The Sinking City is a game that makes a point of not holding your hand through its 15-20-hour playtime. You will be lost, confused, and challenged by the simplest of tasks. Though the game expects you to overcome these yourself, a little help in the form of these nifty The Sinking City will go a long way in ensuring you’ll see the ending to Frogwares’ latest detective endeavor. Here are five tips that should help your journey into The Sinking City become much easier.
1. Don’t Be Afraid of Exploring
Once you’re off the boat and finished with the first case of the game, The Sinking City opens the entire world to you with absolutely no guidance. Aside from a map and a clue, every community in Oakmont is wide open to explore, and explore it you must. Aside from simply getting used to navigating the city and unlocking Fast Travel phone booths early on, it’s good to start stockpiling on supplies and ammunition as well. Towards the end of the game you’ll be fast travelling around with ease, but you’ve gotta take the time to explore first to earn that luxury.
2. Don’t Jump to Conclusions
Unlike most detective-like games where solutions are cut and dry, Frogwares ensured that The Sinking City would force players to think about the consequences of their conclusions. When presented with a large stack of locations and evidence, make sure to weigh all the options. The truth is whatever you perceive, and you can’t possibly conclude a case without all the facts. Collect all the clues you can in order to map out every facet of the crime and hopefully you’ll complete the game with little to no regrets.
3. Level Up Wisely
Like most open world games, The Sinking City comes complete with a skill tree. The most obvious upgrades to go for first are the XP boosts, which will level you up faster for later upgrades. After that, I focused on the crafting upgrades, giving me a 25% chance of not using materials when crafting ammo, which can be an absolute lifesaver. Lastly I leaned towards inventory capacity upgrades, despite rarely using things like explosives/traps. However, save the Combat upgrades for dead last. We’ll explain why.
4. Combat Isn’t The Best
Don’t sweat it if the monsters scattered throughout Oakmont are giving you a hard time. Low in complexity and high in health, the enemies don’t really offer much beyond being annoying damage dealers made to put a damper on your investigation. You unlock more XP for simply discovering their infected areas and completing cases, requiring upwards of 50 kills just to get a single skill point. It’s rarely worth the effort and they’re best avoided whenever possible, such as in their aforementioned infected areas, as they’re rarely in the way of progress.
Thankfully for the handful of times the game forces you into combat, there’s a generous difficulty slider that will lower their health (separate from the logic slider, much like classic Silent Hill). With the scarce supply of ammo and bullet spongey nature of the enemies, I can’t recommend you submit yourself to the cumbersome combat the game has to offer.
5. Use. The. Archives.
As stated above, The Sinking City refuses to hold your hand at any point. It’s your job to place your own waypoints, and on higher logic difficulties, determine when you’re done investigating a crime scene. When the clues give you more vague directions, it’s always important to remember to use your Archives, available at the Police Station, St. Mary’s Hospital, Oakmont Library and City Hall, and the offices of the local newspaper, the Oakmont Chronicle.
There you can cross examine evidence with organized reports to uncover addresses, suspects’ names, and in a specific case, a marriage license used to determine motive. While exploring at the start of the game, be sure to unlock the fast travel booths outside of each of these locations as early as possible so they can be easily accessed when you inevitably lose your footing during a case.
The Sinking City is strange in that it doesn’t string the player along on a predetermined path. The mysteries and side quests are out there for you to discover, each case has multiple endings, and progression is all up to you. While assistance is rare in the city of Oakmont, Archives are usually a safe bet to fall back on, and while the monsters flood the city almost as deeply as the water, you are in no way obligated to fight them. Keep a level head, try not to go insane, and take whatever help you can get and you’ll wade through The Sinking City just fine.