Didn't Ryan review this game when the site was still just the blog? Is it lingering around here somewhere or was it never moved over to the site proper?
Lost "Lost" Review
"i say the game was worth 10-20 bucks or a rent if you are big lost fan."I bought it for $10 off of Gamefly, beat it and hated it...and then traded it in for $10! So I basically didn't lose anything but my valuable time...maybe I wouldn't have felt so bad if I was a Lost fan of any degree.
I'm not a Lost fan at all. But while playing through this game, I enjoyed it quite a lot. Only worth a rent, or maybe a purchase for $10 or something. Nothing special, just a nice change of pace. In my opinion anyway. But I've always had a habit of thinking different to the masses.
IMO, Via Domus isn't THAT bad of a game it's just hella short. It pretty much stays true to the series and i enjoyed playing through the story and i even got 1000 gamerscore out of it! Only thing that would've made it better was if Ubisoft contracted the whole cast to do voice overs.
That's just me though, i still don't think it's worth buying it. Best to rent it from gamefly if your a die hard LOST fan.
Oh, I guess they didn't find the review. I just rented this the other day and must say it is pretty awful. It isn't abysmal, but it is of a pretty low quality. Still, I would like to see the review appear again, even if it is not a memorable game by any means.
picked off of Archive.org in case anyone can't wait on Jeff:
posted by Ryan Davis on March 18, 2008 – 10:46 am
Let me preface this review by saying that there was once a time that I was a huge fan of ABC’s smash-hit TV show Lost. I still watch the show week-in, week-out, though now it’s largely to ridicule my roommate, who foolishly maintains the belief that the writers aren’t just haphazardly piling one confounding mystery upon another, and that there will actually be some satisfactory resolution for all the muy loco goings-on in Lost. I watch the show, I hate myself for it, and then the cycle is renewed the following week.
In this regard, Lost: Via Domus for the Xbox 360 is perhaps the perfect companion piece for the show. It too piles on the mysteries without providing many real answers, and also requires a good working knowledge of the show’s mythology and chronology to make heads or tails of what’s going on. This exclusionary tone makes the game entirely unsuitable for folks who haven’t seen the show, though the lack of cohesion in the gameplay and a brief run-time don’t do Via Domus any favors either.
The game starts with the same dramatic crash that kicked off the TV series. Rather than seeing it through the eyes of an existing character from the show, Via Domus puts you in the shoes of a heretofore-unseen survivor of Oceanic flight 815–a photographer with a mean case of amnesia, an even meaner fauxhawk, and (surprise!) some kind of dark, mysterious past–a past which quickly manifests on the island in the form of a hard-faced thug in a cheap suit who tries to beat the location of his camera out of him before the thug promptly disappears.
The rest of the game focuses primarily on your character’s search for clues about who he is and how he can get off this weird, mystery-swelled island. You’ll interact with most of the major characters and visit a number of recognizable locations from the show, though since you’re almost always off doing your own thing while the rest of the show is happening elsewhere, it often feel like Lost Gaiden, or some fairly well-written fan-fiction. Whenever the game does get too close the preordained Lost mythology, it’s hard not to wonder how we never saw, or at least heard about any of this stuff before.
The fan-fiction vibe is reinforced by the fact that only a third of the characters in the game are actually voiced by the actors who play them on the show. The character models themselves generally look OK, but some crummy sound-alikes kind of ruin the illusion. The locations you’ll visit look authentic, and even I’ll admit that getting to explore “the hatch” myself brought a little life back into my cold, empty heart. But, like my heart, the environments are always eerily vacant. It makes sense when you’re pushing through the deep thickets of the jungle–which actually look pretty good–but where the hell are the dozens of other survivors during the crash scene, or whenever you’re out on the beach? Probably the most authentic things about Via Domus are the way it uses familiar sound cues and camera shots, and the way it structures the story as though it were a TV series, complete with story recaps in between episodes.
The actual gameplay, like the story, has the right size and shape for a Lost game, with a focus on dialog, puzzle-solving, and some light action sequences. Problem is, the pieces feel a little raw and slapped together, like there wasn’t adequate time between the drawing board and the final game. There’s a fair amount of dialog in Via Domus, but it doesn’t branch in any interesting, Mass Effect way, and anything relevant to your current quest is conveniently filed under the “quest” tab in your dialog options, which eventually led to me skipping over the actual dialog to get to my next objective.
Every so often, another character will say or do something during conversation that will trigger a flashback for you, which will briefly show you some torn-up pieces of a photograph, then whisk you back to the fragmented memory you’re trying to unearth. The idea here is that you’ll use your camera to take a photo at just the right moment to complete the torn-up picture, thus unlocking the full memory and ostensibly moving the story forward. While kind of showy, these sequences bring together the amnesia and the photography elements of the story nicely. They’re not particularly difficult, though, as the memory fragment will loop indefinitely, taking any skill out of timing your shot, and if you forget what you’re trying to shoot, you can bring up the torn-up photo you’re trying to complete with the touch of a button.
Since nearly half of Lost seems to be people walking to or from one location on the island, it’s fitting that you’ll have to do a fair amount of trudging through the jungle. There are a couple of simple, yet relatively exciting chase sequences where you have to sprint down a narrow path while leaping over or sliding under obstacles, though most of the time you’ll be navigating a wide-open jungle via a series of conveniently placed markers, occasionally ducking into the hollows of a nearby banyan tree to escape the marauding smoke monster. (If you’re wondering what the hell the smoke monster is, take that as a definitive sign that Lost: Via Domus is not for you.) Though they’re not always in line of sight, it’s rarely too difficult to make it from one marker to the next, and the smoke monster always gives you ample warning of its presence with that loud, oddly mechanical sound it makes.
Additionally, you’ll have to navigate a couple of different pitch-black caves, using torches and lanterns you find on the island or barter from certain survivors to light you way. As you try and find your way from one end to the other, you’ll face fire-extinguishing bats and waterfalls, as well as life-extinguishing bottomless pits. Frankly, wandering around a dark, dangerous room without any way of fending off whatever’s in the darkness doesn’t sound fun regardless of how you pitch it, and here it’s just tedious.
Lost: Via Domus is at its best when it sticks to the puzzles. There’s a recurring series of circuit panel puzzles where you have to place three different types of fuses into the empty slots on the panel in a specific way in order to restore power to something. Imagine the hacking minigame from BioShock, or the game Pipe Dreams, and make it way more complicated, and you’re pretty close. They’re contrived as hell, but they’re challenging nonetheless. Again, in a fan-wish-fulfillment moment, you’ll get to use the computer inside the hatch, and not just to save the world, but to answer a series of Dharma-crafted personality test questions, which generally involve some light cryptography. There are also a few decent environmental puzzles, but these moments are fleeting, even for a game that I ran through in around four or five hours.
I’ll gladly admit the prospect of trying to make a satisfying and cohesive video game based on Lost is a daunting one. People’s devotion to the show’s mythology is insane, and the show itself is often too methodical in pace to make for a terribly riveting video game experience. Still, instead of making excuses for Lost: Via Domus, I would just recommend that everyone but the most die-hard of Lost fans take a pass on this one.
…or would I!?!
I didn't mind the game that much. Granted I borrowed it and payed nothing for it, plus I am a huge Lost fan. It was so so, and was good to get some kind of Lost fix when I played it in between seasons. Other than that, if your not a Lost fan, rent it for quick and easy points.
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