So it begins with a huge close up of an eye. The camera pulls back to reveal a man on a beach, surrounded by wreckage… of the Lost videogame, the result of a terrifying midair explosion of bad coding, poorly implemented ideas and frustrating minigames. And the ending, oh God, the ending… How did he end up here? Time for a convenient flashback perhaps.
Polar bears. Hatches. Giant electromagnets. If none of these things mean anything to you, then chances are you haven’t been watching Lost, the infuriatingly vague castaway show from celebrated producer and director JJ Abrams. For this videogame adaptation, developers Ubisoft Montreal have worked closely with scriptwriters from the show to ensure its authenticity. Unfortunately, it’s immediately apparent from the game’s opening sequences - in which you discover that your character is an amnesiac unable to escape from his shadowy past - that this particular collaboration hasn’t exactly resulted in a radical departure from cliched videogame storytelling.
Set during the events of season one and two (featuring some locations from season three as well) the game is split into seven ‘episodes’, with each lasting roughly 30 minutes. At the start of each one you’ll get a brief (yet authentic) ‘Previously on Lost…” recap, a teaser segment for that episode, and then the traditional lo-fi swooping Lost title sequence. It makes you feel quite jazzed for the game itself, making what follows even more disappointing.
Each episode revolves mainly around extremely linear exploration, with a tiny (almost non-existent) bit of gunplay thrown in. Most episodes involve traveling to various locations to find objects that will refresh your foggy memory, and amongst other spots, you’ll get to visit the Swan, the Black Rock and the Flame. You’ll also trek through the jungle and cave systems, chat with the characters you love from the show (most of whom make at least a cameo appearance) and solve puzzles in an attempt to flee the island.