Review of “Lost: Via Domus”

I celebrated my official assession to Doctoral Candidacy (and some other good news) by finishing LOST: Via Domus, which I began a while ago. Via Domus (translated as “The Way Home” in the game”), is composed of four “episodes” that take place parallel to the main action of LOST: Force Majeure, A New Day, Via Domus, Forty-Two, Hotel Persephone, Whatever It Takes, and Worth a Thousand Words, each with about an hour of gamepplay. The game concerns a character who wakes up shortly after the original airline crash, not knowing his name or why he was onboard.

The island is beautifully rendered, but unfortunately one cannot explore much of it. Like Half-Life 2, there is an invisible rail that guides the player. At all times, there is a right thing to do, and a right place to be. This can be annoying, as alternative solutions that do not fit within the pre-written story are generally impossible to execute. At times this is annoying, such as when your character refuses to take a little detour, and instead has to run away from a smoke monster while carrying dynamite.

However, while gameplay can be limiting, the writing is fantastic. In most games, you play through the protaganist. In via domus, you play as him. The first time I realized this I was perturbed, but then I realized it was an original perspective on gameplay. While the main character decides what he wants, it is your puppeteering that gets him there. This at times raises moral qualms. The ending is more satisfying than most video game endings, as well.

I enjoyed LOST: Via Domus. I recommend it to anyone with an XBOX 360 or a sufficiently powerful PC.