The end of a console life cycle is a bit of a weird time for those of us transitioning to newer system. Madden games will usually still release there, Lego will drop a few games, and for the most part you can safely ignore them for their bigger, better brothers on the newer consoles. It’s usually a sad time for these consoles that are past their prime. But before you move them to the closet to free up space for the newer model, keep an eye on some of the games coming out that might slip under your radar. Lost Dimensions was one such game I had the chance to review that is definitely flying under the radar for a lot of people. Released by ATLUS on the PS3 and the PS Vita, Lost Dimensions is a mix between a strategy game, role playing game, and a bit of a social sim of sorts that mixes up the three into a game that doesn’t quit fit into a category. If that combination has your intrigued, you’ll be happy to know it does a lot of things right in it’s execution and can be a ton of fun to play.
Lost Dimensions begins with a very eclectic villain named “The End” (who has some questionable hair style choices) threatening to end the world. A tower of sorts has popped up in a metropolitan area and the U.N. sends in a squad of psychic soldiers to try and put a stop to the madness. You begin the game in the shoes of Sho, a psychic soldier who wakes up inside the “Pillar” during a battle with some forces. After the intro battle where you’re introduced to the turn based combat, you are introduced to the other characters you will be controlling and their unique form of combat. Each person has their own weapon/psychic skill. The weapons are usually guns, swords, or fists while the psychic abilities can be fire, force, healing, and others. During each turn, you’ll be able to move your characters a certain distance and then perform an action (attack, use item, use skill, etc.). If you aren’t in range to do any of those things, you can “Defer” to another character that has already moved, effectively giving that character another turn to move and then perform an action. This is incredibly helpful when working to set up mass attacks against enemies because when there are people near you when you attack something, you have a chance to multi-attack if their affinity is high enough (more on this in a bit). Setting up these attacks can unleash devastating blows on the enemy and at times becomes almost crucial to get past some of the tougher situations. Each character in the game is completely unique and you’ll soon pick favorites to bring into battle, especially those of which you have formed friendships with. But be careful, because there is a twist that the game developers deviously put into the game – the traitor system.
In between each battle, you are taken back to the Pillar where all of your teammates are standing around waiting for the next melee. You are able to talk to any of them, but only the first two you speak to will have their affection for you raised. This affection system will help you in battle (the multi attack system), but there is also something else going on. During one of the conversations with “The End”, you find out that there is a traitor in your midst. This traitor will scheme behind your back and you need to try and pinpoint who it is. By making your teams and including different people on them for each battle, you can try and secure some names based on Sho’s psychic power; the ability to hear thoughts of others. When the chapter is over, you and the rest of the team will have to vote on who is the traitor. Others can vote for you as well to be the traitor if you haven’t secured their allegiance. This is where the affection system comes in and if you are doing it correctly, you’ll make some friends who won’t vote for you. Whoever is voted as the traitor (and it’s completely random each game, so there is no rhyme or reason to it) will be erased from the game with a new traitor taking their place in the future (these are some backstabbing friends!) At first I was a little taken aback by this because I had been leveling up characters to form an awesome team. But rest assured, once they are “erased” they leave behind the ability to grant that characters powers to another character, effectively combining two powersets into one. The traitor system is a really awesome addition to the game, but I wish it played more into the overall story. Being completely random, I couldn’t shake the feeling that it was only there as an added feature rather than aiding the narrative. It didn’t matter who was or wasn’t the traitor in the long term because the characters were only accessories to Sho’s story. It’s not a complete game breaker, but if this game gets any sequels, I would love to see more attention focused on threading this neat feature into the total narrative, because it has a solid base and was fun to stress over.
Lost Dimensions released for both the PS3 and the Vita, but it doesn’t have cross save/cross buy functionality. That was missed, but the ability to choose to play this on the TV or the handheld was a nice feature. The code we were given allowed us to test this game out on both and I can say that regardless of the choice you make, both are completely serviceable. The PS3 version looked a little sharper and had some faster load times, but the ability to play the game on the go whenever you want more than makes up for it. The graphics on both were OK for a last gen title and the English voiceovers did the job in portraying the speakers feelings in a non cheesy (ok, almost non cheesy) manner. You aren’t going to be buying this game for it’s technical prowess. You’ll buy this game for the fun gameplay, the character building, and the way in which you have to find the traitors amongst your crew. Just know that the graphics are good enough for a PS3/Vita game, but nothing to write home to mom about.
Lost Dimension isn’t a game for everyone. If you typically find yourself only drawn to big budget games or games with a certain high fidelity to them, you might want to pass. On the other hand, if you’re a gamer who can look past a games flaws or outward appearance to find interesting stories and gameplay design, Lost Dimensions might just be the perfect last gen game to close out your tenure with the Playstation 3. The traitor system and combat are enough to push this game past a lot of it’s contemporaries, and it’s certainly one that you should make time for. The game does have it’s flaws and I wish it did a lot of things differently, but even with those complaints, I’m still satisfied with the time I spent playing it. ATLUS releases some amazing games and Lost Dimension is able to hang out with the big boys in my eyes.
PS3 and Vita review code provided by Atlus