By Steve Baltimore / July 28th, 2015
|Release Date||July 28, 2015|
|Platform||PS3, Vita, PlayStation TV|
|Age Rating||ESRB – Teen|
*Note I played the PlayStation Vita version of this title, performance of the PS3 version may vary*
When I first laid eyes on Lost Dimension I wasn’t really sure what to make of it. I have never seen a game where your own party has traitors hiding within it, let alone you having to discover them and eliminate them. When I learned it had an interesting turn-based combat system, I was completely stoked to check this title out. Did it live up to my expectations?
The world only has 13 days left. A mysterious man called The End has perched himself of top of the “Pillar,” a tower that phases between dimensions. The only way to save the world is to climb the “Pillar” and defeat The End. An elite team of gifted individuals called SEALED must scale the tower to defeat this mysterious individual. They will need to use their special psychic powers against the various enemies that lay in wait for them. However, there is another threat they must overcome — their group is filled with traitors. You will need to sniff out these traitors and erase them in order to ascend each floor and reach The End.
I really enjoyed the story. Not only is it very interesting to figure out exactly what is happening in this world by finding the various documents hidden in the levels, but each of the characters has an interesting backstory, as well. Add finding the traitors on top of this, and the fact you will likely have to eliminate someone you have gotten to know really well, and you have yourself one great and engaging tale.
While the graphics aren’t the strongest asset, they look decent. The character models are fairly detailed, and the animations look smooth. The environments are all well represented, from the ruined city streets to ancient ruins. Each one has a decent amount of detail and gives you a sense of how strange this world is. There are no framerate issues to report here. However, there are some odd loading times when performing a “Gift” during combat. While these may not be a big deal, they are distracting. I played both the PS3 and Vita versions, and, from what I can tell, there is very little difference between the two. The Vita version is PlayStation TV compatible, as well.
The soundtrack only adds to overall experience. While there are not a lot of tracks here, these techno / industrial songs will get you ready for some serious combat or set the mood for the mystery that surrounds “The Pillar.” The game has been dubbed in English, and the voice cast does a very good job bringing these characters to life. While not every line is dubbed, I felt like most of the important scenes were covered.
Each floor will start your party off in a hub room. From here you can take on missions, talk your party members, purchase weapons and supplies and check your visions. Each floor will contain a couple of main missions and some sub missions. I would definitely recommend doing the sub missions as they will reward with much-needed (EN) energy to purchase new weapons and items, as well as some good EXP. You will also be graded on each mission, and, just as you would figure, the better your grade, the better your rewards. You can obtain some really rare healing items this way to help you along your journey. Your grade will be determined how many rounds it took you to clear the map, damage taken, if party members were K.O.’d and other factors.
Combat is a turn-based affair, and you can move your characters freely on the map. A circle will appear around them to show their movement range. When you are close enough to an enemy to attack they will glow blue. Some enemies will counterattack you when attacked, but the odds of this happening and the odds of you hitting your desired attack will appear when you target the enemy. Any characters close enough to attack around the attacking character will do an assist attack. This makes positioning of your characters very important during combat. Since most monsters will take more than one attack to take down, and they usually have a numbers advantage. Note the enemy will do this, as well, so you may want to avoid running a character into a whole group of enemies at once.
In addition to normal attacks you have “Gifts” at your disposal. These special attacks provide a range of effects from high-powered attacks, healing and status buffs. These skills will consume a bit of GP (gift points) and SAN (sanity). While running out of GP isn’t a big deal, you will want to watch your SAN level closely. You will lose Sanity when you perform these skills, you will also lose a bit when you attack or take damage. When you run out SAN the character will go berserk, doubling their damage and making them not know friend from foe. You will lose control of this character for a few rounds, which could end very badly for your party. However, this is not always a bad thing, since you can work this into your overall strategy if they are positioned away from your other party members.
The last feature of the combat I would like to cover is Defer. This command allows you to give up your current character’s turn to allow another character to have extra turn for that round. It will cost you 10 SAN to do this, but this can really be helpful in getting characters to important switches for doors or simply allowing a character with a better attack to clear out some baddies.
I really enjoyed the combat. In fact, this is the most fun I’ve had with combat in a RPG in a long while. It’s deep, fast paced and requires a bit of thought to complete each level. You may need to grind some of these missions a few times towards the end of game, mostly for EN to buy the most powerful weapons, but most won’t mind since the combat is fun.
Now that we have the combat out of the way, let’s figure out who the traitors are. This one of the most unique things I’ve seen done in a game in a while. First off, you will need to talk to your party members in-between battles to build affinity. This will lead to some cutscenes in which the characters will tell their backstories or a bit about their hopes and dreams. You will really get to know these people well by the time you have completed all of their conversations, and each character will have a character mission to complete their story. You will only be able to play these maps one time.
Discovering the traitors will take a bit of guess work in a sense. At the end of floor, you will have to eliminate one of your party members. This is done by a vote in the Room of Judgment at the end of each stage. The Visions menu on the camp screen will show you an overview of how this voting will go and who is likely to be killed, but, without your guidance, your party members will most certainly take out the wrong person. At the end of each mission, you will be shown a glimpse of the party members that were involved in combat via Inner Thoughts. Sho will then state if he thinks the traitor is among those members. You can then go to the Vision menu and see how many people in that group he found suspicious. If you have completed some of the main missions you will have earned a few Vision Points by now. You can use these for a Deep Vision. This is where Sho will dive deep into that character minds and see if they are, in fact, the traitor. This is a surefire way to either clear a character or know in fact they are the one.
Once you have determined who the traitor is, it’s time to sway the opinions of your other party members. After combat, you will often be approached by the others and asked if you think a certain person is the traitor or whom you think the traitor is. Your answers will have a direct effect on the voting and the story. The eliminated character’s abilities will be transferred via a Materia that can be equipped on another party member. The elimination mechanic is one of the best features of the game, not only will who gets eliminated affect the story, but the traitors will change each playthrough, so the replay value here is very high. Since the dialogue will change a bit each time, it keeps things fresh and interesting.
I had a blast with Lost Dimension. The combat is fun, the story is great, the characters are interesting and it has some great replay value. The long load times during the “Gifts” skills, the graphics being a little bland and I’m sure some folks will find doing the same maps repetitive are the main drawbacks to this title. One playthrough took me about 13 hours, and you will need to do at least two or three to discover everything this title has to offer. Despite its drawbacks, for $39.99 price tag, you’re getting one of the most interesting and unique games I’ve played in a while.
Review copy was provided by the publisher
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