Best skills to unlock first in The Sinking City

Learn which skills you should unlock first as you play through The Sinking City.


With three main categories and forty skills to choose from, knowing which skills you should unlock first in The Sinking City will be important for players. Each skill brings a nice bonus to Charles Reed, which can make your journey much easier to survive. In this guide we’ll discuss the best skills to unlock, as well as cover all of the skills that you can acquire in The Sinking City.

All skills in The Sinking City

Before we talk about the best skills, though, let’s have a chat about the various skills you can acquire. There are three categories that you can upgrade in The Sinking City: Combat Proficiency, Vigor, and Mind. We’ve broken down each category’s skills below, so take a look to see everything you can unlock.

The Sinking City best skills - Absolute Clarity
Skills like Absolute Clarity will make it easier to earn experience more quickly.

All Combat Proficiency skills

Here’s a full table of the Combat Proficiency skills, as well as what each skill does when unlocked.

Skills Name Skill Description
Trapper Set Traps twice as quickly.
Ankle Biter Traps hold enemies in place for longer.
Leg cutter Sharpened teeth on Traps penetrate deeper dealing 100% more damage.
Sapper charge Grenades and Firebombs have increased range.
High Yield Grenades and Firebombs deal 30% more damage.
Hardboiled Detective Keep an extra bullet loaded 10% chance to deal double damage with the Pistol.
Nimble Fingers Reload the Revolver faster.
Gunslinger 10% chance to deal double damage with the Revolver.
War Veteran 20% damage increase for the Battle Rifle.
Sharpshooter 10% chance to deal double damage with the Battle Rifle.
Firm Grip Improved accuracy with the SMG.
Recoil Control Increased accuracy with the SMG.
Tight Spring Load two more shells into the Shotgun.
Trench Sweeper Wider shotgun spread and improved damage.

All Vigor skills

The table below includes each of the various Vigor skills that you can unlock, as well as descriptions of what they do when equipped.

Skill Name Skill Description
Extra Clip Carry 7 more pistol rounds.
Field Medic Carry 1 additional First Aid Kit and Antipsychotic.
Heavy Ordnance Carry 1 more Grenade and Firebomb.
Bandolier Carry 3 more rounds for the Battle Rifle.
Army-Issue Bandolier Carry 10 more rounds for the SMG.
Deep Pockets Carry 6 more rounds for the Revolver.
Bottomless Pockets Carry 4 more rounds for the Shotgun.
Unnatural Recovery Slowly regenerate a limited amount of health when close to death.
Abnormal Endurance Increase in Vitality.
Eldritch Endurance A further increase in Vitality.
Privateye the Sailor Deal more damage with Melee attacks.
Lightning Bruiser Melee attack speed is increased.
Furtive Lurker Fall damage is halved.
Indigestible Man-eating eels deal half the normal damage to you while swimming.

All Mind skills

Next up on our list is a detailed look at the Mind skills that you can unlock. The table below includes each skill as well as a description of what it does.

Skill Name Skill Description
Smart Packing Can now carry up to 25 pieces of any crafting material.
Crafting Efficiency: Supplies A 15% change to save materials when crafting First Aid Kits, Sanity Kits, and Traps.
Crafting Efficiency: Explosives 15% change to save materials when crafting any explosives.
Crafting Efficiency: Ammunition 15% chance to save materials when crafting any type of ammunition.
Master Survivalist 10% chance to save materials when crafting any item.
Absolute Clarity Earn more experience and stay sane longer.
No Charity 50% chance to gain double quest reward items.
Silver Tongue Earn double the quest rewards for each completed quest.
Detective Analysis Gain more experience from all sources.
Deductive Method Gain even more experience from all sources.
Radiant Mind Stay sane much longer.
Effulgent Mind Stay sane longer than any ordinary human.

Best skills to unlock first in The Sinking City

Now that we’ve discussed each of the skills, let’s talk about some of the best skills to focus unlocking first. Obviously, because you’re going to be seeing a lot of strange things, getting some points into the Mind tree is going to be important. I’d highly suggest picking up Absolute Clarity as quickly as possible. Not only will it increase how long you stay sane, but it will also increase the amount of experience you earn for completing tasks. This means you’ll lever up quicker, gaining access to even more Knowledge Points.

You’ll also want to grab Smart Packing as soon as possible, too. This will allow you to carry more crafting mats, which means less you have to leave behind as you explore. It’s also important to pick up the Extra Clip skill and even the Deep Pockets skill. The Revolver is a much stronger weapon than the Pistol, so having additional ammunition for each of them will be important in combat situations.

Best skills to unlock first in The Sinking City
Skills like Extra Clip will allow you to carry more ammunition for your weapons.

If you’re planning on investigating the Infested areas you can find around the city, I’d suggest unlocking Unnatural Recovery and then Abnormal Endurance. These two skills will give you an increased amount of health, as well as a buff that gives you a bit of health regeneration, making it easier to stay alive in tense combat moments.

After you’ve grabbed these skills, it’s up to you how you want to progress. Complete quests to acquire new Knowledge Points and be sure to upgrade things as quickly as you can. There doesn’t appear to be any way to change our which skills you’ve unlocked, so try to pick the ones you want first as leveling up can be a bit of a work in The Sinking City.

Now that you know more about the best skills to unlock, be sure to head back over to our The Sinking City guides hub. You’ll also want to follow Shacknews on Twitter for more great content like this.

Guides Editor

Joshua holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and has been exploring the world of video games for as long as he can remember. He enjoys everything from large-scale RPGs to small, bite-size indie gems and everything in between.

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