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1 Reviews

Lost: Via Domus

Review: Latin for "the way home". We wish it'd go there

Which crash survivor of the Oceanic 815 will I choose to be? Jack? Nah, he's too boring. Hurley? Hmm, he's a bit slow. Ooh, I could be Locke... wait, what? I can't be one of the stars? In fact, I don't get any choice? I'm an extra?

That's the peril of making an official game for a show like Lost: the show's canon is so well-protected they've had to create a new character. Thus, this is a third-person adventure using that well-worn cliche of amnesia.

You're a photo-journalist trying to fill in your memory. Your time is spent on the fringes of the show's plot, never making an impact and turning up like Agent Scully just after everything has happened. Season One's amazing finale where the island dwellers pop open the mysterious hatch in the jungle? Via Domus sticks you on the beach and shows a cut-scene of a distant explosion.

Zoom

You don't really get the appeal of a Lost game, do you, Ubisoft? People kind of want to see those things up close. Maybe even be a part of them.

Following the show's main plot device, you're left at the mercy of flashbacks to fill out your character's empty shell of a brain. One of the first takes place not long after the crash: you need to get to the plane's cockpit to reclaim your camera, deep in the jungle, but Jack isn't allowing you to pass.

Cue a flashback to fill in a chunk of your memory, where a girl you knew snuck past a fisherman by lying to him. So how do you get past Jack? You use your newly found lying skills to tell him someone's fainted wayyyyy over there and he leaves his post. You have to learn lying? Come on.

Aside from pseudo-show moments, there are wandering puzzles that plop you into the jungle to find markers. It's there you'll find the most heinous crime against the Lost mythology: the awesome smoke monster, a boiling ass of black stuff that rips trees out of the ground and kills people, becomes an annoyance.

The first time you spot it it's geeky and exciting, but then you're forced to flee from it, all the while trying to find the marker to the next area. You have to hide in this section, but every time you do you get a cutscene from the monster's POV. That's every time, so about five times in the three minutes it takes you to dodge it.

It doesn't help that all the way through this tense little chase you're being bombarded with messages to pick junk off the ground. Via Domus has a bartering system that doesn't make sense: you collect coconuts, bottles, books and swap them with other survivors, except they're everywhere and respawn so why isn't everyone filling their pockets?

Besides, on an island with a monster and a collection of native psychopaths, would you swap a gun for a bunch of coconuts and a novel?

A game that kills you for leaving your character in darkness for too long isn't to be played. A game that dares insinuate a character into a long-running show and hopes you didn't notice he wasn't around before can't be trusted to replicate the experience of the show.

A game that offers all the TV characters but gives you impersonators for the voices is a cheap, nasty rip-off. That is Lost Via Domus. Avoid it like you would Season 4 spoilers.

The verdict

Pressing the button would be more fun

3
Format
PC
Developer
Ubisoft
Publisher
Ubisoft
Genre
Action, Adventure

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