With the kind of story any Manga or Anime fan can jump right into and easily palatable turn-based combat, “Lost Dimension,” developed by Lancarse, the minds behind other Atlus favorites “Etrian Odyssey” and “Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey,” is an enjoyable mystery that begs to be played. It might be the best PlayStation Vita RPG to date. And don’t let the handheld’s thin library fool you- “Lost Dimension” is a solid game on any system.
Although it may not all be as easy to progress through at times, the story is the type that’ll draw you in early on and make you care about the characters. That’s always the biggest notch in the belt of any decent RPG and “Lost Dimension” has it in droves. The mission-based gameplay also makes it an awesome fit on the Vita, perfect in 15-minute bursts or long bus and train rides where you can watch the story unfold.
Part “Saw” and “Old Boy” with end of the world implications, the story of “Lost Dimension” has you take control of a group of “gifted” people who have been put together to save the world from The End, both literally and figuratively. The End is a supernatural being who wants to destroy the world- in 13 days. In order to stop him, you must battle through his tower. But there’s a catch.Through each level, you’ll begin to find out more about your team and along the way, begin to ascertain who is trustworthy and who is not. Simply put, someone has to be “erased” at the end of every floor and they have to be voted out by their teammates. As a result, communication between teammates after every level is important while our main character’s “gift” gives you even more of an idea of who can be trusted.
In the vein of an old-school “Who Done It?,” “Lost Dimensions” keeps you thinking throughout. The possible consequences of your actions must always be analyzed as well. Eliminate a strong party member and they are gone forever. Turn your back on someone and they are not voted out and they won’t be as useful as they were before. Making the game feel like a reality show at times, it’s the type of RPG where you’ll always have to be focused and alert.
But in order for this to work well and bring the game past the mediocre, the dialog and character development has to be solid as the main story. Luckily, this is where “Lost Dimension” flexes some more muscle. Although the localization of the game is a bit flunky, as characters aren’t nearly as charismatic as they could be, each character in the game has their own unique perspective and brings it to the story. Although some of the characters are stereotypical, for example, the sword-wielding badass who doesn’t trust anyone, you’ll talk with them so often that their individuality will eventually come through. As time moves on, you’ll begin to grow a stronger bond with your team and hope that none of them are the type that’ll stab you in the back. Simply put, this is where the game shines the brightest. Add in another option that’ll let you retract your steps and get to the bottom of all of the drama by going on “Vision Quests” and it’s incredibly easy to get wrapped up in the wildness of the plot. It also makes “Lost Dimension” a game that you can play through several times if you wanted.
While many will probably not want to embark on this adventure again because of the repetitive battle system, seeing different characters turn their backs on the team at different points is a great way for hardcore fans of the series to get some extra bang for their buck.
On the gameplay front, “Lost Dimension” a smartly crafted tactical RPG with a cool aid system which allows you to attack after your teammates do if they are in close enough proximity. Fans of the PlayStation One editions of the Final Fantasy series will enjoy the combat as well, but for another reason entirely. The upgradable Gift system, which gives each character their own special ability, brings back fond memories of the old Limit system. Even cooler, once a character has been “erased,” you can give his gift to another member of our party, making for some cool combinations of powers. In battle, characters use their fists, swords and guns and with six characters to use at once, it’s an enjoyable and beefy experience. Some will say that too many characters use similar weapons, but as you begin to advance, you’ll find fewer similarities between them and through attaching Gifts from deceased characters, you’ll find plenty of character diversity.
With plenty of decisions to make both in combat and in terms of the story, “Lost Dimension” is a game that anyone who thought the Vita was dead should experience. With over 30 hours of gameplay, customization options and plenty of side-quests, a decent gamer could spend even more time with it. The fact that it takes time to find a balanced team and one that can exploit the weaknesses of the various enemies you’ll encounter makes the game even more immersive and time-consuming.
With an infectious story and anime-inspired visuals, ”Lost Dimension” is ultimately a game that fans of Atlus’ work with become completely enthralled with. Anyone looking for a deep tactical RPG on a system in dire need of quality titles will love it as well, even if they may not play it as long as an Atlus diehard.
Solid Visuals: Between the cut-scenes and in-game sprites, “Lost Dimensions” is a pretty game, even if the enemies don’t have the same luster as the protagonists and his comrades.
Great Villain: The End is a dark and sinister being and his motives aren’t exactly clear, but he’s still uber charismatic and enthralling.
Vision: While the story and gameplay are sharp, the ability to try and find out who the traitor is on every floor through talking to all of your teammates and going on “Vision Quests,” add a whole extra layer to the story.
Interaction: Talking to your teammates and finding out who the traitor is on each floor is a polished experience that hasn’t been done in many video game series. Feeling like a trial from “Phoenix Wright,” it’s an important element of the game due to the fact that trust between your teammates is perhaps the key to developing a group that is strong enough to take down The End.
Localization Issues: Some of the characters dialogue isn’t nearly as polished as others and it sometimes feels like the right words aren’t being used to convey the bevy of emotions on screen.
Battle Can Get Repetitive: While it’s extremely tactical and will test the mettle of veteran gamers, there’s no denying that “Lost Dimension” can get repetitive at times.
Even if you’re not a fan of Atlus’ usual Japanese RPG fare, “Lost Dimension,” thanks to a manga-esque storyline and a fun tactical battle system, can eat up hours of time on your dormant PlayStation Vita.
“Lost Dimension” is set for a July 28 release on the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita.
Will you try “Lost Dimension”? Are you a fan of Atlus and their games? Sound off in the comment section below and let us know.