Overclocked: A History Of Violence

Publisher: Lighthouse
Developer: House of Tales
Year: 2008
Platform: Windows

A competent game with a surefire premise, Overclocked suffers from some unevenness in storytelling and some unrealistic character motivations.

Five young New Yorkers have been found half-naked, wielding guns and henceforth placed into a psychiatric hospital. You play former Army shrink Dave McNamara, who has been called in to try and unravel the memories and relationships of the men and women now suffering amnesia and in nearly catatonic states. Meanwhile, the hospital’s psychiatrist and nurse are at odds with Dave, and his marriage is also on the rocks.

Overclocked: A History of Violence Windows Chapter 1: calling Jack's wife.

The strength in Overclocked comes with the psychiatric sessions. As you help each person try to recover repressed memories, you take control over each character, guiding them through their personal nightmares. Even better, you begin at the tail end of their memories, working your way back to the source of their mutual problems. Character development through these flashbacks is solid, though the voice acting is quite amateurish. But the story is intriguing enough (and the puzzles straightforward enough) to carry the player to the conclusion.

Unfortunately, most everything else in the game is suspect. The storm of the century is occurring in New York throughout the game, though unlike in Fahrenheit, it has no apparent connection to the plot. And despite non-stop rain for days on end, nothing is flooded out or even soaked for that matter. Dave also suffers from random emotional outbursts, apparently from alcoholism. His acting during these outbursts is laughable, but he still comes off as unstable and would be quite scary in person. Yet people do not react appropriately when Dave goes off the deep end, and in reality he would be arrested somewhere around the half-way point of the game. Yet he is allowed to continue his downward spiral indefinitely. And as I couldn’t stand Dave (and understandably, nobody else in the game can either), I had no one to really root for.

Overclocked: A History of Violence Windows David is threatened.

But the most annoying aspect of the game is how the patient flashbacks are structured. Nearly every flashback requires a trigger to help the patient remember.  Sometimes the trigger is environmental, and sometimes it is audial. But most of them are simple, and as there are about twenty-five flashbacks you must uncover, the whole process becomes tedious and a good excuse to refer to a walkthrough.

The graphics and sound are okay but nothing special. So your enjoyment of this game will depend on how much you buy into the plot and the characters. I was never terribly irritated while playing, but I also wasn’t terribly excited, either. Overclocked is the definition of average.

Overclocked: A History of Violence Windows A gruesome scene

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