Who will be the next to betray humankind?
Not many games are published on the PlayStation 3 exclusively any more. Bigger titles from Japan make the leap west usually only on the PlayStation 4, and any larger titles follow on the PS4/Xbox One’s coattails. Of course, Madden and Call of Duty see releases on the PS3, but at this point, they’re generally neglected. So when Atlus published Lost Dimension, it nearly flew over my radar. Luckily, I peruse Amazon to the extent where I see upcoming releases – regardless of significance – over pages of products. When I came across Lost Dimension, released for the PS3 and PS Vita, the screen shots definitely intrigued me.
Lost Dimension is a strategy RPG that pits a squadron of characters against the ultimate terrorist known only as The End. The End has promised ultimate world destruction, already causing massive death worldwide. A tactical infantry squad consisting of soldiers with special powers is sent to penetrate The End’s mysterious and allegedly impregnable tower. The game begins with Sho, the player’s character, as he regains consciousness surrounded by a few allies – all of whom he can’t remember – and few more hostile creatures. The squad, all suffering from some form of amnesia, realize they were sent on this mission and decide to band together to defeat the enemies. As it turns out, no one quite remembers each other, but that’s more-or-less the only memory they have lost.
Combat in Lost Dimensions works similarly to Valkyria Chronicles, which is probably partially why I fell so in love with the game. You control a squad of various numbers per mission. Each character has a range of movement and attack, so you must move your characters so their range of attack can hit an enemy. Even then, the game predicts a hit percentage based on your location. Back attacks generally count as 100% success rates and/or critical hits. Characters each have unique abilities and skill trees. These are utilized in combat in a number of ways. For example, a couple characters have the ability to levitate or teleport, making them capable of reaching high ledges or gaps to secluded areas. One has the ability to link with any or all characters (depending on his level and skills you chose to unlock), allowing him to share buffs and heals.
Characters each wield their own weapons. Generally speaking, characters are limited to either a pistol, submachine gun, or melee weapon (fist, knife, katana, or throwing knife). When combined with each character’s specific skill set, you then have a multitude of options when strategizing your assaults. Also, if an ally you’re friendly with is close enough to an enemy you are attacking, they will form chain links, dealing much more damage per attack. Fortunately, the majority of battles in Lost Dimension are small, meaning you can usually get through them rather quickly. This is mostly positive when considering you can repeat missions to grind levels/find out the traitor if needed.
And speaking of traitors, one of the coolest aspects of Lost Dimension is the traitor system. On each run-through, the game randomly picks a new set of traitors. It is Sho’s job to figure out who the traitor is and out them amongst his allies. At the end of each “stage,” Sho and the others must vote on who the traitor is, thus eliminating them. Since no two playthroughs will necessarily be the same, you never know just who the traitors will be. Traitors, by the way, can be found out by “diving” into an ally’s mind (you can do this twice per stage) and hearing combatants’ thoughts after battle. I found myself thoroughly enjoying figuring out who the traitors were after battles based on their thoughts.
Now, the plot is essentially as I described it earlier. Sho & Co. must battle through The End’s ever-changing tower by force, eliminating any traitor who will stand in the way to saving the world. Outside of that premise, there isn’t much of a story. It’s really that simple. The most the player receives in exposition is in the lobby between battles, where you have the opportunity to speak to and learn more about your companions (as well as upgrade weapons and armor). Through this, characters develop fairly nicely – they each have unique personalities, backgrounds, and aspirations that can only be furthered by conversation. For me, I was lucky enough to have my favorite characters survive through the game. I imagine others will not have been so lucky.
I have two complaints about Lost Dimension, for as much as I love it. The voice acting is pretty decent (there are a few of my favorites, actually, including Matthew Mercer). The problem with the voice acting is that the sound samples come through almost distorted, like scratching a candy wrapper over your cell phone to evade a phone call. I could, with patience, get over this. The other complain I have is that the game is way too short. I loved the combat (and that’s generally the consensus if you check out other reviews). I haven’t played too many games that execute the strategy RPG element quite like Lost Dimension. Unfortunately, the game was over in approximately 20 hours, perhaps less. I got the game on release day and finished it in less than two weeks. The only saving grace to the shortness of the game is that each run through will be different due to the randomized traitor, thus slightly increasing the value of the game (especially if you want the platinum or want to learn fully about each character).
So, though the lack of length and shoddy recordings hinder the final product to some extent, the cool concept of the game and fantastic strategy gameplay made Lost Dimension one of my favorite games in 2015.