Poor Victor Holloway just wants to run his beloved, dusty antique shop, and settle into a comfy, no nonsense life with his new fiancee, Lily. Except strange and violent nightmares plague him far too often to be able to make that cozy life anything more than a distant pipe dream. Recently, he had a nightmare so hellishly real he actually lashed out and hurt his lovely Lily. He will do anything to make it stop, including taking a long drive to some tucked away town where supposedly the doctor there can offer help like none other.
This whole story takes place in Movie Games Lunarium’s next game in the Lust series, Lust From Beyond. In this Backlog Twosome we’ll be taking a look at the M rated edition where all the macabre minutia you’ve come to expect from a game in this series has been left in place, but most of the libidinous details have been covered up or removed altogether. We took a close look at this buttoned up version to see if the horror themes are enough to still leave us satisfied or will that missing erotic twist dampen the mood?
It’s funny to think that Lust for Darkness, the first game in this series, was actually our first Backlog After Dark review. It was one of the first games we encountered that toed the line just enough so that it certainly couldn’t be called a “porn game” but then it contained a lot of content and imagery that the AO rating it got was definitely justified. People could easily mistake it for just another survival horror game when really it was so much more. It was just too tempting for a pair of backloggers such as ourselves to pass up the opportunity to take a close look at a game that was doing things a bit differently.
So upon hearing about the sequel, naturally we were pretty stoked to eventually take a crack at it as well, especially after playing through the free prologue that was released earlier. The M rated edition presented an equally tempting experience because it will essentially do the exact opposite of the first game: take an AO rated game, remove most of the naughty bits and see if it can still stand on its own as a survival horror title.
When we first started the After Dark portion of our blog, we really wanted to find something that stood on its own as a game, but also featured all of the things that made an After Dark game, an After Dark game. You know, the kinky sexy stuff. So, when we came across the prequel to the game at hand, Lust for Darkness, it seemed like a perfect fit. Plus, a story where sexuality and desire is skewed by lust, obsession, and the downright occult seemed super interesting!
Fast forward to the present day, and although it didn’t blow us away, all of those things that drew us to Lust for Darkness all rang true with its sequel Lust from Beyond. Only this time it seemed to be much more fleshed out. Meaning we were ready and willing to give the series another go. Aside from that however, with the release of the M Edition, I was curious to see if the game could have the same impact if all of the “After Dark features” were stripped away, and we were left with a pure (purer?) experience.
First of all, like the game that came before it, Lust from Beyond is absolutely stunning visually, but also extremely inconsistent. For example, while exploring the dark and twisted bowels of Lusst’ghaa, which is filled with slimy, grotesque, and evocative structures, I was left in awe at how vivid and detailed it was. On the other hand however, when exploring the real world, those visuals felt much less impressive, and slightly less polished. Especially when it came to the character models of the various enemies and NPCs you would encounter. Making the portions of the game that took place in those environments much less interesting to be in.
Also, like Lust for Darkness, Lust from Beyond does a great job of creating discomforting contrasts between what eternal ecstasy could mean, and the reality of the dark and twisted world the characters seem to be obsessed over. Though with much of the explicit content removed from or censored within the game (in the M Edition), the impact of that contrast was dulled. In fact, at times it feels like you’re missing something when that concept is mentioned throughout the narrative, but there’s no visual reference to really hammer it home. I can’t help but think that the changes they introduced may have compromised their original vision.
With that in mind, the most satisfying part of the game was actually playing it. I really enjoyed the exploration based gameplay where you’re encouraged to poke and prod the nooks and crannies of the environments to find various items that you then have to utilize to solve simple puzzles. I also appreciated that you are rewarded with items and extra lore when going off the beaten path and solving the optional puzzles.
Luckily, if you haven’t played the first game, either because you don’t favor that kind of imagery or simply can’t purchase it in your country, the writers did a great job of making sure you didn’t feel like you were missing too much. There didn’t seem to be much reference to past events other than the occasional allusion from a character in passing conversation. Obviously all the themes and even some of the characters are carry-overs from the first game but at no point do you really feel like there’s information you’re missing out on.
