Link's Update - 03/23/2009 - LOST: Via Domus in a sitting? No Problem!!
I wanted to report as soon as I could, but the "day off cold" I sometimes get from working more than 60hrs in a row at the job got me. I guess it's kinda like being chased by something that will eventually catch up to you (like the black smoke), and then stopping to catch a breath and having it getcha. Man, did it get me though. I haven't felt that sick in a while. After I finished, I must have slept for almost 16 hrs. Yeah, that's a long time.
Anyway, I'm back in action for the most part, and am ready to tackle the report on my experiment.
Let me first say that if you're not a fan in the least of LOST the TV series there is absolutely no reason you should even look to get this title. None. There's nothing here to see but story fragments from past shows, possible teasers that lead into seasons three and four, and a new story about a character that I have yet to see referenced in the show. So if you don't care about LOST, then LOST Via Domus doesn't care about you in the least.
Now, moving on to the game if you are a fan, it's got some cool stuff for you. The game starts you as a never-before-seen character with amnesia that you have to play as and find clues to your identity. It's presented very LOST like, complete with the TV titles at the beginning of each level or "episode". The developer has even put a "Previously on LOST..." segment at the beginning that recaps your progress for anyone that wanted to take a break and not do what I did and just blow through it in one go.
So, does the character fit into the LOST universe? Why yes, I do believe I could see him running around with Jack and co. for a few episodes. He feels cryptic enough to fit in, even though some of his back story (Again, presented LOST style as a flashback at the beginning of each level) comes off as a bit cheesy. But then again, there are some regulars on the show that have a worse premise.
The look here gets nailed. Everything looks like a digital re-creation of the island should. The beach looks good, the forest is very intimidating, and the DARPA stations all, with few exceptions look like they came right out of the show. (Sorry Pearl Station, it's not THAT small.) The character models are also well done, although they leave a little to be desired. They all look like plastic models of the characters, and these days, with a couple more passes on the shader, you can get a more natural look.
The ambient sounds and music also feel straight out of the soundtrack from the show. The black smoke sounds like it should, the music in the cut scenes and the gameplay feels appropriate, and the characters, for the most part, are voiced by the original actors. (I still think John sounds like he's voiced by a cowboy, Charlie sounds like a reject from a BBC comedy, and Claire isn't even from the right country.) All in all, a nice touch.
So it all sounds like the makings of a pretty good licenced title, right? Until you pick up the controller, yes, it does.
What happened here? The "gameplay", if you can call it that, is almost non-existent. When you do find "Game-like" moments, you almost want to break your controller in half, and then the game disk! Really, a running sequence pulled straight out of what would have been passable on the PS1 in Crash Bandicoot I? Really? Even better, two sequences? Several hide-and-go-seek sequences where you have to hide from either the black smoke, who you can almost never see and who comes from anywhere it wants without warning, to having to dodge bullets coming from people you can't see, with no way to shoot back? Sounds like TONS of fun. The puzzles are good, I can see that. But where is the rest of the game? This was all the developer could come up with knowing that this universe could hold just about anything in it and still be believable? Such a flop here. Although it did allow me to plow through it and only get stuck when the game got super cheap. (Again, while running and hiding...all control based.) I honestly thought there could be no way you could get everything out of the game without using a guide of some sort. (Yes, I did use one. But don't you dare say you wouldn't on this game and then still be able to snag all the achievements, because I don't believe it's possible to do that without checking into a mental institution immediately afterwards.)
So I finished it. Complete in just over 5 hrs. Was it worth it? For the achievements maybe, for the story possibly, but for it being a fun game I can recommend to anybody...NO! Only the die-hard LOST fans or achievement hunters may apply here, all others run as though the black smoke is after you!
I'm trying to think what I'll have for you all next time...I'm sure I'll think of something. Maybe I'll be inspired to talk about something I see in Jersey when i visit with Diabolik? Who knows. Guess you'll just have to wait and find out. Until next time...