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Lost: Via Domus (Xbox 360) artwork

Lost: Via Domus (Xbox 360) review


"There's a special feature on the LOST - Season 3 DVD that looks at the concept and creation of the video game. It's really nothing more than four minutes of hype and promises, which makes LOST: Via Domus sound really awesome. "



There's a special feature on the LOST - Season 3 DVD that looks at the concept and creation of the video game. It's really nothing more than four minutes of hype and promises, which makes LOST: Via Domus sound really awesome.

The writers were patting themselves on the back for coming up with the "cool amnesia concept", like such a thing had never been done before. Your character wakes up knowing nothing at all - not even his name. Sequences in the story will trigger flashbacks which reveal small pieces of the character's backstory, but these are always very short and abstract. Flashbacks also force you to take a photo of a specific scene, which needs to be in the right frame, the right distance, the right level of focus and the right time. The events will continue repeating until you get it right. Some of these are incredibly frustrating, and the requirements are not always made clear. I had to look up a guide a few times just so I could proceed with the game.

LOST: Via Domus was promised to be like watching an episode of the show, while at the same time being a unique experience. Throughout the game, the events from the first three seasons of the show play out in the background. You'll likely catch a glimpse or a reference of them. In one part of the game, you can talk to Sun, and she'll mention how she's worried about her husband on the raft. Fans of the show will appreciate these references, as it establishes these new events within the show's time line.

The structure of the story is exactly like the show, which involves your amnesiac character waking up on the island and interacting with a few other characters. There's never many of them around - the beach is always desolate and you'll be lucky if there's four people there at any one time.

The available dialogue is severely limited. There are quest specific dialogue options, which are usually compulsory. Talking to Locke about finding dynamite opens up the path to the Black Rock. You also have a set of standard dialogue options that are the same with every character, except for the occasional character specific choices (you can say "You all everybody" to Charlie and he will start singing). Once you say something to a character, and they say something back, you will notice how you are not given any further dialogue options that weren't there before. There are no dialogue trees. When you encounter someone, you simply go through each dialogue option until there's nothing left to say.

Visually, Lost: Via Domus looks fantastic. The environments are very true to the show. The Hatch in particular is stunningly recreated for the game. The character models also look true to their real life counterparts. There is one problem with these characters, though, and that's the voices - only a few of the cast members from the show provided voices for the game, the rest are voiced by people trying to sound like the characters. Mostly, this works. But John Locke sounds like a Native American, especially when he talks about the mystical properties of the island. Any conversation with John Locke simply feels wrong.

The game is broken up into seven chapters, and you'll always have some objective to fulfill. The overall arc is to get your memories back, but you'll need to complete other objectives, such as finding your camera, taking your turn at entering the numbers into the Hatch's computer, and completing a number of annoying action sequences, each one of which feels tacked on. Yet, these sequences make up the bulk of the game play.

Each time you venture out into the jungle, one of the Other's inexplicably fires at you. You have no choice but to run. When you explore the confusing caves, you need to have enough spare torches to navigate your way through or YOU WILL DIE. One jungle scene involves hiding from the smoke monster in the circle of bamboo, or running for your life. When you return this way with dynamite in your backpack, you cannot run or you will explode, making this sequence tense for frustrating reasons.

But despite how annoying the game can be, how uncomfortable it can be to play, it's still a game worth seeing through to the end, if only because it is only about five hours long and is not challenging in the slightest. Yes, some of the sequences will kill you several times, but once you get it right, you'll be able to get through. The fact that there is so little content makes the game quite short. It takes no real effort to get the 1000 GS on the 360 version, and for that reason may actually be worth a rental for anyone trying to boost their score.

Finally, on that DVD feature, they said that anything with the LOST name had to live up to the fans expectations and fit in with the LOST canon. They went with an "awesome ending" with such a hook that was designed to make people think. In actuality, the ending is confusing, clears up absolutely nothing, and makes you wonder where the last five hours of your life went.

In that regard, it is exactly like LOST.

Rating: 4/10

jerec's avatar
Community review by jerec (December 14, 2009)

On very rare occasions, Jerec finds a game that inspires him to write stuff about. The rest of the time he just hangs around being sarcastic.

