THE SINK­ING CITY

Tide is high for Cthulhu games – could this be your num­ber one?

PlayStation Official Magazine (UK) - - CONTENT -

Where Cyanide’s Cthulhu mythos game (a call we an­swered last is­sue) plays it close to the page, Frogwares’ game of­fers an­other take. In its tit­u­lar city, the Love­craftian mon­sters and the streets are drawn closer to­gether ev­ery day as the flood wa­ters rise. But the city in ques­tion, Oak­mont, isn’t re­ally a stand-in for Inns­mouth.

As Frogwares’ com­mu­nity man­ager Sergey Oganesyan ex­plains in a re­cent de­vel­oper di­ary, “Love­craft was re­ally good at ex­plor­ing these re­ally in­tri­cate philo­soph­i­cal con­cepts, like our place in the uni­verse, fear of the un­known, and fa­tal­ism and all that. But when it comes to de­tails and de­scrip­tions he was sur­pris­ingly vague, which ac­tu­ally works great for us as it gives us a lot of free­dom.” Oganesyan later goes on to state that the game is not an adap­ta­tion of any of Love­craft’s work, but rather ‘an ex­pan­sion’. Fa­mil­iar mon­sters may ap­pear, but the story it­self, while bor­row­ing ideas, will be orig­i­nal. Play­ing as trau­ma­tised soldier Charles Win­field Reed, a man drawn to Oak­mont af­ter a su­per­nat­u­ral event in his past, you’ll need to talk to res­i­dents, gather ev­i­dence and cross-ref­er­ence clues to fully un­cover this mys­tery.

ON THE CASE

One step­ping stone on the path to the bot­tom of things comes in a note from a li­brar­ian named Joy. She asks you to come to her place of work but when you do, you get a sense of what she’s been through al­ready. Be­tween lips sewn shut (dis­turb­ing in it­self), she hisses, “Her. In my apart­ment. Again.”

The apart­ment build­ing doesn’t look like it would be any­one’s home sweet home, with bro­ken walls and de­tri­tus strewn around. Not fright­en­ing, but un­set­tling. With Joy’s key in hand, her flat looks like she’s done her best to make the most of a bad spot. A melted cam­era on the floor is out of place but a well-used rug and dog bowl sug­gests a not en­tirely mis­er­able life was led here… well, that’s what we think un­til we find the dog.

The sight of what re­mains of the dog is al­most too much for Reed to bear. Things tip from un­set­tling to hor­ri­ble. He gets dou­ble vi­sion and for just a sec­ond the world around him is un­recog­nis­able – it’s al­most like his wartime trauma is hap­pen­ing again – but Reed re­turns to him­self to fur­ther in­ves­ti­gate the scene. Not too far from a bloody sewing ma­chine, we see the in­truder left a sick gift be­hind.

WHAT A PIC­TURE

Hav­ing ex­plored the room, Reed re­veals his superpower: the abil­ity to see snip­pets of a se­lected space’s past. Slowly things click into place. A raspy old woman en­ters the apart­ment, she gets the at­ten­tion of the dog, the dog is killed, and she be­gins to sew. Then a neigh­bour ap­par­ently fa­mil­iar with the woman gets a pic­ture of Joy’s vis­i­tor but the cam­era flash draws her at­ten­tion. The neigh­bour is def­i­nitely some­one we need to visit.

Af­ter get­ting no re­sponse to our knock­ing, clear­ing a cel­lar of cos­mic hor­rors, and re­triev­ing the neigh­bour’s key, we let our­selves in, only to dis­cover the neigh­bour in much a sim­i­lar con­di­tion to Joy’s poor pup – there’s that see­saw­ing be­tween dread and dread­ful again; the game rack­ing up the ten­sion be­fore a hor­ri­ble re­lease. But he leaves a clue be­hind, a har­ried note about his re­cent – and ap­par­ently last – photo op­por­tu­nity with the raspy older woman, also known as Granny Weaver.

Back at the li­brary, Joy is too scared (and pre­sum­ably pained) to say much else about her un­wanted guest. Thank­fully there’s a lot we can dis­cover on our own now we have the in­for­ma­tion in the neigh­bour’s note. Turn­ing to the li­brary shelves, we quickly dis­cover more about the lo­cal myth of Granny Weaver and high­light an­other ad­dress wor­thy of in­ves­ti­ga­tion. We can’t wait to see how the plot will thicken, and our nerves be strained, from there.

“REED RE­VEALS HIS SUPERPOWER: HE CAN SEE SNIP­PETS OF THE PAST.”

The Old Great Ones heav­ily in­flu­ence the lives of Oak­mont’s cit­i­zens. Per­haps they’ll even pay a visit.

Oak­mont is a sub­merged open world, mean­ing you’ll need to travel across parts of it by boat just as fre­quently as you will on foot.

Above There are many hor­rors lurk­ing in Oak­mont… and we’re not just talk­ing about the fleshy crea­tures we en­coun­tered in the demo.

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