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Monday | March 1, 2021
Lost: Via Domus

Lost: Via Domus

Lost: the TV Series has a huge following, so it makes sense to make a port of the show for the PC. For those of you who don’t already know, the plot is based around Oceanic Airlines flight 815 which crashed in a mystery location somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. The only difference between the game and the TV show as we will find out is the length and the addition of a new character.

In  Lost: Via Domus you take control of a journalist suffering from amnesia (the mystery new character), he was a part of the ill fated flight and during the progression of the game your objective is to complete missions and tasks to recover your missing memories. You can also talk with the other survivors and try to identify clues during flashbacks.

Similarities with the tv show are apparent throughout with most of the first two seasons being the key background subplot, however later in the game it does dip momentarily into the third season with some of the encounters. All the characters we know and love (or hate) are present, such as Charlie, Hurley, Claire, Sun, Jack, Locke and Kate.

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Special mention has to be made of the environments because they are striking. Many of the map areas are almost identical to the tv show and are beautifully rendered with some subtle touches to the lighting and ambient sounds. This is where the game really excels, the fine attention to detail on all the objects in the scenes, especially the striking crash site. The diversity is also high with very few locations becoming boring or dull due to very clever developer design ideas. Interestingly, and I don’t say this often, the Playstation 3 game appears to be slightly sharper and clearer than the Xbox 360 version, but only after an eight minute hard drive installation has completed.

The flashback sequences are brilliant and they all start off with a torn up photograph. When the initial flashback is over you have to use your camera to take a picture to correspond with the broken image as the sequence of events play out. This sequence will loop as you attempt to get as close as possible to the original with zoom and focus also playing a part in the final shot. When you are successful you are then presented to a cutscene with another snippet of your characters backstory and history. This is exceptionally well tied in and makes sense, as the guy you are controlling is a photographer.

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So far it is all positive, and for the most part it is a great adventure experience, not feeling at all like a rushed movie tie in (that are frequently forced upon us), however the game is very short. I beat it in about six and a half hours and even in this short space of time I spent considerable effort exploring the areas and attempting to find as many of the Easter Eggs as I could. Having played it on the Xbox 360 beforehand I really enjoyed getting the gamer points for these prizes, however obviously the Playstation 3 doesn’t (yet) have support for a similar system, so the effort gives little reward otherwise.

Another negative aspect to the game is the fuse plugging minigames which started to annoy me after several hours, even more so than a similar game mechanic did in Bioshock. By the time the game was over I felt I was almost able to become an electrician in real life. This minigame is used, reused and then used some more, you play it to access everything, from doors and latches to the jetliner’s fuselage. Argh…

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In an adventure game the interaction with the environment and characters should be as smooth and believable as possible, however while the game generally succeeds, it doesn’t always get it right. Your characters dialogue for some reason isn’t always voice acted and often the remarks become a little tedious. The lip synching is also less than stellar and it is sadly very clear that very little effort has been paid to getting the mouth movements to link with the scripting. Unfortunately while this sounds a minor problem I found it ruined the believability of the whole experience. Certainly the graphics are well rendered and look like the characters from the show, however when the audio makes an appearance it all takes a turn for the worse. Again, for some reason the Xbox 360 version suffers slightly with some haphazard shading on the faces.

So far I have mentioned the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game, however the PC version is visually the most impressive if you have a graphics card capable of powering it at high resolution. The PC version also (obviously) has support for a keyboard and mouse combination which delivers the most intuitive experience. All three versions are very close in performance and deliver a fun adventure gaming experience.

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If you are a fan of the Lost tv series, then this game is likely to be enjoyable and entertaining, however with only 6 hours of game play time we need to weigh in the cost against the limited content. There is also the fact that if you have not seen the show then some of the puzzles might prove a little difficult and will have less meaning to you when you complete them.

Do I recommend the game? Yes, but only if you are a knowledgeable fan of the series, otherwise I suggest a rental.

When its good, its good. However you will be just getting into it when the end credits roll.
All versions are similar with the Xbox 360 coming out the worst, but only marginally.
Good voice acting and ambient sounds help to keep the atmosphere charged.
A very short single player experience with nothing else to extend the game life.
(Not an Average)

Entertaining and fun, but not for everyone.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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