Lost: Via Domus Review – You’ve Lost the Game

Someone told me that it was the 25th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda yesterday. Happy birthd- oh wait, I don’t really care for the series. I’ve also lost any friends I once had, so I’m going to move right along before my door gets broken down by a mob with boomerangs and arrows. You know what else is special about today? Crap month is finally over! WOOHOO! I can finally stop ripping my eyeballs, hair and anything other part of my body out over the junk we get sold on a daily basis. But before we can celebrate, I have one final hurdle, in the shape of an island full of confusion, frustration and anger. That’s right, it’s Lost: Via Domus. Yep, a videogame based on a TV series, cue the screaming fans complaining about how it’s not canon.

 

Personally, I don’t know the TV series so I don’t know whether it’s canon or not. In order to help people out, I’m going to provide a quick summary of both show and game, seeing as no-one understands the plot even if they do devote every living second to it.

 

First up; the TV series. From what I can gather, it goes something like this:

  • Plane crashes on island. People left stranded
  • Everyone murders everyone “for the good of the island”
  • People are still stranded
  • Crazy crap occurs involving a smoke dude
  • Girl has baby
  • Some people are saved
  • The writers get bored and start producing the script/story out of their arses.

 

So basically, it’s yet another Lord of the Flies copy. The characters even recognise this in game and reference it, making the moral of the story “if you know humanity sucks when stranded, play along, because in the end, there’s nothing better to do than shoot everyone you meet.” Cool story. About the game, here’s what I made out:

  • You’re Elliott, a photographer suffering from amnesia from the crash
  • You search the island looking for clues to help you remember your past, occasionally having a flashback in which you have to take pictures to remember more unimportant parts of your past and talking to people… in order to remember your past. Yawn.
  • You see some familiar faces from the TV series, yet they’re completely useless and you’d be better off swimming home alone
  • Someone tries to kill you because of a picture you took. Gasp! What was the picture?!
  • You get imprisoned somewhere for content found on your laptop…

You know what? I give up. I’m lost.

 

So, as mentioned before, you’re a photographer. In game, you take photographs in order to remember past events and who you are. Now, even a monkey would realise that this should be a part of the game that Ubisoft actually cared about. Well the monkey, although highly sensible, is wrong. Instead, you struggle with the focus for about five minutes each time as your subject moves from background to foreground. Argh! Elliott is a crap photographer by the way, but it doesn’t matter anymore, I mean, what’s he going to take pictures of? Coconuts?

 

Now to prevent boredom on the island, half of your time is spent talking to the other survivors. That may work for Elliott but for everyone else actually playing the game, it’s a tedious process which leaves you wishing you could just shoot them in the face. Oh. I now understand the whole “humanity going crazy” message. That was quicker than I thought. Now, Ubisoft try to make it more interesting by giving you options within the conversation, however, unlike Sprung, this was an awful decision. There’s only one option that will send the game any further forward, but nothing goes wrong when you don’t choose that option straight away, so really, it’s just an exercise in which you mash the action button until they shut the hell up.

 

Last, incredibly important part of the gameplay; walking. You spend the rest of your time wandering around the jungle, which is basically just a labyrinth dotted with plane parts and plants. Sure, it’s realistic but is also just frustration in a cup (or an island if you will). You’re supposed to remember waypoints as you walk along so that you can find your way back. Except you need to find your way back about half an hour later, meaning that you’ve completely forgotten which number seat you passed to begin with. Therefore, survival tip number one: carry a Sharpie. Always.

 

To say the game was released in 2008, the graphics are nothing short of beautiful. On the beach, the plane has an eerie darkness about it, warning you not to go near, while the water contrasts with a welcoming blue glow. Ignoring every trace of human life form, because they just look like Heavy Rain characters minus the stupid facial movements, heading into the jungle couldn’t be more realistic. The foliage provides a wide range of greens. Oh, and browns. But you know what? It works, it’s completely opposite to the sanctuary of the beach, reminding you that this is no holiday, this is pure survival.

 

The music is a nice addition to the game, putting the player on edge for whatever may be around the corner, it’s not a horror game, but the music could certainly trick people into thinking so. Bravo to the music man (or lady, for the feminists)!

 

The voice acting is lost on this game a bit (the title is really starting to make sense now), because you spend every waking moment wanting to punch the areswipes in the face. All that being said, the actors are quite good, by which I mean they don’t sound forced or fake and the wide array of accents is a nice touch. I never thought I’d say that about a videogame in all my life, but there you have it.

 

The game wasn’t actually as bad as I was expecting really. Apart from the existence of other human life forms and frustration of well, everything, it’s quite fun-ish. If you’re a fan of the actual series, I wouldn’t bother buying this, but if you just want a challenging adventure game that tries something different, I’d definitely recommend picking this game up, especially as it’s extremely cheap now. And so Crap Month ends on a high note as I award Lost: Via Domus with a commendable 5/10. I’m glad I found you(!) game.

 

Keep an eye out when talking to people by the way, everyone seems to be having a slight epileptic fit while talking to you, which could provide hilarity in what would otherwise be a low point.

-Sian

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Sian Bradley

Sian is a co-founder of Cubed Gamers, having been around since 2011. When she isn’t helping to manage the site, she’s exploring every nook and cranny in games to create guides you didn’t know you needed.