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: A History of Violence

Publisher: Lighthouse Interactive
Platform: PC
UK Price (as reviewed): £14.99 (inc. Delivery)
US Price (as reviewed): $27.99 (ex. Tax)

I’ve found myself getting back into adventure games recently. I’m not quite sure why, but after burning my way through some of the more action-packed releases lately, I’ve had a hankering for something a little more cerebral.

This sudden urge, brought on no doubt by too much Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock, even lead to me actually buying a copy of The Longest Journey to play over the weekend.

And then, rather fortuitously, when that passion for point and clicking reached its zenith, Overclocked landed on my desk – another adventure game to help boost my IQ before I returned to the world of Grand Theft Auto IV and started once more to partake in casual violence and strippers.

Even despite my surge of interest in the genre though, Overclocked would still have got my attention. Subtitled A History of Violence and billed as a psychological thriller, I was eager to test my mettle as well as my historical knowledge.

Of course, nothing ever quite goes as planned and Overclocked turned out not to be what I was expecting at all…

Overclocked: A History of Violence Overclocked: A History of Violence

A History of Violence

Overclocked kicks off with a fairly clichéd, but still intriguing premise. You are David Macnamara, clinical psychiatrist and trauma specialist. You’ve been called out by the government to work on a bizarre case that seems to have left five different people massively traumatised.

Oh, and you have these weird dreams, are a burgeoning alcoholic by the look of things and are having troubles at home. Your wife is leaving you, your best friend won’t return your calls and your colleagues are all grumpy freaks and enigmatic arseholes.

You are a man at odds with the world then, in a city where it seems to never stop raining and you are left to wander between samey, grey locations.

But that doesn’t matter – you’re a man with a job to do, dammit! You’ve got to help these kids by forcing them to relive and confront their fears. Each of the five people (constantly referred to as Kids, though each of them actually appears to be middle-aged) was found wondering the streets of New York, naked and nameless but with a gun in their hand.

Overclocked: A History of Violence Overclocked: A History of Violence

The mind of each has been broken in an entirely different way. It’s up to you to repair the damage, fixing your own ruined life as best you can in-between.

And, to its credit, the game handles this quite cleverly. David may be a troubled man, but he is still very talented and has an acute sense of empathy. The bulk of the game then consists of empathising with one of the five different patients and leading them through their own memories – this is worked into the game as an interactive flashback. David then records what the patients describe and use these recordings to job the memories of the other patients, using hypnosis, clues and handcuffs to quicken the pace.

When not traversing the shattered psyches of his patients, David can try to uncover more clues with the help of the local detective, while struggling to hide his uncomfortable past from his fellow doctors – this becomes more and more difficult as his history starts to rear its head.
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