Lost: Via Domus is based on the popular television show “Lost”. In this game, you play as new castaway Elliot, who is not on the show and has his own original storyline in this game. You are able to interact with several castaways from the show, as well as a few of The Others. The game is loosely based on the events of seasons one and two, but also contains elements of three and four.
The presentation is very cleverly done to make the game look and feel as much like the show as possible. The environments look incredibly accurate and really transport you to the Lost world. The music is borrowed straight from the show and does a great job of intensifying the excitement of the game, as it does for the show. A lot of the important features of the Lost story such as the black smoke, Dharma Initiative hatches, and castaways vs. Others drama are all here. But more than that, there are many clever details, such as a “previously on Lost” recap at the beginning of each chapter followed by the same title screen used on the show, and dialogue text presented to look as though you’re watching closed-captioning. These elements really make the loyal Lost viewer feel right at home with this game.
Some of the voice acting is provided by the original actors from the show, such as Emilie de Ravin as Claire, Yunjin Kim as Sun, and Michael Emerson as Ben. Stand-ins are used for several others, some of whom sound very convincing and others who are merely acceptable. The voice acting is not bad, but because the show is in its fourth season, the real actors’ voices have become extremely familiar to loyal viewers, making it even tougher for stand-ins to be convincing. It’s a shame they couldn’t enlist the participation of more original actors. As for the sound effects, these always sound convincing and appropriate.
The graphics are very clean and crisp, in particular the environments. You will be able to visit many places familiar from the show, including the crash site, jungle, caves, hatches, and more. The character models look good, although sometimes just a little off in representing their real life counterparts. The controls and camera do what you want when you want with zero aggravation.
Game play is linear and you are limited in how much you are able to explore. A lot of different elements are included, such as platforming, puzzle-solving, problem-solving, searching for clues, and shooting. The puzzles can get tedious in that most of them consist of repairing a fuse panel by placing the correct fuses in the right slots to complete a circuit. A greater variety of puzzle types would have been welcome.
As for the game’s greatest strength, this is the interesting story and dialogue. This game is very well written by writers who are truly familiar with the Lost story and characters. The castaways’ personalities really come through in the dialogue, which is interesting and at times very humorous. With some games based on television and movies, the dialogue does not seem to appropriately suit the character who is speaking it, and you’re left wondering if the game writers ever saw the show or movie. The opposite is the case here, as the writers are clearly very familiar with all aspects of the show. This gives the game a very authentic, satisfying feel for loyal Lost fans.
The game may be confusing to players who are not familiar to the show. They will miss the many inside jokes and the ending will probably not make a lot of sense. The original storyline of Elliot will give this game enough depth for these folks, however.
The biggest problem with Lost: Via Domus is the short length. It may be difficult for some people to justify full price for a single player only game that will last them 7-9 hours. The other reason the length is a problem is that so many of the pertinent events from the show are missing, which could leave loyal viewers starving for more content. The game moves forward quickly through events that occurred far apart in time on the show and skipping over a lot. Granted, the events left out would not involve your character, however, they provide a background on the whole Lost situation that I feel is needed. Given the number of episodes in the seasons the game is based on, a lot of omission is understandable, but not this much.
Lost: Via Domus is a fun game that utilizes creative methods to make the game feel as much like the show as possible. It is also consistent with the plot (loosely), places, and characters of the show. But the length and amount of content included is far from satisfying. Die-hard Lost fans and those who prefer their games short will probably get enough out of this game to forgive its shortcomings. Others may find the short length and missed potential more difficult to forgive.