July 28, 2015

Lost Dimension Review for PS Vita

Atlus brings a heavy story-driven RPG to the PS Vita and PS3, thick with intrigue and action and deceitful teammates. Is this a Vita killer app? Or should you vote this one down? Read on for our review

Lost Dimension is an RPG with a blend of cartoon story telling, tactical gameplay, and a unique feature where you have to choose who is a traitor among your companions.



The game begins with you slapped into an apocalypse situation with a bunch of others like you. You all have special powers (psychic, fire, healing, etc). Unfortunately, you don't know any of the others as you begin, and then you realize you are brought to the Citadel by a flashy character named "The End."

This is The End. My friend. 

Why? What are you doing there? Why are you sent missions? Who is The End and his mysterious connection to your character?

He reveals to your party that there is a traitor among your party and that to proceed to the top of the citadel tower you must find out who that is and then vote as a whole group to eliminate him or her. What? Yes. The first level always has the same person being the traitor, but after that it is up to you to track down the elusive traitor because it changes in each level and in each game.

There's no going back after this! So make sure you make the right decision!
This is an intriguing gameplay feature. You gain clues to the traitor's identity at the end of each level you finish. Your character, Sho, has a psychic power that allows this... and you hear your teammate's thoughts. Whoever was with you on the mission flashes past you as does a snippet of their dialog... and sometimes there is a flash of red dialog that may or may not point to your traitor. Doing enough missions with or without those key characters may help you narrow down your search.

Better pay attention... pics and words fly by quickly!
You also earn "vision points" to actually interrogate a suspect with a mini game, where you can either prove someone is the traitor, or rule them out entirely. You only get a few of these points, so use them wisely!

"Are you a traitor?"
There is also a time for you to "chat" with each of your party members. Not that this actually helps you figure out who is good or bad, but by doing this you build up a member's trust level and their votes will be swayed by your thoughts. They might ask you "What do you think of X?" and you can say they are the traitor or otherwise. Oh, if you know who the traitor is and they ask you who you think it is, don't actually tell them.

After this sequence he quickly became my favorite. 
So how do these social aspects work? I found the chatting with your party ok, for a time. It would've been nice if you could start to pick up clues through this dialog about traitors, but that is reserved for the vision mini-game and post battle sections. There is a bit of stress involved with the tracking down. You theoretically choose the wrong person and the actual traitor is out there, ready to fight you on the battlefield. You also get to like certain characters more than others and it really stings when they are the one you have to vote off.

Sit around and socialize. Or equip things. Or look for the traitor!

So these are the social features but there is much more to this game. Each level of the Citadel is broken into main missions and side missions (and occasional character quests). When each level starts you see the map and your initial placements (including the enemy). You then get to choose your party and their locations on the battlefield. This is actually a fun tactical portion of the game. You may have to check out a level first, see the enemies, and then decide "Oh my teleporter would go best there," etc.



Your support crew, ie the healer, might want to maintain a mid level position and stay with the group to support them. And where do your long range attackers go? All these pre-fight thoughts are at the core of the strategy behind Lost Dimension. But how do the fights play out?

After you choose your party and placements, you go down to the 3d playing field where you do a turn-based bit of playing. There is a fair bit of strategy here, as well. There is a cool "Assist" feature where if you are near enough to a comrade you can enlist their aid in an attack. Basically it adds another attack to a turn and can really turn the tide of a battle.



And then there is the ability and skills trees for each character. It takes a while for you to progress along the possibilities for each character, but it is fun to plan out skills you might want later on. It is not linear, so you do have to make choices and just know you won't get all the powers.



The tough thing for me was that my main character didn't progress like I wanted. He felt really weak compared to everyone else, despite the fact that you always use him and gain XP. And I also was bummed when I found out a character was the traitor because all the hard work and time I spent leveling them up would be in vain. Sort of.



The nice thing about this loss is that as a character is eliminated, they leave behind Materia. Basically, you can attach their skills to a character by equipping this thing. That skill tree is done there though, so it might be better to beef up a character before they go so you can use their attributes.



You'll be dumping a lot of time into this game, especially right around the middle of the third level. I got to a sequence that was just crazy difficult to pass and had to grind to make my characters stronger. Maybe better strategy would help, but I feel this was an unfair jump up in difficulty on the main sequence of levels.

Verdict: 
8/10
An engaging story, hands-on fighting strategy, and a fun traitor-seeking plot make this an enjoyable Vita title. In game socializing may get tiring after a while and the difficulty jumps up too, but you'll want to play this until The End.

Thanks to Atlus for providing a Vita and PS3 code.

What do you think, readers? Comment below if Lost Dimension is the path to follow!

 
                     
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