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<  News & gossip  ~  Overclocked: A History of Violence

Posted: Sat May 24, 2008 1:52 am Reply with quote
Joined: 12 Dec 2006 Posts: 4266 Location: London, Land of Tea and Top Hats
I read a review for this game today, which basically said "lots of potential, but too linear and cumbersome gameplay". Apparently it's about a psychiatrist treating a number of patients who have all been mentally scarred by horrific violence; switching between the psychiatrist and his patients reveals more of the story.

The story interests me, but the review was only lukewarm and I'm a bit uncertain about it.

Has anyone played it? Read any other reviews? Should I buy it?
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path to home
Posted: Sat May 24, 2008 10:02 am Reply with quote
Joined: 15 Apr 2008 Posts: 886 Location: At your request
the problem with reviews is that they are always biased.

If the player isn't interested in this kind of game, they will just look for excuse to not like it Razz

perhaps look for a demo and come to your own conclusion Smile

*Ding Smile
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Posted: Sat May 24, 2008 11:08 pm Reply with quote
Site Administrator Joined: 07 Jun 2002 Posts: 8065 Location: Gent, Belgium
If it's anything like their previous game (The Moment of Silence), it'll suffer from too straight old school adventure game design. Too much "find a key, oh no it's broken, find something to fix the key, you need two things to fix it, the girl can tell you, but she won't unless you give her a tissue because she's crying". Etc. Following convoluted threads of objects leading to other objects, while you completely loose track of the story.
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Posted: Sun May 25, 2008 1:53 am Reply with quote
Joined: 12 Dec 2006 Posts: 4266 Location: London, Land of Tea and Top Hats
I actually quite enjoy convoluted strings of items. I don't know why. They just make me feel fulfilled.

But you're right in saying that they destroy a good story. =/

I've downloaded the demo and will probably return with thoughts...
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Posted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 9:46 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 12 Dec 2006 Posts: 4266 Location: London, Land of Tea and Top Hats
Most of a month later, I return with thoughts, which I'm pretending are for the whole game but in reality are only for the demo.

I started playing it...takes you ages to DO anything. The character walks incredibly slowly, so just crossing a corridor can take ten or so seconds; sounds immaterial, but you try walking through five corridors to get to where you want to go. Talking to other characters is boring, and if they've got nothing to say it takes too long to switch out of dialogue with them. Various other bits of interface were poorly designed as well; the organiser-thing that appears to be your most valuable piece of kit was very hard to use, for instance.

And the linearity! There is only one way and one order to do things in. Nothing can be changed from how the designers wanted it to be; if you're stuck, you can't go and do something else to win thinking time.

That's a shame, because the game is set up in a way that could be very non-linear. You are a psychiatrist charged with helping five very unwell people; the first step to doing this is going through their memories. You do this by hypnotising them with your pendant, at which point the game asks you to play as the patient reliving their memories.

It would be fun (I think) to play through each memory as you wanted to, to switch between patients at will; but no, you can only play as the patient the game wants you to play as, only play to a prescribed point in memory, etc, etc.

But, in its defence, the puzzles are fun(ish), and require a bit of lateral thinking, which is always good; though, again, I would ask for less linearity. For instance, at one point (playing as a patient) you use a brick to stop a fan, and later remove it by shooting it. Why could I not remove it manually? I put it in manually, didn't I? The story is also intriguing and mildly engrossing, but it wouldn't hurt for a better writer to be hired.

...I think those are the only good things about the game. In short:
- Too linear
- Too cumbersome to play
- Too linear
- Poorly-designed interface
- Too linear
- Looks DREADFUL - characters so badly animated you can practically see the wireframe
- Too linear
- Badly written story
But, y'know, I can forgive it all those things because it at least portrayed its subject matter accurately. It's about mentally ill people in a psychiatric unit, and is sensitive, empathetic, and accurate. Too many sources portray mental illness as something which destroys all powers of reason and communication, something which is cured in prison-like surroundings by patronising and emotionally castrated doctors. It's good to know that Overclocked GOES ABSOLUTELY NOWHERE TOWARDS REVERSING THESE STEREOTYPES.

GOD. I only wish that last paragraph was true. In Overclocked patients don't have names, they just have NUMBERS - Patient 1, Patient 2, Patient 3. As if being admitted to a psychiatric unit makes you so sub-human you don't even deserve an identity. The hypnotising that I mentioned early? That's not true. Psychiatric patients are capable of communication; and psychiatric patients do not exist in locked cells populated with only a bed, a chair, and a desk either. Those would actually be extremely unhealthy surroundings, as they provide a patient with nothing to do but think and remove all opportunities of socialisation.

The patients in the game were portrayed as entirely irrational creatures devoid of...anything really. Animals. Being a psychiatric patient myself, I'm interested in portrayals of mental illness and its treatment, because viewing things through the perspective of artwork helps me understand it. It's horrible looking at the patients in Overclocked, and knowing that whenever I tell an Overclocked player that I've been in a psychiatric unit, that's what they'll see.

I eventually uninstalled it because I got stuck on a puzzle involving a door code. Originally I meant to go and look up the answer online (which is what I generally do when stuck in a game I plan to continue playing), but I never really summoned up the enthusiasm.

Incredibly disappointing. I was hoping for something that would help destigmatise mental illness by forcing ordinary people to step into the shoes of unwell people - but no.

...I can't even express how annoyed I feel right now.
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