This page of our guide to The Sinking City provides general information on how to conduct and resolve investigations. We highly recommend to use tips provided here if you are stuck in a deadlock during an investigation or if you just don't want to follow our description of the game and you prefer to determine the next steps by yourself.
- Impact of difficulty level on the course of the game
- Collection of evidence
- Analysis of evidence
- Closure of investigation
- Side cases
Impact of difficulty level on the course of the game
Even before beginning the game you can adjust the difficulty level of investigation. This choice does not affect the actions required to solve the puzzles in the game, but only how the game will help you to find clues and analyze them in proper way.
- At a low difficulty level (called Newcomer), key footprints are indicated by icons suggested by their application (for example, finding a location on a world map or visiting an archive). This significantly reduces the risk that there will be trouble finding the next step in an investigation.
- At the normal level of difficulty (Detective), the collected evidence is devoid of hint icons. You have to determine for yourself whether a given clue or track has any application and, if so, what it concerns.
- At high difficulty level (Master sleuth) the game is additionally limited by two other types of hints. You will not receive information about the collection of all traces from a given location, nor information about the fact that you can use the Palace of Mind to combine the collected clues.
Collection of evidence
You can get new tracks and clues for your file folder in seven main ways:
1) Basic exploration of locations marked with a magnifying glass icon - is the most important method by which you can unlock as many tracks and clues as possible. Important information is that the game does not "highlight" interactive objects and items. Only after you come close enough to some object / item may an icon will appear that lets you further investigate it or take it. As a result, try to thoroughly explore all the rooms and areas. Check every corner.
Note - If you choose a high difficulty level, then the game will not display on the screen information that you have found all the words, evidence, and that the actual progress in the current location is 100%.
2) Use Mind's Eye - The opportunity to use this "gadget" may appear during a simple exploration of the area. Stay alert for image distortions that signal the possibility of using the mind's eye. Thanks to it, you can e.g. look more closely at the found object or get rid of the walls-illusion.
3) Use Mind Palace - it is a separate menu where you can get new tracks and clues. Your task is to combine the clues into pairs. Each correct pair of hints unlocks a deduction that can become a new trail. Sometimes the game offers two different deductions. These may be different conclusions that may end in various ways (from the perspective of investigation). Deduction is never the final decision or choice in an investigation. Even if you come to the conclusion that e.g. a character X has to die, after reaching the moment of making a decision he/she can behave differently and stay alive. Treat Mind Palace as an aid to progress in an investigation, not as a place where irreversible decisions are made.
Note - If you choose a high difficulty level, the game will not display additional information about unlocking new clues and the possibility of combining them in the Mind Palace.
4) Retrocognition - The opportunity to use retrocognition only appears in selected locations marked with a magnifying glass icon - usually crime scenes and other locations where some events have occurred before. You have to enter the blue cloud, find all the interactive points and then set the chronological order of events. It is necessary to approach the following points and mark them with numbers 1, 2, 3, etc.
If you choose the correct sequence, the screen flashes green and Reed will comment the course of events. If you make a mistake, the screen flashes red. Then you have to change the set order to another (correct one).
5) Following signs (omens) - is another additional activity that has appeared only in some locations. Signs (omens) may appear after you switch on the Mind's Eye. They also have various forms - they can be e.g. silhouettes of people, ravens, or flying monsters. Following the footsteps and tracks may allow you to reach e.g. a secret object, a place of hiding of a searched person, or a secret passage.
6) Questioning of NPCs - ask NPCs with all possible questions so you can unlock new tracks (e.g. witness statement, items or information about the new territory that should be examined).
Note - Watch out for decision-heavy dialogue options. If they are mutually exclusive, choose a behavioral option which is going to push the investigation in the direction that suits you.
7) Visiting archives - Archives are convenient in those situations in which you need, for example, find someone's place of residence or get to the police documents with information about criminal activity in specific areas of the city. You must select the correct archive (for example, police or city hall), have proof for analysis and correctly set 3 search criteria. Only then the research will be successful.
Note - The topic of visiting archives for investigations has been described in more detail on a separate page of our guide - How to use archives?.
Analysis of evidence
Every time you unlock a new track or clue, get in the habit of opening an evidence file - Casebook and analyzing it:
- If you have set a low difficulty level, the game (next to important material evidence) will display an icon with a hint about their use. This can be, for example, an icon suggesting that the evidence is linked to a conversation or a visit to an archive.
- If you have set a normal or high level of difficulty in your investigation, you will not be informed about the type of evidence you have collected.
Regardless of the selected difficulty level, read the exact descriptions of the unlocked clues and tracks. Very important information can be found in the descriptions. This is mainly about the addresses of buildings, which you can then locate on the map of Oakmont - remember that the game will not mark the location on the map of the city itself. From descriptions of evidence you can also learn e.g. who should be questioned next or what is the significance of taken item.
Closure of investigation
The criminal case / investigation is automatically closed after completing all main actions related to it. You will receive information about the completion of investigation (example shown in the picture). The game can also optionally display rewards (XP, weapons, ammo, etc.), display info about new material evidence that just got unlocked, and info about the new investigation that just has been executed (if cases and investigations are being played one after the other).
It is worth noting that the investigation may end even if you have not found or correctly analyzed 100% of the material evidence. Only those actions are taken into account that allowed you to make further progress with investigation. Completing investigations in 100% is still recommended, because you will gain more experience points. Our guide includes finding and investigating all possible traces and clues.
Side-cases can be completed in parallel with major investigations. You can unlock them in various ways - as you complete major investigations, find bulletin boards, or meet NPCs. Side missions have been described in a separate chapter of our guide.
At any time, you can have any number of active side investigations. Also, you don't have to wait until you finish your current main job. At any time you may take a break from the main investigation and engage in additional mission.