|Overclocked: A History of Violence|
|Developer: House of Tales
Publisher: Lighthouse Interactive
Release Date: Out Now
Overclocked is a very scary game. Not because of any really great story telling, atmospheric locations or tension-ridden plotting mind you. It scared me half to death because when I put the game disc in the tray the sound it made (think jet-engine meets jigsaw) as it spun up made me think my disc drive was about to explode, raining red hot disc shrapnel right into my face. An experience which, in hindsight, wouldíve left a more pleasant impression than actually playing this game.
Sitting down to Overclocked and trying to play through the first hour is a truly harrowing experience. Part of this is the setting for the game. Itís New York during what seems like the biggest and most prolonged storm in history, and you control David McNamara, an ex-military psychologist brought in by the NYPD to deal with what appears to be no more than a few cases of linked psychosis. Several people have been picked up walking around New York in little but their skivvies after going unexpectedly and inexplicably bat-shit, and have been incarcerated in an ageing asylum on Staten Island for your troubled doc to have a look at.
Youíll spend most of your time with the point-and-click in-session with your various patients, taking control of them in flashback segments as you try and uncover what befell them. Itís a clever little piece of design, putting you in the shoes of the victim and challenging you with puzzles that, while occasionally bordering on the illogical or obtuse, are mostly straightforward affairs with the majority of items you pick up having an immediately obvious application. The inventory is kept to what seems like a bare minimum Ė thereís no need to try and pick up anything and everything in sight, which has the dual benefit of keeping the puzzles clearer and the pace much more even and brisk than youíd expect. Thereís nothing stellar in the mechanics or the design, but itís all solidly competent.
Most of the acting, predictably, sounds phoned-in or spoken by people for whom English is most definitely not their first language. The script isnít nearly as tight as it could be and regularly produces awkward or just plain stupid dialogue for our characters to spout, all while they maintain a fixed, wide-eyed expression for every emotion (another handicap of the gameís graphical technology). This takes a lot of the gloss off of any exposition and goes a way towards neutering the intensity of any truly tense or emotional moments. More so than most other genres an adventure game lives or dies on the strength of its characters and its conflicts, and itís still a mystery to me why developers still insist on hiring plainly second-rate voice and script talent to try and do their ideas justice.
- Stronger-than-expected story
- Solid adventure gameplay
- (Mostly) sensible puzzles
- The usualÖ