Frogwares, best known for her Sherlock Holmes works, released the PS5 version di The Sinking City, an investigative adventure inspired by the narrative universe of HP Lovecraft. This next-gen re-edition offers various graphic improvements and also support for unique PlayStation 5 functions, DualSense in the first place. Let's see all the details in ours review.
The Sinking City | Review PS5
Let's start with the bad news. As previously announced by the developers, the PS5 version of The Sinking City cannot be obtained via a free upgrade if you already own the PS4 version. The reason is the legal dispute between Frogwares and Nacon, publisher of the PS4 version: the new game is in fact completely separate from the old-gen one and the team is therefore unable to offer the news for free. Also, of course, the PS4 version saves are not compatible with the PlayStation 5 version.
Removed this tooth, let's start with the real review of The Sinking City and try to understand what are the improvements made. First of all, the Lovecraftian adventure achieves one native 4K resolution with a frame rate of 60 FPS. The leap forward of the PS5 version compared to that of the PlayStation 4 is sensitive, therefore. The graphics are cleaner and the higher, more stable frame rate makes exploration smoother. The textures are also improving of the environments, as you can see in the two images below (PS5 on the left, PS4 on the right), also thanks to a more effective lighting system.
Obviously the move to PlayStation 5 allowed Frogwares to improve various details. The aforementioned lighting system is more effective and, added with a superior quality fog effect, makes environments more realistic and impactful. The game now also features lens flare effects, which emphasize the most powerful light sources and give a more cinematic edge to scenes. Window panes and water surfaces (both city rivers and simple puddles) now reflect light, even if it is a very basic and sometimes a little intrusive effect. Overall, though, The Sinking City has a better visual impact on PS5, while always betraying its AA gaming nature.
They are not the only news, however. As you can see from the two images below, the PlayStation 5 version of The Sinking City offers a higher density of elements. You can in fact notice that there are tufts of grass and various dirt on PS5, completely absent on PlayStation 4. The two images also allow you to notice that some textures have been changed: in the lower right you can in fact see that part of the terrain is different. Similar parts are also displayed at higher resolution.
Unfortunately, the PS5 version of The Sinking City still suffering from some pop-up issues, with large elements (such as trees) appearing and disappearing at a medium distance. The same happened in the PS4 version. I am instead improved uploads. We did some tests with the two versions, both run on PS5, and the difference during a quick in-game journey is about ten seconds to the advantage of PlayStation 5. Precisely, passing from the port area to the hotel where the protagonist resides it takes 2 to 3 seconds in the next-gen version, compared to 12-13 seconds in the old-gen version. Initial loading is also faster. Considering that we will soon find ourselves making quick trips every few minutes, this is a time saver that should not be underestimated.
PlayStation 5 also has some unique features that are exploited by The Sinking City. The game cards, for example, they are used to show the trophy of the story mission in progress: they indicate both the percentage of completion and the in-game reward that we will receive upon completion.
The functions of the Dualense. Frogwares has opted for limited but adequate use. For example, the haptic feedback it will generate a small vibration when we move in the boat: in the case of collisions with floating objects (it happens frequently, since they are everywhere) we will feel the impact on the hands. The latter is also positioned correctly depending on the point of the boat that is hit. Is this a fundamental function? No. When returning to PS4, were we puzzled by the lack of it? Yup.
Added to this is a vibration effect for falls and for approaching the most important clues. The Sinking City also takes advantage of the adaptive triggers, for example with the camera that makes the R2 more resistant and makes us perceive the "click" of the click on the finger.
We then point out a last oddity: the PS5 version of The Sinking City does not have manual saving but only automatic saving. For a normal game experience this is not a problem, but this will likely prevent players from using the reload of a manual save to repeat sections and more easily obtain certain trophies.
The Sinking City offers a very simple upgrade: higher resolution and frame rate, some additional visual effects and faster loading, as well as features unique to PS5, such as DualSense haptic feedback. However, the technical leap is not incredible and the experience does not change significantly. The playful quality of the game does not change and, lacking a free update, we recommend the purchase only to those who do not have an old-gen version. Everyone else can safely ignore it.
- The higher frame rate makes the game more enjoyable
- DualSense is used in a minimal but effective way
- While understandable, the lack of a free upgrade is a major drawback