Lost Dimension is a tactical RPG from Lancarse with an interesting gimmick. Rather than starting with a small squad and it growing as the game goes on, you start with eleven and the numbers get smaller as you progress. Why? Every now and then you have to vote to remove a traitor from your ranks and it’s random which character it is every time. It turns what could have been a decent game into a great one.
A guy called ‘The End’ has already killed millions of people and has erected a tower out of nowhere and threatened to destroy the world in thirteen days, so you and your crew of S.E.A.L.E.D. have been called in to take him out. S.E.A.L.E.D. consists of eleven people (teenagers, natch) who each have their own unique ability. You have your brawler, mage and healer as you’d expect, but also things like levitation, teleportation and the main character’s power, premonition which we’ll come back to.
Each character also has their own personality which is conveyed through talking head portraits which are slightly animated and some of the best I’ve seen in a while. The more important scenes are voice acted but generally you’ll be reading what’s being said. You can talk to characters outside of battle to increase your friendship with them and get a better understanding of their story.
There are also the odd 2D animated sequences which aren’t super high budget or very long but are of a decent quality. The overall presentation is excellent in fact, with good graphics for the battles and the aforementioned story sequences. There is a little slow down every now and then, the loads between levels are a little long (on Vita anyway), the enemy designs aren’t very varied and the music is nothing to write home about but nothing that hindered my experience any.
In battle your squad of six takes their turns individually before the enemies get their go. You can move people in any order you like by cycling through them and your units can even pass their go onto someone else by ‘Deferring’ which also allows their respective abilities to be combined in interesting ways, for example the mage passing her fire ability onto the brawler to allow her to use a flaming punch. It’s a very interesting system that’s both forgiving and rewarding allowing you to experiment with different set ups. You’ll also want to put all allies within range of an enemy to stack attacks as allies will follow up an attack if they can get a hit in which leads to major damage. If you fail you can retry the level at no cost and if your colleagues die in battle they still get XP at the end and you don’t have to pay anything to revive them.
Every other level up characters will get a point to put into their skill tree. The skill trees are reasonably large with a variety of skills for each character, plus if you unlock all skills in a certain branch they will unlock another ability to use. The level up screen itself is a little clumsy and slow to navigate but the content is excellent and will reward those who put some thought into their character builds. Levels can be replayed as much as you like for higher grades so if you care to grind out some extra levels you certainly can but it’s not required.
But what about the traitors? Well at the end of each level the main character’s premonition will kick in and the people he was on the mission with will race through his mind. Words will appear on screen and if they’re red there’s possibly a traitor in your midst. I say possibly as although there is only one traitor at a time there are always three possibilities. So your first port of call is to find out who the three possibles are by changing people in and out of your party and figuring out who they are and then you can ‘Deep Dive’ into who you suspect and discover if they’re the traitor or not. Deep Diving takes ‘Vision Points’ of which you have a very limited number so you can’t just skip the trial and error bit before hand (although you can buy more through DLC, though it’s really not necessary). Deep Diving is super simple and just involves following a trail of words to lead you to the character in question. It’s a little slow and not difficult in the slightest so it’s a little tedious but again doesn’t really do anything to damage the game.
Once you discover which of the three is the traitor you then have to convince your other colleagues. After each mission some will come up to you and ask who you think the traitor is and you can sway their opinions this way, they also naturally suspect the person who does the least in battle (which is totally in your control so not a real judge of anything) so you can stop using the traitor for a few levels and people will start to turn on them. Of course, you could choose wrongly and get rid of an ally…
Once you get rid of someone you can pass their abilities on to another so if your healer is gone then it’s not the end of the world, although you will no longer learn new abilities in that class. It’s a great little system and I found myself not moving on to see the story, or see the next level, but to see who was the traitor. Would it be one of my favourites? I’m currently on my second playthrough (required for the true ending) and the traitors so far have been people who were with me to the end (pun not intended) last time and I’ve discovered that the early traitors from my last game are actually super useful.
So as mentioned in my first paragraph, Lost Dimension is a very well made strategy RPG that is elevated thanks to its traitor mechanic. If you’re looking for a challenge then you’ll be disappointed, the running time is a little shorter than your average RPG and the graphics aren’t going to make your eyes melt but this game has it where it counts and if you do play this you’re in for a unique treat.
+ Traitor system keeps you interested
+ Individual levels don't take long
- Music is nothing special