of it can only be explored with a boat.

The game world is completely open from the start and offers a lot to see and explore. Whether or not the exploration is good is a little more subjective. Most of the buildings you can enter won't have anything of significance in them until an associated quest has been triggered. Also, while they did a great job of making the environments look very Lovecraftian, there isn't a whole lot of variety from one section of the city to another.

Combat is serviceable but doesn't stand out in any particular way. You start out with a basic pistol and add other weapons over the course of the game. Ammo can be found in loot containers or received as a reward for completing quests, but you'll craft the majority of it. In addition to the various firearms, you'll also use a melee weapon, grenades and firebombs, and traps that you can place in the environment.

In addition to your health bar, you also have a sanity meter which depletes if you come across something disturbing enough to affect Charles' psyche. If your sanity gets low enough, you'll start hallucinating. If you lose all your sanity…well, let's just say you don't want that to happen.

There's isn't a ton of variety in the bestiary, but the devs did a good job with the monster design. While the normal monsters you face aren't taken directly from existing Lovecraft lore, they would certainly fit right in. You'll also have the occasional battle with local gangsters and "Innsmouthers".

I thought the writing ranged from average to good by gaming standards, and the voice acting was better than I expected. There are a decent amount of sidequests in the game, and none of them felt overly similar to each other. There are also quite a few Lovecraft easter eggs scattered about in the form of objects and notes signed by certain characters that fans will recognize.

Overall, it's not going to blow anyone out of the water (pun intended), but it's absolutely worth playing for anyone who's even remotely a fan of Lovecraft.

7/10
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