Here's the scoop on the new video game based on ABC's popular television drama, Lost : Fans of the show will enjoy it, but it offers little to those unfamiliar with the story and characters.
As a result, this adventure game is a good but not great interactive tale, though it does an impressive job making you feel like you're one of the passengers of the ill-fated Oceanic Flight 815.
Lost viewers know all too well the story can be difficult to explain, but here it goes: A plane leaving Sydney, Australia, on its way to Los Angeles, inexplicably breaks apart in the sky over a remote island somewhere in the Pacific. Miraculously, many of the passengers survive the crash, and even more extraordinary is the island's apparent healing abilities — giving a wheelchair-bound man the use of his legs, for example. But the island can also unlock the survivors' inner demons and play tricks on their minds.
In time, the survivors stumble upon hidden scientific research facilities, a group of protective island residents ("The Others") and a mysterious black smoke presence terrorizing the island's inhabitants.
Created by Ubisoft's talented Montreal studio, Lost: Via Domus introduces you as a new survivor of Oceanic Flight 815, a young male photojournalist suffering from amnesia. The game begins with the plane crash, followed by you awakening on the beach. Near the plane's scattered remains are familiar characters from the show, including Jack, Hurley, Locke, Michael and others. Some of the real actors lent their voices to the game characters — such as Ben (Michael Emerson), Desmond (Henry Ian Cusick), Claire (Emilie de Ravin) and Sun (Yunjin Kim) — while the others are sound-a-likes (some, like Kate, sound great, while others, such as Locke, do not).
You must interact with the characters, explore the island, collect items and solve puzzles to figure out your past, survive the many threats (including someone who wants some photos you took) and figure a way off the island.
Examples of game play include: using your camera to take a photo at a specific moment during a flashback sequence to "remember" the scene; selecting the correct dialogue option from a list to manipulate a character into doing something for you; navigating around dark caves using torches or lighters; trading found items, such as coconuts and papayas, to get things you want for your inventory; hiding from the eerie black smoke; and flicking switches in Myst -like puzzle sequences. Later in the game you'll fire a gun, use a compass to traipse through the bush and unravel more of the back story, which includes new plot elements, characters and locations not found in the show.
Visually speaking, the game's characters and environments are quite impressive — as is the lighting, especially when in the forest and caves. While the voice talent is hit or miss, the familiar music from the TV show adds another layer of immersion.
It's on the short side and offers limited replayability, but Lost: Via Domus introduces a fun side-story to the celebrated TV series and will engross those who are fanatical about the show. Lost fans will get a kick out of chatting with identifiable characters, visiting recognizable locations and learning more about the island, but for everyone else, it's an average adventure game with references that might go over your head.
As such, it's recommended that you pick up the $30 Windows PC version instead of paying $60 for the console versions.
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