On March 21, the world is promised an exciting new survival horror game. The Sinking City is an open-world action-horror game that promises a highly polished and unique horror experience.
You’ll play a private detective as you go through the fictional flooded city of Oakmont, Massachusetts. The game promises open-story aspects as well as supernatural horror.
But will this game take the world, by storm? Here are a few things to consider so that you can answer the question:
Should you be excited for The Sinking City
It is Lovecraft-Inspired, but not based on any Lovecraft stories
The setting and themes of The Sinking City will seem familiar to fans of the work of H.P. Lovecraft, but it is not explicitly an adaptation of any of his stories.
The story it seems to share the most in common with is The Shadow Over Innsmouth, but even there, the similarities are very tenuous.
Still, the themes and setting are undeniably Lovecraftian. The New England setting is a key part of Lovecraft.
Other themes include sanity, unknowable beasts, unwelcoming superstitious locals, and a healthy fear of the ocean.
Not basing it on a particular story of Lovecraft’s is a good move. This way new fans can start the game without feeling the need for homework.
If done right, this game could be the perfect introduction to the works of H.P. Lovecraft and get plenty of new readers for the classic horror writer.
It is Open-Ended
Horror games have very often experimented with open-ended games with multiple endings, with varying success.
Most of the time, horror is best when it is focused. Instead of giving the player all the choices in the world, it’s best to give them a tight, alienating experience.
However, great horror games have had multiple endings. Silent Hill 2 had numerous endings that all depended on different, subtle actions that the player would take.
However, this is a Lovecraftian Horror game, and those are pretty famous for having one end, usually ending in the storyteller dying or going mad.
This isn’t a universal ending for Lovecraft games, but it is a pretty popular one. It stands to see how much The Sinking City will buck this trope.
Lovecraftian games are usually focused on a single ending though, concerned on a tight narrative.
There is a gamble in making a good open-world horror game rather than a focused experience. Time will tell if it pays off.
It is in the third person
This may seem like nothing to note, but then you look at the vast majority of horror games that have come out in recent memory.
Games like Alien: Isolation, Call of Cthulhu, and Outlast have been solidly first-person experiences.
Even Resident Evil VII, a part of a franchise that was so often third-person, made the transition to a first-person experience.
Being a survival horror game these days seems to mean that you will be first-person. The Sinking City is bucking a trend by doing this.
It’s understandable why most games go for the more limiting perspective of first-person. It’s scarier if your vision is limited.
However, some of the greatest horror games of all time have been the third person, such as Fatal Frame, Silent Hill 2, and Resident Evil 4.
Being the third person speaks to a very different attitude towards horror gaming, but not automatically a bad one.
The deliberate pacing of third-person games can make for more controlled scares than the first-person perspective can offer.
Just look at the old Resident Evil games and the great scares they made with their fixed camera angles.
Is The Sinking City going for a more old-school horror game or is it going to be trying something new?
Regardless, the fact that is breaking from the crowd means that there is something to be excited for in regards to this game.
Any game that does its own thing because they feel it make a game better is always something to pay attention to.
The developer is Frogwares
Unless you’re a devotee of Sherlock Holmes adventure games, it’s quite possible you’ve never heard of this developer.
Frogwares is a Ukranian developer who specializes in classic style adventure puzzle games like Monkey Island and King’s Quest.
Oh and they like Sherlock Holmes. Seriously almost every one of there games is a Sherlock Holmes one, including one that deals heavily with Lovecraftian horror.
Aside from one action game -Magrunner: Dark Pulse- Frogwares has pretty much only done puzzle games. Even Magrunner was heavy on puzzle elements.
This means that this will be a freshman effort for the relatively small company and the may mean initial roughness.
This isn’t a given. The company does have general experience, and freshman games have been known to be excellent.
However, it’s natural to expect some roughness due to the different kind of game being made and the relative size of the studio.
Those who cannot handle a bit of roughness may want to wait to hear what the game’s issues are to see if they will be deal-breakers.
However, those who can forgive growing pains may be excited to see what the game has to offer.
If these things sound like something that you would find to make for an engaging game, then you should check it out.
More wary gamers or gamers not as compelled by horror might want to wait to see what other players have to say.