It’s getting hard trying to keep track with all of the RPGs on vita. If you want to play a racing game there’s so little choices but for RPGs, specially the japanese ones, it’s just the opposite. It’s not that surprising, the vita scene is pretty much dead everywhere except for japan and they love their RPGs so that’s the kind of games that we’re getting here. It’s not that I’m complaining about it though, I love this genre, but with so many games trying to appeal to the same niche it’d be a shame if some good ones got overlooked.
Lost Dimension is a 3D tactical RPG brought by the guys of Lancarse, the developers of Etrian Odyssey. In the game, some mysterious terrorist named “The End” has made a gigantic tower emmerge and has threatened the world. You and a group of youngsters with special powers have to infiltrate that tower and climb it in order to stop his plans.
The initial premise sounds a bit ridiculous and, by the end of the game when all the secrets are revealed and all cards are shown, it still is pretty ridiculous. It isn’t an awful story, it actually brings some good topics to the table but it’s needlessly convoluted and the final resolution didn’t satisfy me personally.
The game plays like a gridless turn-based tactical rpg. I’ve tried to compare it to other games but it’s quite hard because the game battle system is really their own. The closest thing I can come up with would be think of Valkyria Chronicles but with a heavy enphasis on superpower usage and the enemies can’t attack in real time as you move.
Probably the most remarkable about the battle system is the fact that they made every character in the game unique because of their powers. You’ll have to get to know their personal traits, their strengths and weaknesses to use them to your advantage.
Another defining mechanic of the game revolves around having a traitor among your companions. The game asks you to find out which of the other members of the team is an undercover traitor and then discard them at the end of each level before you can continue. Your character has to unmask them by making use of his psychic powers and then convince the rest of the group so the traitor gets voted out at the judgement session. The most interesting part is the fact that the game decides who becomes that traitor randomly, so you’ll encounter different ones on different playthroughs.
The graphics in Lost Dimension are quite good for vita standards. The character designs being the highlight with their anime-looking 3D portraits. The game though doesn’t feel as smooth as it should. The framerate seems kind of “low” all throught the game, not terribly but constantly. However, being this a slow-paced tactical game, that’s not something that should bother you.
On the sound department it should be noted that the cast has full english dubbing and the quality of their performance is pretty good. As for the soundtrack, while not being remarkable, the tracks are fitting enough.
Things I liked
- Characters: The cast of 11 characters that form the S.E.A.L.E.D group is so colorful. Not only the designs of them but their personalities and backstories. They’re all well balanced with their lights and shadows so they feel well-rounded and realistic.
- Gifts: That’s how the special abilities of the characters are called. Each one has a different gift that grants them powers they’ll be using in combat and there’s a ton of them. The skill tree of each character is unique and quite deep. You’ll sure have to do multiple playthroughs in order to unlock all of the powers they can learn.
- Traitor mechanic: On each level you’ll find a traitor within your group and you’ll have to discover them. The traitor is selected randomly by the game and each character has their own reason why they would betray the group so you’ll never know who could be next. You’ll have to deduct the one using your vision powers and then convince the others so they vote the traitor out. It’s such an original mechanic and it’s very well implemented.
Things I didn’t
- Camera: The camera during the fights is too close to the character so it sometimes doesn’t let you see the battlefield properly and, on some instances in tighter spaces, you’ll find yourself struggling with it as much as with the enemies.
- Story: As well written as the characters are, the main story of the game I found it to be subpar. This is all my subjective opinion but the premise sounded kinda dumb at the start of the game and didn’t manage to convince me by the end of it either.
Who’d like this?
Lost Dimension is actually a great tactical RPG game. It isn’t the deepest but the focus on the character portrayals and that traitor mechanic makes this game really worthwhile. I would have liked a better story to go along with it, but maybe that’s just me.
I’d recommend the game to any fans of the genre.
<The game is available on playstation 3 and vita but this review was based entirely on the portable version>