Review: Lost – Via Domus
Lost – Via Domus is the video game tie in to the massively popular television series Lost. Taking place around key events in seasons 1,2 and 3. In Via Domus you play as Elliott Maslow, a passenger on Oceanic Flight 815 who wakes up on the beach along with the other survivors albeit with no memory. Each of the games chapters is focused around something the A-team has been doing in the main story of the television show and you see it from another perspective in a way similar to how the ill fated Nikki and Paulo were introduced to the show in season 3. Fans of the show won’t be surprised to find out that flashbacks feature heavily in order to flesh out Elliotts back story as you try and cure his amnesia and discover some of his mysterious past.
The game has a number of flaws and one of the first you’ll notice is just how bad the voice acting is. In this day and age I would have thought actors involved in the show would be contractually obligated to provide their voices to the characters of the game but apparently not here. What’s really bad is that they haven’t even bothered to find people that sound anything like the actors, Sawyer sounds like a generic redneck, Charlie sounds like a generic British guy it’s infuriating and it can pull you right out of the game. Some of the actors do provide lend their voices to the game although because of the nature of the story these characters don’t tend to appear for very long. One notable example is the introduction of Desmond, voiced by Henry Ian Cusick, who appears for one brief scene before disappearing again.
Repetitive game play is another major flaw of the game, Each chapter begins in one area where you have to talk to whoever is around until you work out the objective of that mission or are cast into a flashback so you can find out another key piece of information. Once you’ve done that you head out into the jungle to find your next location. No matter what level you’re in the jungle all looks the same and you are guided through the jungle by signs that actually point towards to the next sign, personally I would have preferred to have to have had some sort of exploration here rather than being guided along. My biggest issue with the jungle section however is the overuse of the Smoke Monster in these sections, I had more interaction with Smokey than all of the characters in the televiosn show combined. The gist is every time you find yourself running through the jungle Smokey is somewhere about and will randomly try and attack you at which you point you have to jump into the nearest patch of Banyan trees to hide form him. They do mix it up a bit towards the end of the game throwing in a couple of chase scenes as you run away from it, I just wish they would have had one really kick ass Smokey appearance rather than throwing him in at every opportunity.
The game features puzzle elements throughout, or rather it features the same puzzle over and over again. It seems every building you enter has had the fuses stolen from their circuit boards, you then have to trek around the area picking up fuses and try to insert them into the correct slots so you can open up the door, cupboard or ladder. Given the location of the game and the combination of the buildings and jungle environments I’m pretty sure they could have come up with some original puzzles.
It’s not all bad though, for starters the game is gorgeous all of the games locations are incredibly well designed, the jungle looks dense which makes it seem a lot less linear than it actually is. You’ll get to see quite a few of the Dharma stations featured in the game all of which have been faithfully recreated in the game and in some cases you get to see more of the stations than you’ve previously seen. You get to see a lot more of the Hyrda, it shows you how big the station really is and something is revealed about the Swan that is only hinted upon in the show. The games soundtrack is fantastic using similar and really makes you feel like it’s part of the television show. It can also be quite atmospheric at times, one of my favorite moments takes place on one of your frequent trips through the islands caves. You have to keep either a torch or your lighter alight and if you don’t Elliott is plunged into darkness and you’ll begin to hear the mechanical sounds of the Smoke Monster creaping nearby only to hear the moster flee as you light the area up again.
So all in all Lost: Via Domus isn’t a great game but if your a Lost fan it provides some nice nods to the show and it’ll give you a 1000 easy achievements, it’s cheap as well you can pick it for about £5 ($7) which for the 4 hours of playtime is probably all the game is worth.