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Suskie posted December 15, 2009:

Well, you say the game's worth playing because it's short and easy and practically farts achievements, but does it actually provide any insight into the show's plot and setting? I'm a huge Lost fan but if it just recaps the events of the show then I might just pass altogether.
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jerec posted December 15, 2009:

Good question. I should add this to the review.

The events from the first three seasons of the show play out in the background. Well, some of them anyway. The game only shows you a few. But mostly it follows your own character's story as he explores the island to get his memory back.
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zippdementia posted December 15, 2009:

I am also a fan of LOST, if masochistic fuck heads can be called fans. By that I mean I love LOST as much as any fan despite the fact that the show's creators like to continually hurt their audience. I also don't watch TV, so I just watch the DVDs which makes the show exactly 1000x better.

This paragraph bugs me:

But despite how annoying the game can be, how uncomfortable it can be to play, it's still a game worth seeing through to the end, if only because it is only about five hours long and is not challenging in the slightest. It takes no real effort to get the 1000 GS on the 360 version, and for that reason may actually be worth a rental for anyone trying to boost their score.

What bugs me about it is that you say the game isn't challenging at all, yet numerous times in this review you've pointed out sections that seemed design to kill you unfairly (in particular, you mention a cave killing you if you don't have torches and a section where a monster chases you while you can't run, a sequence you call tense and frustrating). These kind of contradictions in reviews always throw me off and make me wonder as to the validity of the whole piece. I would suggest changing this paragraph or reworking it to go along with the rest of the review.
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jerec posted December 15, 2009:

It is frustratingly annoying at times, but you get through it and then you move onto the next frustrating sequence. Keep doing that for a bit, and the end credits roll.
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randxian posted December 23, 2009:


Kuudos for taking a potshot at the writers bragging about using a cliched plot. Nice use of tongue and cheek humor there. Truth be told, I don't watch much TV and was never really interested in this series. However, your review somehow made me a bit more interested, which I suppose counts for something.

Despite not getting the references, this is an engaging read that neatly and concisely covers all the most important points.

One thing I really don't like is the following statement - "Yes, some of the sequences will kill you several times, but once you get it right, you'll be able to get through." Um, couldn't the same be said for any challenge in any video game? If you get Ghosts and Goblins for the NES right, you are going to win. Nobody in their right mind would dare as so much imply that game is not challenging. It looks to me that you are stubbornly refusing to admit that the insane difficulty is a weakness and instead you're trying to sweep some dirt under the rug. However, you do give an overall score of 4/10, so I can't complain about this too much. It's just reading that statement is a bit disorienting.
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jerec posted December 23, 2009:

I added that sentence because of earlier complaints about it. I guess there's no way to say the game is frustrating, but at the same time short and easy.
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honestgamer posted December 23, 2009:

I don't think that anyone who has played many games at all will have trouble picturing a game that is exasperating without providing any real challenge and/or length. A lot of licensed games can fit that bill, so the way you just said it made a lot of sense to me!
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jerec posted December 23, 2009:

I think you're about the only one, Jason. The concept seems pretty alien to the rest of these guys. :P
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zippdementia posted December 23, 2009:

See what Jason just said? Now that made sense to me. I think the reason it doesn't work for me here is because the definition of the challenge is spread out over too many paragraphs with no obvious connection between the two. Anyway, I'm not trying to beat up your review, I'm just providing suggestions for improvement. You can take the advice or leave it.
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zigfried posted December 23, 2009:

I just now read the review and don't see where challenge is discussed (except to say it's not)... the review makes this sound like an easy game with some annoying frustrating parts, and those aren't even mentioned until the final paragraphs.

//Zig
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randxian posted December 23, 2009:

Perhaps I came across harsher than I intended. I still stand by my opinion above, but the review as a whole is still good. It's just that one particular phrase threw me off balance.

Maybe Zig is right; maybe I tried too hard to read in between the lines and concocted the argument is that the game is difficult, when another interpretation could simply be the game just has a couple of annoyinig parts.
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zigfried posted December 23, 2009:

I agree about the sentence you quoted, Rand... as written, that sentence could be applied to pretty much any hard part in a game.

My response was more of a comment on Zipp's feedback. I'm not picking up on the whole "this game is challenging" vibe.

//Zig

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