Lost Dimension (PlayStation 3) Review

By Shanker Varma 27.07.2015 1

Review for Lost Dimension on PlayStation 3

Strategy games may well be super popular amongst certain sectors of the gaming community, but reaching the mainstream is not always the end outcome even for some of the best. Nintendo has recently achieved greater success by amending its Fire Emblem series, but many developers stick to the deep-seated roots to avoid alienating long-term faithful followers. Has Lancarse managed to succeed in delivering something fresh in the heavily populated genre with its new PlayStation release, Lost Dimension? Released in the US on 28th July, Cubed3 delivers the final verdict on the Atlus USA-published title…

In a ruined world, "The End is Nigh." The End, however, isn't just the extinction of humanity - it is the name of the main villain who is known for causing the chaos seen in the opening cinematic. A band of heroes who have been trapped in a tower must be guided as they ascend each level, fighting through The End's minions to save the world. The tower's levels play host to several stages, filled with enemies that must be defeated before it is possible to continue the journey upwards.

Upon starting the first mission, the controls are helpfully explained through pop-up tutorial boxes. These serve to show how each unit can be moved in any direction on the map, as long as they are within the applicable range limit. This is reminiscent of Valkyria Chronicles' design but there is an option to reset a journey before executing an action, so planning the best positions for each member is easily achieved.

Screenshot for Lost Dimension on PlayStation 3

Carefully manoeuvring everyone into position quickly becomes vital as multiple enemies soon pose a big threat to the heroes being controlled. One of the interesting features of Lost Dimension is the ability to defer a turn between teammates. Simply put, this option lets a person move around the map before turning control over to a companion who can move further and then perform an action - like attack, for instance. This, combined with assist attacks from nearby allies, can be used to deadly effect with calculated positioning.

Building upon deferrals and assists, everyone is susceptible to more damage when attacked from behind, friend and foe alike. This means that careful tactics can fell strong enemies or help stave off otherwise seemingly impossible odds. Swiftly wiping out an enemy in one move, thanks to a combination of these elements, means that the threat of a counter-attack from a unit that has just been targeted is removed, as well. Ultimately, what may initially appear to be a straightforward SRPG, dressed up with a tiered investigation, actually demands precise planning to avoid being demolished by the AI's power.

Complementing the classic SRPG action is the investigation part, which makes up the game's unique hook. Hidden within the team is a traitor with a nefarious agenda to bring down the other protagonists. The first turncoat is always the same, but randomly chosen on each following level - even the first level of subsequent playthroughs. This means that fans will always be on their toes when working out whom to trust as every time it is different.

Identifying these Trojan horses is a big part of the adventure and can only be done by piecing together information gleaned from visions and conversations between battles. Listening out for voices of dissent, and using the menus that track this information, will help budding detectives work out who poses the biggest risk to the group on each level. This puzzle, however, is only half of the battle against the double agent.

Screenshot for Lost Dimension on PlayStation 3

After identifying the threat to the potential saviours of the world, this person must be eliminated via a vote. Players are deemed to assume the role of Sho and, therefore, only cast his votes. This leaves the others' actions up to the AI, which can itself cause problems. While deducing who is and isn't a traitor, it is possible to check the projected outcome of the elimination vote, which is based on how everyone feels towards each other. It is possible to improve relationships in various ways, for example, by healing other members of the party or through dialogue choices. Careful work, both outside and inside the battlefield, is necessary to successfully climb the tower.

At first instance, it may seem that the traitor element is a great way of mixing up characters used in battle to avoid being left with a weak team of unlevelled characters. The reality is slightly different, but the result is that variety is not only rewarded, but necessary. Cycling team members will help identify how many people are speaking against the group in a specific team, while cross-referencing this information across different configurations will help with working out whom the traitor may be. Vision points can be used to confirm, or rebut, suspicions as they let Sho look into the heart of the target.

Every person has a unique set of abilities, called gifts, which can be strengthened with points earned in battle. Experience and upgrade points are shared quite evenly between everyone, regardless of participation in a stage, so character choice can be focussed around solving the identity of the turncoat. This may seem uninspiring but it is quite necessary as mixing levelling up and the detective role together would lead to many replayed levels. As it stands, each skirmish can be completed once and garner enough information to strengthen abilities and get more information about who isn't trustworthy.

Screenshot for Lost Dimension on PlayStation 3

When it comes to eliminating a traitor, the team does become weaker thanks to his or her absence. Luckily, a special item, called a material, is left behind that contains the power of the recently departed's gift. This means that, while the team has lost a member, those special abilities can still be used throughout the game. The materia can be given to any remaining unit, each of whom can carry up to two different materia, and it will allow certain new gifts to be learned. Combining the right materia and person is vital to unlocking the best abilities and mitigates the consequences of elimination.

The PS3 is showing its age as the textures aren't the most impressive ever seen, yet Lancarse has done a great job of making a visually appealing title. A range of environments inside the tower and distinct character models give each battle a clear, but familiar, theme. There are a couple of instances of slowdown from time to time, but they rarely affect proceedings in a big manner as they are quickly resolved.

A fantastic soundtrack that makes the included sound test mode a very welcome addition accompanies the main action. The story is delivered through dialogue between characters, which is voiced in some instances and is well done as it draws gamers in thanks to the range of accents and gripping storyline.

Screenshot for Lost Dimension on PlayStation 3

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Lancarse has created a great SRPG at its core, thanks to a range of special abilities, the possibility of chaining attacks with assists, and the need to strategically use the defer ability so that characters move again on the same turn. A calculating mind is necessary to defeat the strong and numerous opponents, which makes this appealing for any budding tacticians. The unique hunt for traitors within the player's team of heroes brings a fresh twist to an already engaging release. There's as much action on the frontlines as there is in the sections between battles and so fans of SRPGs are sure to enjoy delving into Lost Dimension on PlayStation 3.

Developer

Lancarse

Publisher

NIS America

Genre

Turn Based RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

nice- im gona get it.

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