Lust From Beyond PC Review
I feel oddly proud of the Movie Games Lunarium team. Even though the first game in the franchise, Lust for Darkness, wasn’t too good, it was very clear that they had something really special. An original and shocking mythos based around wicked sexuality that they cared about and wanted to explore through an immersive story-driven horror game. I actually mentioned it in my original review:
“underneath it all there’s genuinely something interesting here – it just needed to be more focused, polished, moulded into a vision instead of left as a loose idea”
Well, that’s exactly what they’ve accomplished with Lust from Beyond and the two free-to-play teaser side-stories, Prologue and Scarlet. It’s still by no means a masterpiece. (As soon as you include imagery of people defecating on each other for pleasure the word ‘masterpiece’ must, of course, be immediately discarded), but it is a vastly improved experience over the original. Not only have there been significant upgrades made to the gameplay, it also delves much deeper into every aspect of the story: from the land of ecstasy, ‘Lusst’ghaa, its inhabitants, history, and eventual downfall; to the different cults, their leaders, beliefs and motivations.
This much more complex and involved story is told through the eyes of our new protagonist, Victor Holloway, a ‘recovering’ sex-addict that finds himself in the middle of Bleakmoor – a total creepfest, in search of a therapist that may just be able to help him. Instead of getting said help, he promptly gets dragged into a horror fest of visceral sacrifices and disturbingly brutal, over-the-top sexual deviance. Over the course of the story Victor moves back and forth between the alien dimension of Lusst’ghaa and several locations that belong to the two warring cults, that formed around different methods of finding and using ‘seeing ones’. Ol’ Vic, being a particularly powerful seeing one, has the power to manipulate the harrowing otherworld, which is to say gives him the ability to solve basic puzzles within that realm and not much else. It’s actually a knife and eventually a gun that he ends up using for protection, even in this futuristic hellscape, which is a little disappointing. I was hoping for the ability to take over some of the creatures to navigate through trickier areas, or at least shoot energy blasts from my hands! Instead it’s just repairing bridges with QTEs and tricking dingdongs into position so you can kill them as offerings.
The weapons straight up ruin the game’s essence in all honesty. You don’t get them right away and the first knife that’s acquired is absolutely a last resort but it doesn’t take too long until you are entirely capable of defending yourself. Before you have them the whole world feels incredibly hostile and it’s impossible to experience even a fleeting sense of safety. Once you have the hand cannon, though, it’s all over. Gimp causing you trouble? HEADSHOT. Terrifying lady on stilts (one of the coolest enemy concepts ever, by the way) getting up in your grill? BRAP! Alien creature from a race so advanced its technology is akin to spirit magic in your way. PEW PEW! It’s an especially sad fall from grace because Lust from Beyond’s first couple of scenes are brilliant examples of how to set the stage for horror in video games, which is a massive leap from their debut. The world-building is subtle and detailed – everything is perfectly off. The scares are dynamic and certifiably bone-chilling at times, saving the odd jumpscare for impactful moments that make you feel like a fool. Even the audio is on point with its clear directional cues and suggestive ambient nods.
The story kind of goes that same way, too. It starts off very evocative, asking tons of interesting questions that get you stirring up your own theories about the cults and their goals as well as the purpose and morality of eternal ecstasy and the deities that championed it. However, this also ends up devolving into multiple obvious back-stabbings and ‘twists’ that anyone would see coming. It’s sad to see such transparent character advancement in such an interesting world. Worse still is that the fantastic mythology and accompanying expanse of Giger-land become tainted by such weak development and ultimately fail to satisfy, ironically, by not living up to the possibilities the player already has swirling around their minds as they explore. The ending is no different, either, as it wraps up considerably neatly without ever giving the player a peek behind the curtain, leaving no looming questions or final thoughts to fill you with curious dread. It just ends, in my opinion, with no sufficient climax (doubly ironic).
The team clearly did their homework. Lust from Beyond is a huge success in terms of taking what they had and running with it. It’s a leap ahead of their previous title in every conceivable way but still falls just short of the finish line, unfortunately. The exploration is way more streamlined and exciting, although I would have still liked more puzzles throughout (but I am a puzzle-fiend, so that may be biased). The story-telling and characters are orders of magnitude more complex and interesting, but some of the set-ups felt stale and perhaps a little lazy. The lore is wonderfully extensive and can easily pull you in, especially when there’s little bits of it to soak up everywhere, but the payoff isn’t there at the finale. It’s so close and I need to see more, so I’m going to end this review in a similar fashion to how I ended the Lust for Darkness one, with a few minor edits:
“I’d definitely come back to check on a sequel
but it would be out of wary curiosity, not excitement. Still,I think a lot more can be done in this space and hope to see the Lust franchise continue to flourish and evolve something special come from it in the future.“