The Sinking City comes from developer Frogwares. Their previous titles include a lots of Sherlock Holmes games, the last two were Crimes & Punishments (2014) and The Devil’s Daughter (2016). Much like the world famous detective, you too will have your wits tested as Charles Reed, a private investigator tasked with uncovering the secrets in Oakmont. It’s not just The Sinking City which you need to explore, but the psychological effects of the trauma brought about by the otherworldly horrors of the Old Ones. Here’s our mini guide to help you in conducting your investigations, using your Mind’s Eye, and making sense of each crime scene.
Examine Everything For Evidence
As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want to check every nook and cranny of a building or area. Evidence can be scattered around and you can interact with them. You can even twist, turn, and rotate certain objects to examine them more closely. When you’ve obtained evidence for a certain area, you’ll be notified that “Key Evidence has been collected,” or “All Evidence collected.”
Likewise, buildings which you can investigate, and those that are part of the story/chapter, are marked with an “H.” These are different from Infested Areas which are marked with an “M.” In many cases, though, you’ll need to go through lots of monsters anyway just to investigate a location.
Mind’s Eye Functions
The Sinking City lets you use Reed’s Mind’s Eye, a supernatural gift. With it, you can peer through the fabric of reality, seeing visions of the past and gaining clues on what to do next. Here are the functions of your Mind’s Eye:
- highlight containers which you can open for items and crafting materials
- see “Omens,” shadowy creatures that will show you the way
- inspect items or areas more clearly, giving you a vision of what they were used for
- view symbols that, once aligned, will reveal hidden passages or nefarious idols
- Retrocognition or seeing silhouettes of characters that reenact the incident.
In general, areas that require you to use your Mind’s Eye will have a “ripple effect” showing at the edges of your screen. That’s your cue to delve into your supernatural senses.
Solving The Sinking City’s cases would require you to understand the Retrocognition mechanic. Certain moments in cases would have a grey portal appear. This is the Retrocognition mechanic wherein frozen silhouettes of NPCs will reenact the events that transpired.
Take a look at their dialogue and actions and assess how they’re ordered chronologically. Mark them with numbers. If you’re correct, the screen will flash green and Reed will understand what had happened.
The Sinking City And Your Sinking Sanity
You can’t always have your Mind’s Eye active as it’ll slowly drain your Sanity Meter. Much like what we’ve noted in our combat and survival guide, whenever your Sanity Meter is drained, it can cause you to hallucinate or spawn shadow monsters that can damage your health.
Investigating crime scenes can also pose a danger when you have your Mind’s Eye active. When you’ve revealed hidden pathways or uncovered the true form of certain relics, the jarring break from reality will psychologically affect Reed as well. Make sure your health and sanity are in tip-top condition since even the safest rooms might create new dangers due to evil visions.
Oakmont Archives And Registries
There are a handful of public buildings in Oakmont which you can enter while playing The Sinking City’s main story. These buildings will have archives or registries that you can access. However, they won’t give you any data unless you have a certain case or evidence that’s active. Make sure that the current evidence you need to assess is active on the left-hand side of your screen.
Most evidence you gather in crime scenes will be found in your casebook. These will have their respective clues. It’s important to read each clue or evidence carefully as these would give you a general idea of which public building to go to and which entries to use for the archives.
For instance, you might be told that a character has been injured at the Grimhaven Bay district and that he needs medical attention. This means you’ll have to head to St. Mary’s Hospital to access the facility’s archives. With the current evidence active on your screen, you’ll have to select “Patients/Surgery/Grimhaven Bay” as your entries. You’ll then be given a clue on where you need to go next. Going to other facilities won’t get you any results since those are not implied by the clues.
Marking The Map
Many of the clues and evidence you obtain as you’re playing The Sinking City need to be manually discovered. You’ll have to open your map panel and pin the location or address based on the clues. That’s the only way they’ll end up marked on your map. There are no automatic waypoints or arrows to guide you unless you’re the one who puts them there.
Whenever you’ve obtained enough clues and evidence for each case, it’s time to check Reed’s Mind Palace. The game will also notify you when you need to check it since the words “Mind Palace” show up in gold at the right-hand side of your screen.
This menu panel will contain every hypothesis you’ve had so far. Using various combinations, you can unlock more deductions. Towards the end of each case, you’re also able to come to a conclusion about the events that had transpired. You could be wrong, or you could be right, and it’s up to you how to decide on each case.
Of course, as mentioned in our official review of The Sinking City, the decisions you make during each case would hardly matter in the long run. Far too often, you’ll only see minor changes, and even the endings themselves hardly offer a satisfying payoff. Still, it’s a means for you to immerse yourself in The Sinking City’s world, and the setting inspired by Lovecraft, Derleth, and the masters of cosmic horror.
That about does it for our investigations and Mind’s Eye mini guide for The Sinking City. If you’d like to check out our full walkthrough for the main cases, head over here. For more about the game, you can go to our features and guides hub.
The Sinking City won’t be out until June 27, but those who pre-ordered have early access. If you’re grabbing Frogwares’ detective game, then we hope our guides help you out.