Review: Lost Dimension

Review: Lost Dimension

lost-dimensionTitle: Lost Dimension
Developer: Lancarse
Publisher:  ATLUS
Genre:  Tactical Roleplaying Game, JRPG
Rating: T (Teens) – Language, Mild Blood, Suggestive Themes, Violence
Release Date (JP):  August 7th, 2014
Release Date (NA):  July 28th, 2015

Review: Lost Dimension

The world is facing an apocalypse by a mysterious foe: The End. The End is an agent of the apocalypse and has formed a massive pillar as his stronghold. Two billion deaths have been reported thus far, and the death toll continues to rise. Thirteen days from now, the world will come to an end. The Gifted, eleven psychic members of a group called SEALED, are the only ones capable of stopping the apocalypse. Unfortunately for them, they’ve lost some of their recent memories, and even worse, some are traitors working with The End. Can Sho Kasugai and the other Gifted defeat The End within his pillar and prevent the impending apocalypse?

lost-dimension-crew

It’s important to learn as much as you can about your SEALED allies. Can you find out their
intentions behind their possible betrayal?

Story

The story for Lost Dimension is uniquely crafted for each player and for each play through of  game. Your experience with Lost Dimension will be different than another player’s and that’s part of what makes it so special. The game itself makes you feel like you’re playing the board game “Clue” at times when you’re hunting down the traitor for each floor. However, unlike in Clue, you’ll only have so much time on each floor to make the decision about who the traitor is. If you end up “messing” up along the way, Lost Dimension has provided plenty of support for New Game+ play throughs as well. It’s possible to bring along your prior experiences to go through the game once again, but just remember that the traitors will always be different. Is it possible to run into a character that’s the traitor twice? Yes. Is it likely? No. Is it really anything new for a game to have a bad guy that wants to destroy the world? No, not really. So, why do I rate the story of Lost Dimension so highly? The twists along the way. It’s already surprising enough when you’re forced to deal with traitors amongst your group, but you’ll also come to find that the End isn’t quite as one dimensional as you believe he is as you continue on throughout the game. More than anything, I felt that the character cast that was selected in Lost Dimension was pretty diverse as well. There are some characters that fall into typical anime­trope archetypes, like Himeno being a total Tsundere, but those tropes contribute to what makes the game so enjoyable for fans of JRPGs to begin with. If you’re easily annoyed by some of these tropes, don’t be too concerned. You’ll find that each character has a much deeper background than it first appears. Unfortunately, for the sake of this review and giving you a spoiler-­free outlook on the game, I’m not going to delve too deeply into all of that.

lost-dimension-sho

Sho can use his own powers to notice suspicious behavior from his allies after each battle.

That being said, every time I discovered a traitor amongst my group I never lost the “holy @#%*!” factor that the game constantly presents you. It’s only re­affirmed when you’re forced to enter the Judgement Room and expel that member from your group. Did you end up choosing correctly? Did you purge an innocent person? You only find out these answers after the judgment is complete. If you choose poorly, it ends up coming to bite you during the later stages of the game. That’s why it’s important to use your “Vision Points” on each floor as you receive them from doing Main Story quests. If you suspect someone as a traitor in your group, use Sho’s powers to explore their minds. Only then can you be sure of their true intentions and if they’re genuine to you, or if they’re planning on betraying you. Oh, and even if on one floor a party member wasn’t a traitor, they could be on the next floor. You’ll be constantly second guessing those around you, while still having to continue on throughout the Pillar. It can be pretty emotionally draining, and as you continue along in the game, your party members will make note of that. I provided more information about the story during our Lost Dimension preview, so if you’d like to hear more about the story itself (without spoilers) feel free to explore that article as well.

lost-dimension-phase

It’s important to eliminate enemies before they have the chance to strike back on their turn.

Combat

I found the combat in Lost Dimension to be pretty average. It wasn’t anything special, but it wasn’t terrible by any means either. You’ll have to manage out of combat stats (much like other RPGS) that raise your HP, STR, DEX, and other similar attributes, but you’ll also have to manage a new resource while you’re in combat called “Sanity” as well. The Sanity system is something that’s pretty different compared to what you’ll normally find in the Tactical RPG genre, but I ultimately feel it wasn’t enjoyable enough to the experience to warrant what benefits it may bring. Each character (enemy or allied) loses sanity when they’re attacked, but also when they use special abilities that require “GP” (mana). When a character’s sanity reaches zero, they’ll take additional damage from any incoming attacks. However, when an allied character’s sanity reaches zero, they’ll take additional damage and they’ll enter into an uncontrollable, berserk state. When they’re in this uncontrollable state, they’ll attack anybody that’s nearby, which includes allies. They also have a massive power boost. There are ways you can use this as a strategic advantage, but I ultimately found it a hindrance to deal with as the game continued on. After all, you’ll learn more and more powerful abilities from your character’s skill trees as the game continues on, only to realize that the Sanity requirements continue to restrict them from using them too frequently. Despite the challenges that the Sanity system presents, the combat can still be rather enjoyable. It’s surprising how fast paced most of the missions that you’re involved in are as well. Most of them can be completed in under five or six turns if you’re utilizing your party properly, which is around ten to twenty minutes depending on how fast you’re able to make your decisions. It’s makes some battles long enough to be memorable, while they’re not long enough to become tedious from the length. As you near the end of the game however, there will be missions that will end up testing you on larger battlefields that may go above this limit.

lost-dimension-enemy-phase

Enemies have their own special abilities as well. It’s important to adapt on the fly when you recognize certain enemies and realize what they’re capable of.

