7 The Sinking City Tips You Should Know Before Playing

What you need to know to stay afloat.

The Sinking City is a unique open-world adventure mixing sleuthing and combat in a 1920s Lovecraftian setting. It’s a big game with a lot of systems to wrap your head around but it doesn’t do the best job of onboarding players. If you’re visiting the sunken city of Oakmont for the first time, you’d do well to check out our handy tips and tricks to help you survive. 


Do the first few main missions to get more weapons

It’s easy to get quickly sidetracked in The Sinking City with exploring and carrying out the various side quests that NPCs ask of you. But in the beginning, your firepower is limited to a pistol and a revolver, with scant munitions. Ensure you tackle the first few main missions soon and Mr Throgmorton will reward you with a shotgun to add to your arsenal. The following main mission will net you a powerful battle rifle. Grabbing these as a priority will make you better equipped to tackle the side missions in the game.


The best skills to pick in the beginning

Every time you reach 1000XP by investigating, killing wylebeasts and solving cases, you’ll receive a skill point. These can be spent on a variety of bonuses, from combat buffs to extra health and larger inventory. However, to most efficiently progress through the game you’ll want to take advantage of the XP bonus skills.

First choose Absolute Clarity, then Detective Analysis and Deductive Method, to receive a percentage increase to the XP you receive from all sources. The sooner you invest in these, the more of an effect they’ll have on your overall progression and help you fill out your skill tree faster. It’s a similar deal with No Charity and Silver Tongue that increase your quest rewards, though these are arguably less important.


Beware of going indoors

Whereas the town is surprisingly safe to walk around most of the time, it’s going into buildings that can pose a threat in The Sinking City. Wylebeasts will spawn inside many of them, so make sure you’ve got supplies and are keeping an eye out – even if you can’t spot anything when you first enter, wylebeasts can spawn in afterwards.


Be sparing with ammo

The Sinking City is very strict on how much ammo you can carry, often allowing just two or three clips for each weapon. Spray and pray is not the name of the game here – make every shot count. Also ensure to make good use of your traps and explosives, though you’ll need to monitor resources for these too. 

If you’re getting low on ammo, houses around the city are a good bet for scavenging, often providing more than a quest reward would. Just bear in mind the above warning about the danger of these areas – you may at least be able to raid a locker or two then scarper before the wylebeasts each you. Remember to use your Mind’s Eye to highlight lootable containers.


Don’t maintain full ammo

An odd-sounding tip, perhaps, but try to always keep a few less ammo than your maximum limit (i.e. don’t craft enough to completely fill your reserves). Completing a quest mostly grants ammo, and if you’re already full up, you won’t receive the reward. You don’t even get to receive it later when you’ve emptied your pockets, so it completely goes to waste.


Keep an eye out for phone boxes

These are your fast travel points. Though Oakmont isn’t the largest map seen in a video game, it can still take a while to get around due to the flooding. Just walking within proximity of a phone box unlocks it for future use. There are several phone boxes in each district.


How to find evidence

If you’re struggling to find evidence in a scene (areas you can do this in are marked with a magnifying glass on the map), methodically hunt around every wall and corner of a room for items to pick up or inspect, and look out for the screen vignette that tells you to use your Mind’s Eye. Keep exploring a scene until you see ‘Key Evidence Collected,’ or preferably, ‘All Evidence Collected.’

If you’re stuck on what to do next, have a read through your clues and think about what they may be suggesting. Do you need a new piece of info? Could one of the town archives – library, police station, city hall etc. – help you find what you need? And for any clues that mention an approximate location, make sure that you pin these on your map ready for investigating.