A turn-based RPG where your teammates live or die based on your choices, which affects how the final battle plays out? Count me in, I’ve been excited for Lost Dimension for a long time!
You’re thrust into battle where it’s explained that the eleven playable characters are on a mission to defeat The End, a man bent on destroying the world. Armed with Gifts, supernatural abilities ranging from telekinesis, pyrotechnics and super strength, you aim to quickly take him out but instead you’re trapped by him in a tall tower and forced to play his twisted game. When you get to the last area of each level, you have to sacrifice someone – a traitor – to continue, and once you’ve worked out who the traitor is, it’s then up to you to convince everybody else to vote for them to be ‘erased’ to save any innocents from being killed instead. Any traitors who you fail to pick out will come back to haunt you by fighting alongside your enemy in the final battle.
It reminds me of Danganronpa if that had JRPG battles and as a massive fan of that series, that’s a huge compliment to Lost Dimension. The story, as explained, revolves around you trying to defeat The End but the ‘free time’ segments where you can speak with other characters is where the game shines. The End makes for a fantastic villain and your party is entirely unique, meaning you’ll quickly pick favourites both in and out of battle, and you’ll likely worry about one of your favourites choosing to betray you. The more you talk to someone and take them in battle, the quicker you can progress your relationship with them. All these relationships are platonic and revolve around camaraderie, although it’s hinted that there could be more if there were a change in circumstances. I love being given the choice to learn more about my characters and what experiences they’ve had, and so I was engrossed in speaking with them after every mission.
The battles are turn-based and require strategic thinking in both what skills you use and what ally is best suited to fight certain enemies. It’s easy for your group to get split up on the field which means they can easily get ganged up on and defeated, so I tried to have 2-3 people together at all times out of the 6 people you can take into battle. Some of the battles do feel as if they carry on longer than they need to be, especially as you can go an entire turn without doing anything due to the distance between you and your enemies, but all in all they’re enjoyable and solid, and quite easy to get into.
Your team shares experience so they’ll all level up regardless of who you take into battle, and when they level up you earn points to learn new abilities which are, of course, unique to each character with their own Gifts. When a character is ‘erased’ at the end of each level of the tower, you’ll then collect their Gift to equip to another character so that they can use two in battle. Talking about erasure, you’re probably wondering how the traitor mechanics actually work and they’re interesting if not a little simple. At the end of each mission you’ll hear the voices of each team member who joined you in battle, and you’ll have to pick out the ‘red’ sentences and who’s saying them as they’re potentially a traitor. Three traitors are hinted at, and you’ll need to take everyone into battle at some point to wittle it down. Once you think you know who it is, you’ll have to convince everybody else so that the traitor get ‘erased’ at the end rather than an innocent.
If you’re struggling or wish to make sure, then you can use ‘Deep Vision’ which sees you read the thoughts of your chosen person as you chase them down in their head and once you’ve caught up to them, you’ll realise that they’re either innocent or the traitor – as this changes with each playthrough, you can experience the heartbreak of having one of your favourites betray you multiple times. It’s straightforward although you’ll likely need to use ‘Deep Vision’ to confirm the traitor each time, despite only having a set amount of points to use it, making it important that you’ve wittled the traitor down to 3 people before you dive into their thoughts.
Playing on Vita, I’m impressed with the visuals, especially the dynamic 2D portraits. They come across as 2.5D and smoothly move from expression to expression, and their hair is constantly floating which makes them seem as if they’re breathing. The 3D models are decent too and it seems costume DLC will be soon arriving, some of which looks great but I quite like the formal design of the teams given clothing. Skills and abilities are explosive and creative, especially as there are so many possibilities with the multitude of Gifts and it’s unsurprising to find yourself taking characters into battle if you like their abilities, even if you prefer another characters personality and looks. The areas change with each level but they’re standard and relatively empty, proving to be a battleground more so than beautiful scenery but it is all keeping in tone with the game.
With no Japanese voiceover in sight, I was made to play with the English Dub which was fine by me, being the option I’d pick even if I were given the choice. Being a NIS America published game, the dub proves to be strong and a joy to listen to and I wish I could put more names to the faces as I struggle to recognise many of the voices. The OST is decent too if not very memorable but it sufficiently does the job and fits the oppressive atmosphere to a tee.
I’ve enjoyed my time with Lost Dimension despite the story not being as powerful as it could’ve been but I enjoyed the character development and becoming attached to the characters, making the traitor mechanics much more involved. It doesn’t pack the same emotional punch as the likes of Danganronpa but it was a good ride all the same which invites multiple playthroughs although, and I could be wrong on this, it seems the True End is locked to a second playthrough as you need to max out everybody’s relationship which can’t be done on one playthrough – True End’s that force this type of thing will always bee a negative to me, as I don’t want to feel like I’m forced to play one game twice to get the proper conclusion. It’s worth the asking price although it has a lot of tough competition at the time it’s releasing, with other games offering better value for money in my opinion, and I hope that if they ever create another game for this series then they flesh out the story more and add in more visual novel elements so that you aren’t fighting several battles in succession.