Via Domus - Lost

Thanks to Inaudible-Whisper for the article.

“Previously, on Lost…”; that’s how each chapter starts, that’s the level of fan service that ABC and Ubisoft have injected into Via Domus. Polar bears, smoke monsters, flashbacks, numbers, the hatch; every set piece is ripped straight from the show and carefully placed in the experience - except the game’s protagonist. You play as a new castaway, Elliot Maslow, a photojournalist who has his own amnesiac past to discover.

Elliott isn’t shoved in haphazardly, finding himself as an awkward tagalong in the show’s memorable moments – he’s not picking bits of Arzt out of his hair, or shoving Henry Gale in a jail cell. Following his own objectives and stories lessens the importance of staying true to the show’s scenes and gives the developer free reign with his flashbacks.

While Via Domus is linear and gives tasks on a point-to-point basis, it’s the exploration of the world, investigation of the show’s props and conversations with 815 castaways that provide the game’s greatest strength (and the majority of the Xbox 360 version’s Achievements). The tasks are typically aggravating or tedious; dynamite’s erratic nature makes for a memorable scene in the show, but actually performing the sluggish trek through a smoke-monster-infested jungle isn’t so exciting. Also; since when was the entirety of the Dharma Initiative and Oceanic Flight 815 powered by a selection of carefully placed fuses?
Elliot’s flashbacks provide a much needed change of pace; you’re provided with a torn-up Polaroid and dumped into a saturated, distorted half-memory. Taking a snapshot that mirrors the photograph restores colour and sound, allowing you to explore the areas in Elliot’s past.

The game definitely gives away a few answers; nothing major, nothing that the TV-only crowd could miss – disposable answers - ties between Elliot and the island, insights into Hanso/Dharma’s other projects and one that will definitely make Lost fans smile.

When it comes to the “Losties”, similar care and attention is applied, but not without its jarring disconnects. Some of the show’s typecasting is misaligned with the speedy timeline; it’s only the second day and Sawyer has already set up his International House of Pilfered Suitcases, Michael’s building his raft and Locke is hiding in a Banyan tree, knife at hand, spouting off his philosophical views on fate and destiny – the behaviours and ideas are there, but the timing is off; the game is almost too eager to show off its expansive knowledge of Lost lore.

The presentation makes up for a lot of the game’s shortcomings. Each environment from the luscious beaches to the foreboding jungles and from the desolate Dharma lairs to the chilling Black Rock are rendered in immaculate beauty, each toying with colour and light to match the atmosphere. Objects and props like Desmond’s mural, the infamous computer, Charlie’s guitar and the smoke monster guard poles are scattered about to examine and photograph, the latter leading to several 360 achievements.
The audio work is a mixed bag, however – Lost’s orchestral score makes it into the game, but only a handful of actors (including Claire, Ben and Desmond) signed up to provide voices, other characters are portrayed by lack-lustre stand-ins.

Via Domus’ strengths lay in its more passive accomplishments – Elliot’s storyline, insights into the character’s lives and the pure satisfaction of exploring the world of Lost first hand. The missions are merely linear fetch quests, the mini games are frustrating and the shooting isn’t winning any awards, but for a Lost fan, this is a commendable experience, true to the series.
It encapsulates the thematic elements of the show and presents them in a stunning fashion. To outsiders, it will come across as pointless fan service, but to the fans, Lost: Via Domus provides enough insight and exploration to warrant at least a rental.

Rating: ★★★☆
3/4 Good (providing you’re a Lost fan)

Source: British Gaming

We welcome relevant, respectful comments.
blog comments powered by Disqus