The Sinking City didn’t earn unanimous praise when it launched on PS4, Xbox One and PC earlier this year, but that just makes it more interesting.
It’s not a triple-A game, homogenised to appeal to the mass market. It’s a game that combines action, horror, exploration, and a hell of a lot of investigation. Some people won’t like that it asks you to scour scenes with a fine-tooth comb, looking for shreds of evidence before combining them to draw conclusions. Others might not like the frequency with which you encounter ghastly creatures, like our very own reviewer.
The Sinking City isn’t a game that holds your hand, either. You’re expected to find your way around its rather large open world without so much of a nudge in the right direction. If you don’t get into the habit of placing your own markers, there’s a good chance you might struggle getting from A to B. But that’s what also makes the game rewarding. When you do locate evidence and successfully crack a case, you actually feel like you’ve accomplished something, not just gone through the motions.
I’d say that The Sinking City is like Marmite, that you’ll either love it or hate it, but that’s not quite true. I can’t imagine anyone actively hating it, really, just perhaps becoming overly frustrated by it. Those who have patience and like to solve mysteries without overbearing guidance, however, might just become enamoured with it. It has its faults, but The Sinking City presents a complex and interesting world in which to get lost, and many will welcome that with open arms.
Available now, the Switch version of The Sinking City is quite an achievement. Being an open world game I expected it to either look terrible or perform atrociously. The good news is that neither is true. Developer Frogwares has done an excellent job of optimising The Sinking City for the platform, replacing taxing effects, excising unnecessary detail, and reducing complexity of certain elements without ruining the game’s atmosphere. And it runs at a steady 30 frames per second. I think I actually noticed more performance hiccups playing the game on Xbox One X. Though it was prettier on that format, of course.
Arriving on Switch months after its release on PS4, Xbox One and PC, The Sinking City lands in a more robust state, too. During my time with the Switch version of the game I’ve noticed less bugs, allowing me to carry out my investigations with less distractions. And as a result of fan feedback, gun sounds are now more meaty and satisfying. New visual effects have also been added when you shoot, giving the impression that you are actually firing a weapon with some force and not a pea shooter.
As you can probably gather, I am mightily impressed by the Switch version of The Sinking City. It doesn’t cure all of the game’s problems – that would probably require a remake, not just a port – but it does provide an experience that’s faithful to that available on other formats, with some minor improvements. If you fancy yourself as a bit of a private investigator and aren’t afraid of Lovecraftian horror, you should definitely give it a go.
The Sinking City is available now via the Switch eShop.