One console that was overlooked during the last generation was the PlayStation Vita. It was abandoned by Sony and left to fend for itself. But every now and again, the stars would align and a game would make an appearance. While this is a rare sight for the Vita, it is always great to see game devs to support the Sony console.
Publisher: Furyu/Atlus/NIS America
Reviewed on: PS Vita
Also Available On: PlayStation 3
Release Date: Out Now
Originally Lost Dimension had been released in Japan in August back in 2014. It would be a year later until the game made it to European audiences. While the game has been out a while, it is never too late to review a new game for Sony’s little handheld that could.
The game starts with the word in utter chaos. A mysterious man called “The End” had launched an attack on countries across the globe, causing the deaths of billions. After the attacks, he contacts the United Nations, telling them he has a nuclear warhead aimed at every city left. He gives the world leaders 13 days to stop him, and if they fail he will launch the nukes. In response, the UN forms S.E.A.L.E.D, a military group made up of individuals with special abilities. These range from teleportation, telekineses, and pyrokinetic’s and more. The leader of this group is Sho Kasugai, an 18 old who is able to predict the future. It is now up to him, along with his 10 other teammates, to climb a mysterious tower and defeat The End.
Lost Dimension is like any strategy RPG that has come before it, just with more on an anime theme to it. One mechanic that makes the game stand out is the sanity system. Sanity, or SAN, is to represent the mental state of your units on the battlefield. Whenever a character uses a gift or gets attacked by an enemy, their SAN meter drops. If a character’s SAN meter drops to zero, the character enters a berserk mode. Whilst in this mode, the character cannot be controlled and will attack the closed unit within range – be it friend or foe. The mechanic can also be used to aid the player as an enemy will become dazed when their SAN meter is depleted, causing them to take more damage. This is great to see in Lost Dimension and adds a new layer of strategy to consider while playing. You either take the safe route and don’t overuse your gifts or you could rely on your gifts and hope you can take down all enemy units before your character becomes berzerk.
Gameplay is the title’s true highpoint here, with each mission fun to play through and very fast paced. The constant change of character deployment made each level feel fresh and never came to the point where it felt repetitive. A combination of SAN and how each character interacted with each other made each battle require a bit of planning. I had to make sure all my characters were in the right position to take advantage of assets and to keep an eye on everyone’s SAN meter. All this made each battle a new experience and it kept me wondering what else the game could throw at me.
Another great part of the gameplay is the traitor system – basically, someone in your group will turn on you. The player can learn who the traitor is by bringing characters along to fights and then at the end of every level, checking the thoughts of each character they brought along. This allows the player to figure out who the traitor is and make sure they no longer pose a threat to the group. During my first playthrough, I lost two characters from my main team by the end so I had to use other characters I didn’t like, but after a few fights I started to like the newcomers and hoped that I wouldn’t lose them on future floors.
Sadly the game’s story does not inspire the same level of praise as it’s mechanics, with a flat and bland plot that just didn’t keep my interest. Dialogue runs at that same standard at times, with many of the characters speaking incoherent rubbish. Since any character can be killed through judgment, Lancarse had to make sure each character had something to say at during crucial points of the game. But because of this, each character feels like they are having a conversation with themselves and in no way help in advancing the plot.
Throughout the game you are presented with an opportunity of find out just what your companions were up to before they became part of S.E.A.L.E.D, which seemed like a good mechanic at first. Then the more and more conversations I had, my interest just kept slipping further and further away.
A lot of the characters are based on anime stereotypes; the wannabe idol, the selfish one and the tsundere type to name a few. Now to most there’s probably nothing wrong with this but being an anime fan myself, I’ve seen these character pop up so many times before. It would have been nice to these characters personality to differ slightly from the stereotypes they represent. Coupled with the game’s traitor system, I found it even harder to get invested with these characters as they can be killed off at any moment.
Despite it’s flaws, Lost Dimension was an enjoyable experience. Gameplay is solid, the SAN mechanic keeps the game fast paced while staying strategic in nature and the traitor system actually injects some interesting character to the title. While the characters and story are a bit lackluster, it was just what I expected from an anime style game.