A diabolical villain known only as “The End” has set into motion events that will ensure the destruction of the entire world, and it’s up to a group of gifted soldiers to thwart his evil plans. The only catch? Somebody in the group is a traitor! The clock is ticking, so there’s no time to lose. Can you root out the teammate playing both sides and defeat The End in time? Find out in Lost Dimension.
Lost Dimension is developed by Lancarse and published by Atlus
Release date: July 28th, 2015
Rated: T (Teen)
Genre: Tactical Role-Playing Game
Consoles: Playstation 3, Playstation Vita
13 Days Until The End of The World
You and 10 other strangers have awoken together in a strange room. As a collective, your memories are foggy—nobody is particularly sure who they are or how they arrived, that is until a smarmy enemy who calls himself “The End” shows up to fill you in on some of the details. According to this rogue, the room you are in is the base of “The Pillar”, an ominous structure that has manifested itself in your world from another dimension. Worse yet, The End has launched an all out attack from the top room of The Pillar, set to ensure mass destruction in a mere 13 days.
So why are you here? Simple, you and your posse (a special ops team designated as S.E.A.L.E.D.) have been tasked with climbing the The Pillar and putting an end to this dismal fate. As some of the mental haze dissipates you realize that everyone on your team is endowed with unique abilities, or “gifts”, designed to give you an edge in combat. It becomes a bit more clear why this group of strangers has been united as S.E.A.L.E.D. and charged with being mankind’s last hope for continued existence.
A Wolf In Sheeps Clothing
At this point the path seems clear, right? Work as a team, climb the tower, and save the world. Unfortunately, The End has one more wrench to throw in the gears, and it’s a big one. Somebody in your group is a traitor, working against the group to achieve a goal in line with The End’s plan for chaos and destruction. Luckily for you, The End has given you an opportunity with the passing of each floor to fish out and remove the mole in question—by erasing them!
Plan out your movements carefully
Each time a floor is passed, The End will gather all the members of S.E.A.L.E.D. together for a vote. Here it’s up to the group to determine just who the traitor is, and “erase” them from the group (and existence!) by popular choice. As the player, it’s your job to try and coax the group into voting out the right team member, that is, if you are even certain of that yourself. You may or may not succeed in identifying the traitor in each subsequent floor, and even if you do, the onus is still on you to convince the rest of the team, all of whom will have formed their own opinion on who the traitor may be. It is entirely possible to erase an innocent soldier.
Brace yourself for enemy retaliation
How To Win Friends and Influence People
The traitor mechanic is definitely the most interesting part of Lost Dimension, and what sets it apart from other games in the genre. The intriguing aspect of it is that after the first traitor is identified, in what essentially is a tutorial-based first floor, the next traitor becomes randomized for the rest of the game. Your actions may influence who the traitor(s) are as well as your likelihood of identifying them, but the culprits can and will change from game to game, so there are no spoilers or walkthroughs to utilize here!
Once a traitor is weeded out, a new one will take their place. It seems a bit convenient, but remember that everyone in your group is working with a sort of amnesia since awakening in The Pillar, and many team members true motivations are only gradually returning to them as time passes. Each and every member of S.E.A.L.E.D. has the potential to turn against the team, so your ability to identify and eliminate the bad seed becomes paramount. You’ll do this by having conversations with your teammates, gaining their trust, and also by using the “vision” ability to try and identify the teammate who needs to be sent packing.
As “Sho”, Lost Dimension‘s protagonist, your ability is “vision”—an innate capacity to sense future events that will allow you to identify and eliminate or confirm possible candidates as the traitor. As you narrow down the list toward your final suspect, you will use your relationships with each member of the group to try and steer their vote for elimination in the proper direction. Your influence over the rest of the group is determined both through your interactions in combat as well as through conversations that take place during the inter-character dialogue portions of the game. The more effort you put in here and the better you perform in combat, the more control you will have over the thoughts and opinions of the others. Even if you are successfully able to identify the traitor through vision, you cannot directly control the vote, so it’s of the utmost importance that you maintain strong relationships in order to properly steer the vote.
Fighting as a Team
The combat itself in Lost Dimension is a turn-based affair, consisting of an alternating player phase and enemy phase. During the player phase, you will get to perform movement and actions for each member of your roster of six. Strategy definitely comes into play as the distance you can move each turn is limited. Map and character positioning are key as you try and out-maneuver the enemy. You’ll want to play to the strengths of each individual member based on their unique “gifts” (some soldiers are better suited to front line combat, while others should contribute form a distance), and remember to employ standard combat tactics such as flanking (attacks from behind do more damage), and ones more unique to Lost Dimension specifically, such as defer, which allows you to forego one team member’s turn in order to give a second team member an extra one.
Banking on assists from nearby teammates can be a huge advantage
On the whole, most of the familiar gameplay mechanics you would expect from a Japanese role-playing game are here. Combat scenarios are graded on a letter scale and monetary/experience/item rewards are granted as a result, with the ability to replay missions for more XP/loot and a better grade. Spend your money on new and better gear, turn XP into skills points for new powers and improved abilities, and customize your team overall to fit your gameplay style and strategy.
I played Lost Dimension on the Playstation Vita, and I was disappointed that none of the features & menus were optimized for the handheld version. The opportunity to incorporated the touch screen into the lobby menu screen was passed over in favour of the same analog point and click cursor necessitated by the Playstation 3 version. Also, the skill tree menu felt particularly cramped and difficult to maneuver, and in my opinion definitely wasn’t created with the Vita version of the game in mind.
Lost Dimension features some very fun tactical combat with a refreshing twist in the form of the traitor mechanic. The over-arching story of “bad guy wants to destroy the world” may be a bit on the bland side, but the dynamically unpredictable identity of the traitor makes for at least some genuine drama during the voting sequences and the dialogue in between. It’s a shame the touch screen wasn’t taken into consideration more for the Playstation Vita version of the game, because this is exactly the kind of game I love taking with me on the road.
+ Interesting traitor mechanic
+ Fun strategic combat
+ Dynamic story based on relationships
– Mediocre over-arching themes
– Cramped skill trees and lack of touch screen intergration for Vita
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5
Overall Rating 4/5 (80%)