|System: PC,||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: House of Tales||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Lighthouse Interactive||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: April, 11, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Nathan Meunier
At the core of every great point-and-click adventure game is a story that will draw players in from the beginning and hold them in its grips until the very end. Unfortunately, for every truly excellent PC adventure title there are dozens of others that succumb to the throes of mediocrity. Then there's Overclocked: A History of Violence. Since so few titles in the genre strive to throw new twists into the gameplay, it's encouraging when one comes along that attempts something a little out of the ordinary. Overclocked lays out some intriguing gameplay ideas, and the story is deceptively gripping, but it falls a bit short of greatness.
As the game opens, D.C. psychologist David McNamara is drawn to New York City when five half-crazed young men and women are located by police throughout the rain-drenched streets. Each is disheveled, scared, and unable to remember what happened to them, and McNamara is called in by a NYPD detective to a run-down Staten Island hospital to begin peeling back the layers of what caused all five of his new patients' psychosis. In the process of uncovering their violent past, McNamara must also confront his own personal demons along the way.
Using an unusual hypnosis methodology, you'll guide McNamara through his dark journey into the psyche of each patient in order to piece together the clues of what draws them together. Much of the game is spent playing as McNamara, but what makes Overclocked somewhat unique is you'll also control each of the patients at different times in the game as they flash back and re-experience memories of what happened to them. Each time they'll travel back further through their memories in reverse order. It's an interesting gameplay mechanic that slowly reveals the plot in small vignettes. This slow-drip story delivery creates an alluring sense of mystery about the five patients, and it really makes you want to delve deeper into the eerie series of events that brought them there.
The game's interface and control scheme is easy to use, and it functions better than your average point-and-click adventure. Moving your curser over a hotspot will cause a few picture options to pop up, and you can then select an action with the mouse. Most of the time you'll either be grabbing an item or looking at something, but in other situations the small animated image selections actually match up surprisingly well with your surroundings (instead of a one cursor icon fits all approach). They make it easier - perhaps too easy in some cases - to solve puzzles in the game. The item menu is always visible at the bottom screen, making it easy to reach for your PDA or anything else in the inventory. The problem is you won't be using your inventory nearly enough throughout the course of the game; an exorbitant amount of your time will be spent fiddling around with your PDA rather than manipulating other items of interest.
McNamara only travels between a handful of different locations throughout the course of the game (other characters will explore a different setting during brief flashbacks sequences), but transitioning between these areas is seamless. Those with little patience can hit the spacebar to bring up visual cues for all of the hotspots in a particular location. It's a feature that's not really needed in Overclocked, since you shouldn't have much problem figuring out where you can go and what you can grab, but it's something quite a few other tougher point-and-click titles could benefit from. It's just nice to see someone thought to implement the idea.