Getting Started Guide
The Sinking City
The Sinking City is the latest detective game from the team behind the Sherlock Holmes series of adventure games, and it’s an open-world title inspired by the Cthulhu mythos of HP Lovecraft. It also needs to explain more than it does, so we’re here to help you get going. Let’s get started in The Sinking City!
Don’t be afraid to flee rather than fight!
Despite being a detective game, there is combat in The Sinking City, although it’s admittedly not that great. While you do get XP for killing monsters, you always have to remember that bullets aren’t plentiful, and neither is crafting materials to make more. Use all your shotgun shells on one of the big lumbering creatures and you’ll be trying to get back to maximum for the rest of the game. If they’re in your way you can certainly kill them, but don’t be ashamed if you’d prefer to either sneak past or even run away! This is not a shooting game, and killing monsters is not your goal.
Search everywhere for clues!
The good news about the investigations in the game is that they’re pretty much confined to a single area or building – you won’t be asked to track a case into the street or anything, and if you’re on Normal difficulty you’ll be told when you’ve collected all key information in a place. It can still be hard finding everything you need though! Search everywhere. Search on the floor, on shelves, on other objects, everywhere. And make sure to turn on your Mind Palace power – some clues are hidden behind swirling symbols, and you’ll have to focus your power and stare at them until they become revealed!
Watch your sanity as well as your health!
With all the monsters, gangsters, and deranged cultists trying to kill you, it can be easy to forget that you have two health bars – and two types of special kit. Red is for physical health, but blue is your sanity bar. Certain encounters – like finding magically hidden locations, seeing twisted monsters, dead bodies, or giant freaking underwater creatures – will knock or drain your sanity. It’ll replenish, but the lower it is you’ll feel different effects. First your view will be distorted, then you’ll start to see fake monsters or item boxes, then those fake monsters will actually attack you, then finally the whole screen will go black and white with limited vision. Don’t let it get that far – use a mental health kit!
Fast Travel is the phonebooths!
The Sinking City is set in a large open-world map, and other than the occasional motorboat (which isn’t that much better than walking) you’ll be exploring most of it on foot. Fortunately, as that would get boring very fast (Oakmont is pretty big you know) there is a Fast Travel system available. It’s done with the Phonebooths scattered around the map at key points, and they’re marked with a star. If you ever see a star on your compass (top of the screen) head toward it, and the Fast Travel point will unlock as you get close. To use them, interact with the map on the phonebooth, and hold the use button on the star point you want to go to. Easy!
Just avoid enemies while diving!
At certain points in the game (referred to by our reviewer as ‘the worst moments”) you’ll be jammed into a slow-moving diving suit and forced to investigate the murky waters around Oakmont. You don’t have access to any of your weapons, and all you get is a Flare Gun and Harpoon Gun – both of which are utterly useless against underwater enemies. Flares can distract an enemy (if they haven’t seen you), and Harpoons can stun them – they can’t kill them. Don’t bother with the flares – shoot those eels and run for it!
Remember to buy new Skills!
This is the fact that took us an embarrassingly long time to notice – The Sinking City has character upgrades. The Skills screen is mentioned in a tutorial at some point, but at the start of the game you get skill points so sparingly it’s easy to forget about it! Make sure you go to the Skills screen and get some upgrades! Crafting bonuses, accuracy assists, being able to carry more ammo or items, extra health, no fall damage, extra XP or items earned from quests… all useful improvements – and they all just cost 1 skill point each. Don’t sit on those skill points, get those upgrades!
Now get out there and solve some murders! Hopefully not your own…