Although, the speed itself seems to be something that Lost Dimension tries to force a little too much when it comes to the “rating” system. The system seems to reward you only for successfully completing missions in a timely fashion, rather than rewarding you for thinking outside of the box. What if you did intentionally decide to let your character go “berserk”, which gave you the damage to defeat a big opponent that was giving you trouble? Or, what if you found a way to get each of your six party members to “assist” attack on one creature several times? These are things you should be attempting to do, but are not given proper incentive when you accomplish them. It’s an unsatisfying feeling to be left with. That being said, I was thrilled with the Support/Assist system featured within the game itself that I just mentioned. As long as you have characters frequently fighting alongside of and supporting each other in different ways (items and healing primarily), the faster their trust levels will rise with you and other party members that have assisted them. This level of trust ends up allowing characters to “assist” attack when they’re in range of each other. You can end up using a party of six characters that have a high level of trust with one another, which allows them to do a six­chain attack on opponents each turn if they’re all in range. It’s an important tactic to learn, but one that also ends up transcending the battlefield when it comes to whom they trust within the group itself.

Gameplay

The overall gameplay experience for Lost Dimension is pretty refined. It delivers a traditional JRPG experience, but also found a way to remove some of the monotony that comes with normal JRPGs. Experience earned from battles is evenly distributed amongst active members of the party when you complete missions, which also includes some of that experience being given to party members you didn’t use on the mission (for main quests at least). This ensures that none of your characters ever fall behind far enough that they become a hindrance on future missions or floors in the game, but also ends up protecting you if a main member of your party ends up being one of the traitors and you have no choice but to fill their spot with someone else. Speaking of traitors, the game itself found a way to naturally fill the holes that are left within your party when traitor party members are terminated within the “Judgement Room”. Every time you judge a party member, they leave behind an item that can be equipped to other party members that grants you access to their unique skills and abilities. So, if you’re fearing losing one of your “mages” or even a “medic”, you’ll be pleasantly surprised that you can still make use of their abilities on a different character. Having these items equipped also allows you to gain access to different skills for characters that you would otherwise be unable to have access to. The voting process for Lost Dimension is actually a really fun experience. When you begin to earn the trust of other members of SEALED, they’ll begin to approach you after battles and ask who you think the traitor is for each floor. After you give them a response about who you think it is (you can always choose you’re not sure if you haven’t figured it out yet), they’ll be swayed to vote for the same person as well. This is a simple way that gives you a manual influence on determining who gets eliminated in the Judgement Room on each floor, yet still I was also pleasantly surprised with the amount of voice dialogue featured within the game. It does help your immersion within the game itself, and it also adds personality to the characters that you’re fighting alongside of. In all fairness however, it does become noticeably apparent when this voiced dialogue is missing. Most of the conversations you’ll have while you’re doing side quests or when you’re talking with your comrades between missions is where the voiced dialogue is omitted. It would obviously be very difficult to voice act every part of the game, but it just goes to show how well the voice acting was done for this title that it becomes so apparent when it’s omitted.

lost-dimension-combat-range

Recognizing the combat range of characters is important to avoid counter­attacks. You don’t want to take unnecessary additional damage, do you?

Conclusion

Lost Dimension presents an interesting twist to the Tactical RPG genre, and it’s one that’s not easily ignored for anyone who plays the game. After all, throughout the entire game you’re wondering which of your party members will end up betraying you next. You have to question them at the beginning of each floor, just like how they question one another along the way. It’s up to you to decide how or if you’ll try to influence party members about who to vote for at each “Judgement” that takes place throughout the game. Overall, I found Lost Dimension to be one of the better JRPG experiences you’ll find on the market. It may end up being a hidden gem on the aging PlayStation 3, but it should be met with proper admiration on the PlayStation Vita. Fans of the Fire Emblem series should definitely give Lost Dimension a chance, especially if you’re interested in playing other games from the Tactical RPG genre.

REMEMBER: If you purchase the game within the first two week’s of it’s release, you’ll unlock plenty of DLC for the game!

Other reviews of Lost Dimension:

 


ATLUS USA provided a copy of the North American Version of Lost Dimension for us. This in no way affected our final review of the game. Lost Dimension is available on PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita. We conducted our review using the PlayStation 3 copy of Lost Dimension. Any images, artwork, logos, and characters shown are owned by ATLUS and Lancarse. 

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