The Games We Play: LOST Via Domus

As a new feature to the blog, we will be reviewing games that we played and liked. We won’t really feature or talk about terrible games, because we don’t want to waste your time… but the ones that do something interesting or are exciting to play will merit a feature. We will cover all types of gaming, even Flash games!
I just got finished playing LOST: Via Domus last night. I have to say I was mildly impressed by the popular television show’s first (and probably not last) video game. Typically the quality level of film/television game adaptations are pretty horrific, but LOST: Via Domus manages to square away a good game with only a few setbacks.

You play the role of a survivor from Oceanic Flight 815, which has crashed down on a mysterious island. Your memory was lost from the impact, and to regain your memory you play through a series of flashbacks and quests. Talking to Jack, Sawyer, and other survivors leads to more memories being uncovered and the shroud of the island being pulled back. A large part of the game is spent traveling from location to location to interact with people and places. As you gain more information about the island, more areas unlock and more is learned about where you crashed and who the island’s other inhabitants are.

The storyline is similar but more of a parallel to the actual show. Many parts of the original show are playable as your character but the game’s plot has conflicts with the show’s plot, which make this game not a true sequel or addition to the show. But it does bring some very interesting points and solutions to many of the secrets and mysteries of the island, including a very viable explanation for why the island exists in the show.

The game relies on quests to be performed to move the plotline. Because each of the quests are different, the quality of gameplay seems to be all over the place, ranging from completely awesome to just okay.  The quests that really excited me were the circuit puzzles which required fuses to be placed in the right order in different fuse outlets to correctly route power.  The quests that irked me the most were the Metal Gear Solid style moments in which you have to sneak around the jungle while avoiding the security system, which was frustratingly difficult.

The gameplay is greatly enhanced by the beautiful environment design and detailed models of the characters from the show.  The graphics were stellar for a game of this magnitude, and you can really tell quality went into the design.  The jungle was especially remarkable, making the lush landscape so dense and detailed that I was actually getting lost in the map.  The loading times between areas was short and sweet.

Quite frankly, I doubt you would like this game if you knew nothing about LOST. The game takes a lot of cues from the show which would make the game extremely awkward to play if you knew nothing about the characters. But if you are an avid-follower of LOST or you have experienced several shows before, then this game will be the frosting on the experience. It is nearly as cinematic and exciting as a decent episode of LOST.  Sadly, the duration of the game is extremely short; I earned every achievement and beat the game in about 6-8 hours.  That’s a hard sell for $60, so it’s probably best to rent or get used.

Overall, its a fun little game.  It does what it sets out to do, which is make a really good television game.  If you have been betrayed by terrible movie/television adaptations in the past, this is definitely a fresh new look into the future of commercial games.

LOST: Via Domus is available on Xbox360, PS3, and PC.