Lost: Via Domus


Game Review Time
 
Title: Lost: Via Domus (‘via home’ in latin)
Maker: Ubisoft
Platform: Xbox 360
Display: True HD 40" LCD (Samsung) @ 1080p
Audio: Sony 7.1 amp
 
Overview:  Well, unless you’ve been sticking to government owned TV stations or otherwise avoiding mass media it’s doubtful you haven’t heard about the TV show "Lost".  Well, like all good TV series, a game has been made about said TV show.  In the tradition of games about hit TV shows, this one has its knocks, but was overall quite enthralling.
 
Basis: The game is broken down into "episodes" so that the game experience is like watching a number of episodes of Lost back-to-back.  With one important difference, since each episode jumps ahead chronologically with the TV series.  In other words, watch seasons 1 and 2 before playing the game (unless you are happy missing context).
 
You control one of the survivors, a photojournalist who is suffering from amnesia.  In between flashbacks ("memory sequences") and action, you see a ghost of a former love interest and fellow journalist.  Principally, your character interacts with the other survivors – mostly Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Hurley, Locke, Charlie and Sayed with Ben and Juliet thrown into the mix.
 
Pros:  Sounds like they were able to get some of the original voice talent for the show although not many of the main characters (Charlie is really markedly not the same voice). 
 
They didn’t manage to license the "theme music" so instead you get a remixed version which sounds a little ‘off’, but no biggie.  The graphics are fine and the controls are easy to understand.  The Ubisoft rendering engine holds up well enough and I wasn’t able to jam the character into any areas from which no return was possible (no getting stuck).  You do a lot of running around in this game, but they managed to include "shortcuts" once you’ve visited a location (like the hatch).  The odd thing is that you can’t go back to previous sites – you are stuck in a linear timeline.
 
The storyline is probably the only reason to play this game.  I’d suggest you have to be a fan of the show, and have watched at least up until season three.  It’s better if you are following the show (in its current season, four).  You’ll not want to put down the controller until you’ve seen the end of the game.
 
Cons:  Look on the bright side, you don’t have to wait long to finish the game.  I finished the game in one night.  Bonus features and all.  All up, around five hours of gameplay, give or take an hour.  I wouldn’t call it a "rich" game in terms of long term ‘playability’.  Buy it, finish it and trade it back in.
 
Other Cons: It’s a little unclear at first what your objectives are (especially the flashback sequences) and there is no tutorial (ok, you don’t really need one, this is easy to play).  At times navigation and story direction are a little unclear.  The challenges are mostly logical (IQ tests) or puzzles (directing voltage flow through circuits using fuses).  These shouldn’t be terribly difficult for a mature aged player.  May present a small challenge to kids playing the game.
 
Reactions to your character and his past skew violently at times (to be unjustified most times).  You don’t see many of the 40 odd surviors either, which is a tad bit odd.  Many of the support cast are missing.  It couldn’t have been too hard to render them as non-interactive NPCs, surely!
 
*spoilers*
At  times the compass you find doesn’t give you directions – like when you are trying to find the hidden door to the magnetic room.  Shooting people is ridiculously easy (you have to do this a couple of times) and the ‘others’ can’t aim worth a damn (you get shot at quite a lot).
 
Final thoughts:
It would have been nice to see some of the other survivors like Mr Eko, Shannon, Boone, Ana Lucia or even Rose (since the game works from the initial crash forward).  The plot will suck you in.  However, it won’t last terribly long.  If you are a fan of the show, it’s worth playing.  It’s worth it to see the island and the locations with unrestricted access.
 
Nearly ever ‘major’ character from the TV series is rendered (well, except characters who didn’t survive more than a single season).  There’s some great quips and one liners from Sawyer as well, always worth the price of admission.  Advice: rent, don’t buy.
 
Cheers
R
 
 

About Rob Sanders

IT Professional and TOGAF 9 certified architect with nearly two decades of industry experience, 18 years in commercial software development and 11 years in IT consulting. Check out the "About Rob" page for more information.

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