Lost Dimension

With roleplaying games spanning several generations, one would expect there to be a drought in terms of innovation (which can be a good or bad thing, in this reviewer’s opinions, given the recycling of positive and negative elements alike), although there exist a select few titles that manage to break the mold, bringing new things to the genre. Such is the case with the Furyu-developed and Atlus-published Lost Dimension, which saw dual release on the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita, combining elements of strategy RPGs with elements from elimination television series such as Survivor and Big Brother, accounting for a satisfying experience.

Battles are always critical to the success of tactical RPGs, and Lost Dimension fortunately does well in this department, with three kinds of battles: story battles necessary towards advancing the central narrative, side battles with no influence on the storyline, and character battles unlocked after enough conversations with specific characters. The roster of combatants starts out large at first, with the player picking six to participate in any given battle, players and the enemy having separate turn sessions, the former able to move around allies, have them use GP-consuming Gifts that also require a percentage of their Sanity Points, which, when expired, cause characters to go berserk for a few turns and indiscriminately attack friends and foes alike with vastly-increased power.

Victory comes when the player has eliminated all adversaries, with all characters gaining experience, alongside points the player can invest into their Gift hierarchies, lower-level skills unlocking upper-level abilities. The game, furthermore, is structured in five levels, between each of which the player must determine the traitor within their party, with all voting on whom to eliminate. The elimination of characters leaves behind special items a character can equip that are necessary to unlock certain abilities in their skill brackets, although these skills have fixed power that the player cannot increase through additional Gift experience points. The battle system works well overall aside from the all-or-nothing reward system of fights and the unskippable enemy sequences.

Lost Dimension has a linear structure that in effect makes it virtually possible for players to become lost and without a clue how to advance, with easy menus as well, although some shortcuts for things such as shopping and outfitting characters with gear would have been welcome, and there is the rare tendency of the game to freeze after battle not to mention the total absence of a game clock, inexcusable nowadays in any given videogame.

The narrative is one of the game’s highlights, requiring multiple playthroughs to get the most out of, with a solid localization helping as well, although the translation team could have certainly come up with a better name for the antagonist other than “The End.”

The awkwardness of characters referring to the oddly-named adversary is the only real flaw with the voice acting, which is otherwise superb alongside a solid techno soundtrack.

The visuals show plenty polish as well, with excellent character models and environments that show little blemish when seen close-up, and anime portraits being visible and animate during many cutscenes.

Finally, given the complete absence of any kind of playing time measurement, total playtime is indeterminate, although there is excellent replay value given the variations in the plotline and presence of a New Game+.

Overall, Lost Dimension is an excellent strategy RPG, with its enjoyable battles being among its highlights, alongside good control, an excellent narrative with potential variations that requires more than one playthrough to experience fully, Atlus’s trademark solid localization, a superb soundtrack and voice acting, and polished graphics. It does have its flaws in areas such as combat such as the unskippability of enemy turn sequences, which is nonproblematic in other tactical RPG franchises such as Fire Emblem, the absence of a game clock, and the awkwardness of a villain named “The End,” although those who typically enjoy simulation RPGs and perhaps those that normally don’t do so might find something to celebrate regardless of which console they choose to play this great offering on.

The Good:
+Solid tactical battle system.
+Good control.
+Great story and localization.
+Superb soundtrack and voicework.
+Nice visuals.

The Bad:
-Unskippable enemy sequences.
-May rarely freeze.
-No game clock.
-Interface shortcuts would have been welcome.
-Translators could have called villain something other than “The End.”

The Bottom Line:
A great tactical RPG.

Score Breakdown:
Platform: PlayStation Vita
Game Mechanics: 8/10
Controls: 7/10
Story: 9/10
Localization: 9/10
Music/Sound: 9/10
Graphics: 9/10
Lasting Appeal: 10/10
Difficulty: Adjustable
Playing Time: No In-Game Clock

Overall: 9/10

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