Gameplay-wise Lust from Beyond plays pretty similarly to Lust for Darkness with a few extra added mechanics. It is a sequel after all. The graphics are fantastically done as always, though it’s not hard to tell that the Lusst’ghaa areas got a lot more attention.
As for this M edition business, there are the obvious censored parts like statues having leaves covering their dangly bits, or people wearing underwear in what are typically naked situations, if you know what I mean. If you have no frame of reference though I doubt you would even take notice since it’s all pretty cleverly done. There are still sex scenes of course, but for the most part the screen will just fade to black and you’ll hear the standard fare of huffing and moaning and such. There are a few suggestive statues and the like that are still there in all their glory but maybe some minor things are still allowed under the M rating? I’m not really sure.
I have a few minor gripes about Lust From Beyond but the only thing really worth mentioning was the ridiculous voice acting of the main character. First of all he swears like sailor, which normally wouldn’t bother me, but apparently the only cuss word this guy knows is the F-bomb. I kid you not, that is literally the only swear word you’ll hear from him and he uses it like a bad chef uses truffle oil. It’s everywhere, even if it doesn’t belong. Good writing can use swear words to add levity to dark situations or to add an extra layer of shock factor when needed, but this was just needless and excessive in this case. Unfortunately, it just ended up diminishing the dialogue overall and ruining the mood. The voice acting in general was a little wooden and unnatural, but that just put it over the top for me.
Not taking into consideration what was or wasn’t removed in the M Edition of Lust from Beyond, especially since you can play the original if you’re curious, what dampened my experience with the game were the chase/stealth sequences. As much as I enjoyed exploring its world, solving its puzzles, and unraveling its lore, that was all brought to a grinding halt when I had to start running from and avoiding enemies. No longer could I take my time and soak it all in, and instead of it feeling intense and suspenseful, I just ended up feeling annoyed. All I wanted to do was go back to my leisurely cupboard drawer ransacking and I hope that if there is another sequel in the Lust series, that that would be a bigger focus.
I did however enjoy the game as a whole, and like I mentioned earlier, I find the whole vibe of the series to be truly fascinating. Although I understand why this “abridged” version of the game was created, I do hope that if I see more games in this universe that they lean harder into the core concepts of the originals. In my mind that’s what would make it stand out the most, instead of just feeling like another run of the mill horror game.
Since Lust from Beyond is a single player game, we played it by passing the controller back and forth. The game was divided into decently paced chapters so it was a perfect way to split up our turns. Since the gameplay wasn’t too challenging and there weren’t many puzzles that required a great deal of deduction, we didn’t find ourselves putting our heads together to make progress quite as often as we have in other games. With that said it was still fun to work together to solve them!
Just like the first game, Lust From Beyond was a fun Twosome experience. We are always down for solving puzzles together, reminding each other where the right key doors are, or finding something to poke fun at during even the most, supposedly, serious scenes. If you’re not laughing your crying amirite?
I think as usual we had different levels of beef with the same things but generally speaking we had fun playing the game together. Without having played the original version of the game (yet) it’s hard to say if the M rated edition suffers too badly without that spicy AO content but I will say that it is missed. Lust For Darkness peppered it in naturally and I have to imagine that Lust From Beyond is the same. That little extra oomph just ramped up the horror, and personally I’m eager to see what I missed when we play the original version.
Overall the consensus we’ve come to is that, without having played the AO rated version of the game you really can’t gauge what you’re missing other than the obvious. As it is Lust From Beyond: M Edition is still a solid and entertaining addition to the survival horror genre. It would be a great way to play it for people who aren’t interested in the more hardcore NSFW content or if you just aren’t able to buy the original version for one reason or another. However, if the first game in the series is anything to go by and if you have the opportunity to play the original then that’s the version that you should go for. The AO content just kicks the whole game up a notch and really gives the story that heavy hitting impact you’re looking for from the Lust series.
If you are interested in trying out the M rated edition of Lust From Beyond for yourself you can find it on Steam.