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


For the most part House of Tales’ Overclocked uses pre-rendered backgrounds and static viewpoints, but there are a few stages where the game dares to get a little more up to date – such as in some of the shooting sequences which crop up occasionally.

Graphics aren’t usually the most important part of an adventure game and the back catalogue of the genre is full of examples to prove this. The game could look like it had just been burned at the stake and, as long as the puzzles are good and the story is engaging, then it’ll be alright.

Still, there are graphical options to fiddle with and, what with graphics being an increasingly important factor of computer games, it’s only fair that we take a little peek under the hood.

Maximum Quality

The easiest way to look at the graphics on offer in Overclocked: A History of Violence is to look at the presets available to the player. There are only a few different setting available to tinker with anyway and the presets simply toggle some of these on and off.

Overclocked: A History of Violence Graphics
Overclocked on Maximum Quality

So, this is Overclocked with all the trimmings. Well, all four of them; Per Pixel Lighting, Shadows, Shadow Filtering and Post Effects. Those are the four variables and they are all switched on in the box above.

The main thing to look at here is the shadows, as the Post Effects setting only ever seems to come into play when the camera actually moves, which is a rare thing and jerkily done. For the most part the viewpoint will just suddenly switch, much like in games like Resident Evil. The shadows here though are quite nice – they react realistically to light and are decently filtered. That’s all about to change though…

Reduced Quality

Reduced Quality is a clever expression – it’s like saying that beans have a reduced salt content even though the reduction is only 0.2 percent. Either way, here’s what the game looks like…

Overclocked: A History of Violence Graphics
Overclocked on Reduced Quality

Again, the shadows are the important thing to notice. The Post Effects and Shadow Filtering have both been turned off and the overall effect is that the shadows now look like something out of 2001: A Space Odyssey; something a monkey would bash a bone on.

Thankfully, Overclocked doesn’t have very high requirements and recommended spec lists only 1GB of RAM and a Shader Model 2.0 graphics card – meaning in other words that there’s no reason for you to settle for this setting unless you want to play the game on an Eee PC.

Maximum Speed

Again, with the clever wording. Maximum Speed is a lot like saying a tin of baked beans has reduced salt content to cover the fact that there’s no enough sugar in it to turn the person sitting next to you into a diabetic. So, here’s the salt free version of Overclocked.

Overclocked: A History of Violence Graphics
Overclocked on Maximum Speed

Now all the graphics have been turned down, but surprisingly the game doesn’t look as bad as the Reduced Quality setting. The reason for that is that the game is built heavily around pre-rendered backgrounds and static images – there’s very little in the way of actual video processing to do.

In fact, as before, the only real noticeable difference is in the shadows, and this is where the game manages to look better than the Reduced Quality setting – no shadows is better than colossal shadows anytime, just ask The Sentry. It may not be the best this game can do, but if we were forced to play on an under-specced machine then this is the option we’d go for.
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