Overclocked: A History of Violence PC DVD
Published by: Lighthouse Interactive
Developed by: House of Tales
Release Date: Out Now
In Overclocked: A History of Violence you’ll play as a psychiatrist named David McNamara. He’s been called to the Staten Island Forensic Hospital to examine five disturbed individuals who have been found in different parts of the city filled with terror and all of them are behaving dangerously and apparently suffering from amnesia. You’ll have to reconstruct the events of the last week for each of the five people and piece together all of the evidence to find out just what has happened. Overclocked: A History of Violence is an unusual point and click adventure game to be sure but it is engrossing all the way until the game’s ever so slightly disappointing conclusion.
It’s customary in a review for an adventure game to go into some detail regarding the game’s storyline. That isn’t really possible with Overclocked because to go into any level of detail regarding the storyline would essentially be spoiling the game. Suffice to say that things are not quite what they seem. David has been brought in by the government to investigate the five amnesia individuals, as he has a rather unique way of finding out information. Naturally this causes a lot of resentment from the hospital’s head doctor and his loyal assistant. For some reason they seem to be unnaturally hard towards him and have no absolutely no intention of helping him. To make things even better David’s marriage is apparently on the rocks and having to investigate five such individuals is the last thing he needs.
During the course of the game you’ll not only play as David but also the five individuals whom you are trying to help. Unlike the staff at the hospital where the patients are staying, David doesn’t rely on medication to help his patients. Instead, David prefers to use hypnosis and to record their flashbacks on his PDA. During most of the flashbacks (some flashbacks are simply cutscenes) you’ll control the character that is experiencing it. Most of the challenge in Overclocked is finding out what needs to be done to trigger a flashback. Essentially you’ll present an item or play back a recording on your PDA to trigger a memory. As the game progresses you’ll have quite a lot of recordings on your PDA and finding the right one to trigger a flashback can become tedious. Fortunately, David will say ‘Hmmm’ to himself (which is in text) when you’ve played back a recording that will trigger a flashback. Sometimes you’ll find the right recording is a logical choice but at other times you’ll find yourself playing through a mass of recordings just to find one that hits the spot.
Overclocked has a lot of things going for it. The control system and interface are as user friendly as you could hope for. The game can be played entirely with the mouse if you wish. Pressing the space bar will show you all of the areas on screen that can be interacted with, so you’ll never have to endure the dreaded pixel hunt in order to find an object that can be used. The puzzles in the game all seem logical and can be solved with just a little bit of thought. As we’ve just mentioned however, triggering a flashback can be tedious at times. Having to plough your way through the recordings over and over again in search of the one that will trigger the next flashback does tend to bog down the pace of the game somewhat. It’s also rather disappointing to find that the conclusion to the game isn’t as satisfying as you might have hoped for after all your effort to piece the storyline together.
Point and click adventure games have never offered cutting-edge visuals but Overclocked actually looks pretty good. The various environments and characters models all look good but with that said, there are some rough spots. For instance, you’ll notice that the facial animations are somewhat limited at times. When the characters speak, their lips don’t always move. Quite a few of the animations in the game seem rather wooden which is rather unsightly. Given that the game installs around 5GB worth of data on your hard drive, you’d be forgiven for thinking that you wouldn’t run into any load time issues. Unfortunately that isn’t the case. There are several cutscenes where you’ll have to wait a few seconds for the DVD-ROM to spin up and it really does hamper the tense and fearful atmosphere that the game is trying to create. Surely it wouldn’t have hurt to have given you the option to install these cutscenes to the hard drive?
Deaf gamers won’t have any problems with Overclocked: A History of Violence. The game is subtitled and you’ll be able to follow the game’s storyline throughout the game. The subtitles are placed at the top of the screen and are colour-coded. The subtitles don’t have any character names or portraits placed alongside the text but this doesn’t cause any problems. All of the information on your PDA is shown in text and the recordings that you’ll play back time and time again are also subtitled. The game makes good use of icons and they are all easy to comprehend.
Overclocked: A History of Violence is a rather unusual adventure game that fans of the genre should appreciate. It has its fair share of bugbears such as having to find the right recording or item to trigger a flashback and the annoying load times that really put a damper on the tense atmosphere but there can be no denying that the game’s storyline is engrossing and you’ll want to carry on playing just to see how everything works out. The game’s conclusion isn’t as satisfying as you might have hoped for (a failing of quite a few adventures in fact) but for the most part you’ll enjoy getting to that conclusion and piecing together the events that lead up to the five individuals being placed in Staten Island Forensic Hospital.