I admit, I’m a huge fan of the show Lost. I absolutely love it so when I heard they were making a video game of the show I was a bit pleased, but mostly cautious. Whenever you hear of a game based on a movie or television show you almost always think of a poorly created game that’s meant to cash in on a recognizable brand. Unfortunately, Lost: Via Domus fits the bill. The game spans over Seasons 1 and 2 of the show, and while trying to keep the story similar, there are a lot of cliches and gaps in the story and missing characters which may confuse a serious Lost fan. If you’re not familiar with the television show, they do a decent job in getting you caught up with what happened, but as to who the characters are and why they’re important, you’re left hanging.
The game starts out like the first episode, your character wakes up in the middle of the jungle, proceeds to wander towards the beach and arrives at the infamous scene with the plan debris and the survivors walking about. You find yourself with a bout of amnesia, even forgetting your name. At this point the main goal is to reclaim your lost memories through flashbacks. While the idea of flashbacks could have been made much better and just played like a good level of a game, they have tried to put a way to simulate memory gain. This is done by taking a photo. Before the flashback begins, you get a glimpse of a broken, messed up photo; your job is to try and match that photo with the black and white scene that plays. Each scene lasts for a few seconds, and will keep repeating over and over until you manage to get the right photo. Once the photo has been taken an extended scene will play in color, and you’ll be able to browse the area you’re located in to find even more clues, and unlock achievements for finding three items in each flashback.
The game is split up into seven episodes, with each episode ending with the familiar “LOST” flashing up on the screen just the like show. Subsequently, and each episode begins with a “previously on lost” cut scene as well. Unfortunately you cant skip cut scenes and are stuck waiting for them to finish. I find this highly annoying and not a fun way to start a new level. It gets even worse when you start the episode with a timed sequence where if you make one mistake, you have to start over, and watch the scene all over again.
Gameplay is taken pretty lightly in this game with most of the game spent in cut scenes. You’ll spend a lot of your time talking to the same six survivors, doing small puzzles and exploring small areas of the jungle and caves. It’s gets repetitive and fast, even though they throw in obstacles. Each time you will have a mix up of different things that will stop you making your way there. From the black smoke monster, to the Others, you’ll have to watch your step or start all over. The main puzzles you encounter consist of routing electrical circuits, which gets tedious and annoying quickly. You’ll also have to take IQ tests at some of the Dharma terminals you come across. The tests are relatively easy to complete and once completed you have access to things which helps you complete the episode.
Graphically speaking this game is beautiful. Ubisoft did a great job with the environments, making them very believable. The grass and lush jungles look alive, blowing in the light breeze. The scenes of the Hatch and on the beach look like they’re right out of the tv show. They did a great job with the sets. Character wise the majority of them look like they’re straight out of the television series. Jack, Hurley, Kate, Locke and Sayid look absolutely spot on, while Charlie and Claire look bland and not as recognizable. What’s unfortunate is that only is a few characters are voiced by the actual actors, the rest are voiced by other voice actors and it shows. Locke sounds terrible in the game and it takes away some of the authenticity.
Unfortunately graphics don’t make a game. The single player campaign, and mind that that’s all there is since multi-player is nonexistent can last from 4-6 hours depending on how you play and a bit towards how stuck you may get at a puzzle. I completed the game in just over four hours and was able to obtain most of the achievements. Paying $60 for a game like this feels like a rip off, even for the most hardcore Lost fan. If you really want to play the game rent it and save yourself the money. You might actually be able to finish it in one sitting if you’re willing to go a few hours.