Overclocked: A History of Violence

by Wencke Schuncken
author awarded score: 75/100

Overclocked A History of Violence Review
Developed By: House of Tales
Published by: Lighthouse Interactive
Format Reviewed: PC
Reviewed By: Wencke Schuncken

A PC-game called Overclocked A History of Violence is currently looking for adventurous gamers, who wants to get involved in a psychological adventurous thriller which raises a lot of questions. We’re going to answer one question today, and that is if this is a suitable game for you!

While a catastrophic thunderstorm is raging over New York City, five young men and women in the age of twenty to twenty-two, stepped out of their normal life and were found screaming, scared, with no memory or orientation, running around naked through the city with a gun in their hands. As if the thunderstorm wasn’t bad enough already! After being arrested by the police they were transferred to the Staten Island Forensic Hospital. US army psychiatrist David Mc Namara has been chosen for his expertise in forensic psychiatry and therefore called to investigate his new patients. But is David the right person for the job while he’s struggling with mysterious choleric attacks ever since he retired from active duty? And on top of that, his marriage is in a total crisis. It makes me wonder who could use a shrink, the young people, the psychiatrist himself or … ?

Overclocked contains a point & click controlling method, and can be totally controlled by the left mouse button only. Although you can roam around in each environment it’s required to check each object or character to perform various actions, necessary to proceed in the game. For example in the beginning you control David the psychiatrist in his hotel room and need to find / collect certain items such as a pendulum and a PDA. When he, or better said, you collected all objects, it’s possible to leave the hotel. If not all objects are collected, you’ll get a message at the door, stating that David hasn’t got all of his things with him. I’m very positive about the fact that there is a build-in boundary as you won’t proceed and find out much later that something is missing / that your inventory isn’t complete and have to scan each and every place again, which is time consuming and irritating. But anyway, that’s not the case here as the “scanning” environment is kept quite small. There are objects which can be picked up and stored in your inventory, and there are objects to interact with. While pointing on an interactive object, you can perform, an action. For example look at, investigate, take, consider, crawl, etc. Some stored objects in your inventory can also contain various actions and of course some can be even be combined!

Let’s get the job done and it’s up to David to find out what exactly went wrong with those five young people, how they got so traumatised, and how they are associated in this violent conflict. With hypnoses combined with tape recordings on his PDA from patients that already recollected memories and were able to communicate, David makes progress. The recollections / flashbacks puts you in control of the patient and David totally disappears during these phases. These flashbacks are also interactive, and not just visual images / movies of what the patient experienced in the past. Let’s give an example of what kind of actions needs to be performed when you control a patient, trapped in a cell: break a chair, take the chair leg, reach for the knife spotted in the air grill, remove the grill’s screws with the knife, pull the grill and crawl into the ventilation shaft. Besides David’s study with the young patients, he has contact with the NYPD which need to be kept up to date about his progress and tries to find a solution to save his marriage. Yes, life can be harsh and stressful.

In Overclocked, each dialog sequence is, technically speaking, a short film played from the game in real-time. Of course you can skip them, but you’ll be missing important information and details that contribute to the game’s atmosphere. Although the character’s dialogues are supported by voice-acting, the sentences are also readable on top of the screen. Even when a character sighs or coughs, it will be shown as [sighs] [coughs] and each character has a specific text colour. In total you’ll interact with fifteen different characters. To my surprise the cut-scenes quality improves extremely to the end, and David for example, totally changes and almost seems to be a new character. Shame that the quality at the end isn’t used during the complete game. Overall the characters are nicely rendered but their emotions are somewhat neglected (face – body language). It’s not completely left out but it simply could have been better. That’s also the case with the visual interaction like when David’s having a drink at the bar, you won’t see him open his mouth while drinking.

From a female point of view I’ve met four female characters; Kim Mc Namara is of course David’s wife and visible not only via phone conversations but later on also when the two of them meet in the park. The second female character that comes into play is the terrible Tamara, the only nurse working in the hospital where she should take care of a group of five young patients but seems to focus more on her bad temper. Two young women belong to the group, such as the twenty-one year old Laura Fawcett. She seems to be individualistic, but down-to-earth. The second woman around is Victoria Montgomery. The companionship between the women is far than perfect, but can leave the past behind. (and in case you wonder, there’s no man to be blamed for their bad relationship in the past).

Overclocked A History of Violence is certainly a surprising psycho adventure with a thrilling story which unfolds surprisingly in its last phase. It’s recommendable to play in a short time period, after another, otherwise you somewhat lose track of the story / lose touch with the game, and time will be unnecessarily consumed playing the PDA’ recordings, clicking on interactive items or having the same conversations again, just to get back in the game’s story and process. In the beginning you’ll spend time exploring and getting used to the environments / objects and characters, but later on the speed of the gameplay increases, especially once you figured out how to trigger the patients’ recollections and using them on other patients. That’s when the story starts to evolve fluently and the urge to move on becomes stronger and stronger. Shame that the loading time for each cut-scene takes a little bit too long in my opinion and slows the game down. Also that it’s not clearly indicating that the cut-scene is loading as the screen “freezes”. Thank goodness that my DVD drive produces enough sound to understand that something is in process. But you’ll get used to that little minus fact. And talking about facts, did you gathered enough facts to conclude if this is a suitable game for you? If not, I either haven’t put my experience correctly in writing or you simply skipped most of the text, right to this conclusion : you simply need to give Overclocked a (non-regrettable) chance!