STAFF REVIEW of Lost: Via Domus (Xbox 360)

Thursday, March 6, 2008.
by Rick Wallace

Lost: Via Domus Box art Lost is a huge primetime TV fan favorite, and Ubisoft has decided to bring you its version of the show in Lost: Via Domus. You?ll play as a photojournalist headed back to the US on Oceanic Flight 815. And as with the TV show, the flight mysteriously crashes onto a remote island in the Pacific Ocean. You?ll interact with the real life main characters you?ve come to known on the show. As with the show, everyone has a hidden past including yourself, and it?s your goal to redeem yourself to gain passage off of the island. You come to realize early in the game that your troubled past also means that someone wants you dead, but who?

The overall feel of the game gives you the sense of watching a television show. At the start of each level, after the first level, you?ll get the ?Previously On Lost? style of replay which shows you keys events of the storyline from the previous mission. While not overly important, it does add a little neat spin on things and makes you feel like you are watching and participating in a TV show. The graphics aren?t off the hook, so don?t prepare to have visuals that will knock your socks off. Some of the areas, such as when exploring a cave can become quite dark, even when torches are lit and you at times can lose your way. The sounds are quite basic as well. No real ambience when traveling through the jungle that I would have expected such as exotic animal noises and such. Voice acting is done by the original actors of the show and seems to be well done but again, nothing over the top.

The story starts out with the plane crash of course. You somehow miraculously survive the crash, as other have, and now must find your way through the jungle to the crash site. You come to realize quickly that your character has lost his memory and you have no recollection of who you are Now your main objective becomes gaining your memory back through personal items, talking with other characters and taking pictures. The game uses a question and answer system to gain information and progress through the storyline. You?ll collect items lying around the scenery in order to use for trading to acquire other items that you need. You?ll also use these items to help with recalling your memory at points. The game makes use of a journal which you?ll use throughout the game. Its broken into 4 categories: Quest, My Memories, Help and Completed. You?ll access the journal to view what you need to complete and what has already been completed.

There are several puzzle-style missions in order to achieve items and certain points of the story line. As stated earlier, you are a photojournalist with amnesia. At certain points in the game you will trigger a flashback. These flashbacks can be triggered by speaking with certain individuals or during certain events during the story. During these flashbacks, the screen will become blurred and you?ll be viewing a part of your past. Your goal is to take a snapshot of key elements in the flashback, which you can see in micro flashbacks prior to entering the memory. If you capture a successful snapshot, you?ll regain some key elements of your memory. There are also hidden items in the sequence for you to find and reveal even more things from your past.

The flashback sequence adds to the overall storyline and helps you regain your memory. Its not very difficult, and the entire flashback will replay from the beginning if you fail at capturing a successful snapshot. As stated, these sequences are not difficult and are more of a side mission to aid in revealing the whole picture of the story.

There are two puzzle-style missions found throughout the game. One mini game has you accessing computer files using simple logic. It?s a fairly simple and straight forward process. The other has you restore electric panels to working order within the plane wreckage. These missions have you reconstruct a circuit line with different watt fuses. These fuses can be picked up throughout the game, so be sure to pick up any fuses as you run across them. You?ll have to match up the total power of the circuit marked in colored ink on the board to the final red squares that change each time you put a fuse in. Three types of fuses each take a certain amount of power away from the overall circuit, so you will have to figure out the right combinations. Once you have figured out the puzzle, and restored the panel to working condition you?ll be able to proceed further into the story.

As you progress through the storyline, be sure to interact with anyone and everyone you can as each of these individuals will provide clues to you in conversation. You also want to be sure to explore areas thoroughly in order to find all items. There is some action in the form of shooting enemies once you have obtained a gun. You can only shoot certain enemies and items, and these will be marked clearly by crosshairs. Again, nothing really over the top here, it?s just something else to do within the game and will help you progress.

The game is pretty basic and straightforward when it comes to how you play it and what you need to do to accomplish your goals. It?s hard to say if passionate Lost fans will find this game inviting as its got its own storyline with a few tie ins to the actual first two seasons of the show. As stated a few of the main characters that have been around the show since the beginning of the show are there to help you on your journey. Overall, the game does not really stand out as a fabulous must own title, but if you like puzzle solving quest based games then this one should be right up your alley.

A bit more action in the game would have done wonders than question and answer sessions, and puzzle based mini games. Give the ability to play as other characters within the story.

Overall: 6.8 / 10
Gameplay: 7.0 / 10
Visuals: 6.5 / 10
Sound: 7.0 / 10


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