PS3 Game Review- Lost:Via Domus

Few TV shows have generated as much fan interest, and multimedia possibilities as ABC’s LOST.  It was only a matter of time before an entry into the PC/Console gaming world was made.  Ubisoft, stepping up, gives us the action/adventure game Lost: Via Domus for various platforms.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this game, having read no reviews prior to my purchase.  It was more of an impulse buy, as I’ve nearly finished Oblivion.  I did buy a used copy, so I did not pay full price.  More on that later.  So what’s it all about?

The game puts you into the shoes of a survivor of Flight 815.  No, you don’t get to play any of the main characters.  You are instead a survivor who has lost his memories.  The point of the game is to regain those memories and fill out your story.  As you progress through the game, you will regain more of your memory, and learn how your story fits in with the whole Lost milieu.

Game play is reminiscient of just about every other action/adventure type game.  Those who have played Tomb Raider or Resident Evil will have no trouble with the controls.  If anything, they are a bit more intuitive than either of those previous entries.  Interaction is straight forward with the environment, the in game characters, puzzles, and inventory.  The game is not combat heavy, but the game does use a combat control similar to RE4, with an over the shoulder view.

The Good:

The game really does grasp the feel and look of LOST.  It also plays in “episodes,” with recaps of previous episodes at the beginning of each new one.  It gives the feel and sense of playing through a series of actual LOST episodes.  The use of interactive flashbacks, and the inclusion of the main characters from the TV show are exactly what fans will be looking for.  The use of some of the actual actors from LOST for the voices (but not all) is also a nice addition.  Would have been better if they could have gotten all the actors to participate, but that was probably cost prohibitive.

The Bad:

This game just feels rushed.  It’s too short, with only 7 “episodes,” which play through rather quickly.  There is only one puzzle type (a fuse box relay), which is repetitive, and not very challenging.  The voice syncing with the animations is at times off (but not all the time as some have written), and some of the animated faces are not very expressive.  Some of the non-LOST voice actors were badly cast, especially the guy who voices John Locke in game.  The unlockable extras aren’t all that impressive, and are actually kind of blah, even for die hard fans.

As I had no expectations with this game going in, I cannot say that I was disappointed or surprised.  That said, this is not a $60 game.  It just feels that it was rushed out before it was finished.  The game is not buggy, does not crash, doesn’t hang, or any of that.  Even the “exploit bugs” aren’t really bugs per se, just good game playing IMO.  But the unfinished feel of the animations of the characters, the use of only one puzzle type, and the shortness of the game, just don’t add up to warrant paying a premium price.  As I only paid $35 for this used, it was an OK value in general, and a good value for fans of LOST who will get more out of this than the general gamer.

In the end, Ubisoftwould have been better off taking an additional 6-8 months for development and polishing the game.  Adding in enough episodes to comprise a “full season” would have been ideal (around 21 total episodes).  It would also have been far better if they more fully integrated the game’s story line into the LOST mythos in more depth.  What’s there is good, but it could have been so much more.  More puzzles, and a variety of puzzles would have been great as well.  The use of only the fuse puzzle, and not a very challenging one, is a draw back.   For fans of LOST this is a worth while pick up at $30-35, and even fans of action/adventure games will get something out of it.  For anyone else, I just can’t reccomend this one.




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