After months of publisher disputes, The Sinking City has resurfaced on PlayStation Store, alongside a new PS5 version. Based on the work of H.P. Lovecraft, the game places you in the role of private investigator Charles Winfield Reed, investigating the supernatural town of Oakmont. Using your detective skills, you'll uncover why you’re having strange visions, what the town’s residents are hiding, and the origins of “The Flood” and the monsters it brought with it. While the core detective work is certainly the highlight of this experience, combat is extremely cumbersome and disruptive to the flow of the game. Unfortunately, pacing issues, confusing tutorials, and an overall lack of direction still are present in this re-release.
Although the PS5 version is not an upgrade for existing users due to ongoing legal disputes, the game is largely the same outside of some minor enhancements. It runs in 4K at 60 frames-per-second, but the game still suffers from frame drops and the occasional stuttering. Bugs are also still aplenty, with multiple instances of Reed getting stuck in a wall or being struck by a glitched flying barrel that comes out of nowhere. One great addition is the scaling back of loading. On PS4, they could be quite lengthy, but PS5 allows for load times to be only a few seconds. DualSense support is also added, with adaptive triggers getting more attention than haptic feedback. The triggers certainly help immersion when firing a gun or taking a photograph of evidence, but the haptic feedback feels incredibly lacklustre; it's nothing more than standard vibration.
While it's great to see The Sinking City return to PlayStation consoles, the PS5 version does little to make this worth an additional purchase for existing owners. DualSense support and shorter load times are nice additions, but performance and gameplay are still on the rough side. For newcomers, the lack of direction in particular can turn the engaging story into a backtracking slog very quickly. There's a great and engaging detective game buried here, but there are much better offerings out there to scratch your itch.