Review: Lost Dimension
Lost Dimension opens with a tower appearing out of nowhere and launching nuclear missiles towards many different nations. A mysterious figure known as “The End” appears shortly after threatening to launch a second attack, one that’ll destroy the world, in just thirteen days. He openly challenges anyone skilled enough to climb The Pillar to try to stop him. From this the United Nations assembles a special task force (SEALED) comprised of 11 gifted people that must work together to ascend The Pillar and ultimately take on The End.
The members of SEALED each have their own psychic ability ranging from pyrokinesis, teleportation, and levitation just to name a few. It’s important to note that they also don’t know each other. It’s not like this is a team that’s worked together for years and this is ultimately something that The End takes full advantage of. Shortly after arriving at The Pillar he reveals to your newly formed team that there are traitors among them. In order to ascend The Pillar they’ll need to deal with these traitors one-by-one.
Each floor ends with a vote to ‘erase’ the traitor and, whether you’re right or wrong, results in the person with the highest vote facing death. This repeats over the course of five floors without much in the way of story progression. The End shows up on occasion to taunt the team and point out that maybe it’s SEALED that’s evil, but overall the story isn’t all that interesting. The story and characters just don’t have enough depth to carry the game over its ~30 hour run time.
The game is split between talking with team members at the hub for each floor, going out on missions, and the vote. Between missions your character can spend time with anyone of your choosing to build relationships that will help gain influence over the team. If a character trusts you they’ll be more likely to listen to who you think the traitor is and it’ll impact their performance in battle. Building up these relationships over the course of the game will eventually unlock a character specific mission that you can complete to finish off each specific arc. Typically this is something that’ll help to resolve an inner conflict that’s presented for that character.
For as much as building trust might help within the game I never felt attached to any one character. Within the story they just felt disposable and losing someone as a traitor didn’t really have the impact that was probably intended. Not just because I didn’t find any particular character all that interesting, but also because each character drops a Fate Materia after dying that’ll allow you to use their abilities once they’re gone.
Each mission allows for six members to take to the battlefield and work together to defeat whatever enemies The End might send your way. The easiest comparison to make is with a game like Valkyria Chronicles. As you might expect positioning is hugely important in battle. Nearby allies can often perform assist attacks if they trust you and attacking from behind will typically yield greater damage. In addition to this you can choose to have one character defer their attack to someone else within range. The ability to act twice in one turn with specific characters opens up some pretty interesting strategies.
Overdoing it in battle can lead to a character going berserk. If this happens they’ll randomly attack anyone within range (friend or foe) and proceed to deal massive amounts of damage. You don’t want this to happen with party members nearby, but berserk can help quickly take out some of the game’s tougher enemies.
The way each party member plays in battle is different enough that any team combination is viable. I found myself trying out new team formations and building out each character’s skill tree in a way that would open up new strategies in combat. For me this was the most enjoyable part of the game, but without much mission/enemy variety I started to lose interest about half way through.
Searching for a traitor and participating in a vote should be far more interesting than it turns out to be. Your character has the gift of precognition and after every mission he’ll hear voices from a handful of party members. Some of these voices will be distorted which will ultimately lead to a few specific suspects. Finding a traitor by listening for voices is a pretty neat concept, but it doesn’t feel nearly as rewarding as it could. Traitors are randomized with every playthrough of the game which ends up being a bit of a double-edged sword. It’s great for replay value, but the randomization means the search for a traitor feels kind of lacking.
Outside of the voices between missions there’s never any hints or ways to discover a possible traitor. It would be cool if you could bring out new information through dialog or if certain party members behaved strangely in missions. Randomized traitors leads to characters that betray you without any sort of reason to do so.
As voting draws near other characters will come to you to ask about your opinion on who the traitor might be. You can offer suggestions that will sway the vote (you can view the polls in real time) or simply express that you’re unsure. Once the vote comes around whoever has the most votes is killed and the remaining members of SEALED ascend to the next floor. What’s really cool is that you can vote the wrong person off. If you’re wrong, and you’ll know if you are, the final encounter will be made much harder for you. It’s a novel idea and works out pretty well in the end.
Lost Dimension doesn’t exactly live up to the high hopes that I had for it. The story and characters are lacking and combat begins to drag the further you get through the game. I didn’t personally find it very rewarding to search for traitors, but the randomization is a neat touch and I love the way it comes full circle if you fail in any of the votes. I still enjoyed Lost Dimension, even if it doesn’t quite live up to its potential.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here.
What I Like:
- Defer and Berserk systems in combat
- Listening to audio to narrow down suspects
- Randomization allows for good replay value
- Choosing the wrong traitor comes back to haunt you in the final encounter
What I Dislike:
- Story and characters are lacking
- Not much in the way of enemy variety
- I wish finding traitors was a bit more involved