Overclocked: A History of Violence

Written by Joe Martin

May 24, 2008 | 02:29

Tags: #adventure-game #budget #click #overclocked #point #review #thriller

Companies: #funcom


Overclocked has some pretty good ideas about how to work narrative and gameplay together and the idea of therapising the patients by walking them through their tragedies isn’t entirely flawed and plays like a nicer version of I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, which is incidentally the game adaptation of my second favourite book.

However, Overclocked never takes these clever ideas very far and the game as a whole falls down on the execution of its concepts. The beginning and end of each empathy session is a repetitive mess and players are forced to play recordings of the sessions they’ve just had over to the patients again. With no apparent option to skip the repeated dialogue, it’s more of an endurance contest than a psychological thriller.

What we found far worse, though, was that the game never really makes its aims known to the player. From the start it’s never really clear which patient you should be talking to first, who needs to hear which recording when and how to get things moving on over.

In fact, even when the goals are given to the player they are often confused. Looking over one of the patient files revealed that one was bought in muttering the word ‘Delete’ over and over again. The Police established that it wasn’t a gang phrase and David reckoned it might be a technical term and said that he would confront the patient with the word to try and jog his memory. Wow, what an insight.

Overclocked: A History of Violence Gameplay and Conclusions

Stupidly though, players aren’t able to just come right out and say ‘Delete’ to him. Instead, you’ll have to borrow a pencil and paper from the nurses’ station, write it down and then hold the word in front of his face. There’s no indication of any of this – hell, as far as David knew the boy couldn’t even read.

That puzzle was made even worse by the fact that none of the patient files clearly says which patient is in which room and the pre-rendered viewpoints don’t offer good views of their faces. We had to try each room in turn to get anywhere.

The most fatal flaw for the game though is the depressingly sterile feel of the whole experience. There’s an argument to say that this was a deliberate choice from the developers to try and give the game a certain ambience or mood. Such arguments are stupid because if you deliberately add something to a game that makes it stop being fun then you are a bad designer, frankly.

The environments that you’ll find yourself exploring are all little more than dark grey postcards with nothing to write home about in them. There’s very little in the way of interactivity and there are more than a few locations in the game that seem completely irrelevant and foolish.

Overclocked: A History of Violence Gameplay and Conclusions

The same goes for the main character. David may be a man with the weight on the world of his shoulders, but if that means he remains this boring to play forever then we hope to God there isn’t a sequel in the works. David speaks only in monotone, is perpetually pushed over by his friends and is utterly uninteresting to play with.

True, not all adventure game characters have to be as colourful as Guybrush Threepwood or as life-life and believable as I’ve recently found April Ryan to be, but they need to at least maintain player interest for the length of the game. Unfortunately though, David’s tepid style and flaccid voice acting make him seem about as engaging as a tall glass of stale water.

Overclocked: A History of Violence Gameplay and Conclusions


Overclocked is the unfortunate and sad reality of the adventure game genre today – a genre populated by cheaply produced and really quite uninteresting titles made primarily for Nordic and German audiences where they somehow manage to cling to the fringe of popularity.

There are many problems with Overclocked, not least of which is the off-kilter and often irrelevant dialogue. The interface is also a little unwieldy at times and there are a whole slew of smaller errors and tweaks that really should have been done to the game as rudimentary courtesy for players.

And yet, it retains some level of charm if only on a slightly masochistic level. There is a strange pull to the story of these five people who were mentally broken from their experiences and the gameplay, while staid, is enough to make the story accessible. Just.

At the end of the day though, the cons clearly outweigh the pros and while Overclocked will no doubt maintain some appeal with the adventure game enthusiasts, the majority will want to walk on by and try something a little more polished.
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