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Review

Review: Lost Dimension

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Ori­gi­nal­ly released in 2015 in the west, Lost Dimen­si­on is a curious game. Blen­ding turn based stra­te­gy with a trai­tor sys­tem that chan­ges up every play­th­rough, it’s cer­tain­ly not like other JRPGs. Howe­ver, Lost Dimen­si­on is also an examp­le of how uni­que ide­as are not a game needs to be gre­at.

Lost Dimen­si­on was­tes no time giving you the set­up for its world. A mys­te­rious vil­lain named The End has kil­led bil­li­ons of the world’s popu­la­ti­on, and has pro­mi­sed to end ever­ything in thir­te­en days. S.E.A.L.E.D., a group of phy­sics, is tas­ked with infil­tra­ting The End’s tower and kil­ling him. Howe­ver, the mem­bers of S.E.A.L.E.D. soon dis­co­ver that the­re are trai­tors in their midst, and are forced to sacri­fice each other in order to climb fur­ther up the tower.

The ope­ning pre­mi­se is inte­res­ting, but it quick­ly beco­mes appa­rent that things will never get more inte­res­ting. Sto­ry events are spread thin­ly bet­ween mis­si­ons, and tal­king to the mem­bers of S.E.A.L.E.D. does litt­le to help how poor­ly the game is paced. This is main­ly due to the trai­tor mecha­nic, which ran­do­mi­ses who will betray you on each play­though of the game. The side effect of this sys­tem is that non of the cha­rac­ters ever feel too important, and with how short the game is you’ll likely not get atta­ched to many of them.

The trai­tor mecha­nic is also a mis­sed oppor­tu­ni­ty. After every batt­le Sho will hear up to three sus­pi­cious voices and using the­se you can figu­re out who the trai­tor is. Not every sus­pi­cious per­son is a trai­tor though, so to nar­row it down Sho has the Deep Visi­on abi­li­ty. Limi­ted to three times per floor, you can use this to check mem­bers and see if they real­ly are the trai­tor. Unfor­tu­n­a­te­ly, the­re is no way to deter­mi­ne the trai­tor wit­hout this mecha­nic. If trai­tors acted sus­pi­cious­ly, or the­re was some other way of dis­co­vering them, this mecha­nic could have been far more inte­res­ting.

Fur­ther adding to our frus­tra­ti­ons with the sto­ry is the fact that you can only get the ‘true’ ending after bea­ting the game a mini­mum of two times. The regu­lar ending feels incredi­b­ly rus­hed, offe­ring litt­le in the way of pay­off for tho­se who actual­ly mana­ge to finish the game. Sin­ce the cast of cha­rac­ters and sto­ry are both fair­ly unin­te­res­ting, we can’t see many play­ers actual­ly making their way back though the game again.

Moving on to the batt­les them­sel­ves, this is whe­re Lost Dimen­si­on fails the har­dest. Sho heads into batt­le with five other mem­bers, each having their own uni­que move­sets. Each cha­rac­ter can move and attack once per turn, while also being able to assist other mem­bers’ attacks if near­by. Com­bat is fair­ly by-the-num­bers, offe­ring litt­le in the way of inte­res­ting mecha­nics. The sani­ty meter is some­thing uni­que to Lost Dimen­si­on, deple­ting as cha­rac­ters use their gifts or are atta­cked. Sani­ty hit­ting 0% cau­ses the cha­rac­ter to attack at ran­dom, fri­end or foe. All this sys­tem real­ly does is limit the amount of abi­li­ties you can use in a batt­le, sin­ce most requi­re a decent chunk of sani­ty.

Batt­les are enjoy­a­ble enough at first, even if they are a litt­le simp­le. Howe­ver, Lost Dimen­si­on suf­fers from a noti­ce­ab­le lack of varie­ty. Enemies and envi­ron­ments are reu­sed con­stant­ly, and most maps are incredi­b­ly small. Adding to this are the incredi­b­ly slow ene­my move­ment and attack ani­ma­ti­ons that you’re forced to wait through. An opti­on to speed up ene­my turns feels like a stran­ge fea­ture to lea­ve out, espe­ci­al­ly with how long it can take for some enemies to sim­ply move for­ward.

We did men­ti­on that each mem­ber on your team has a uni­que move­set, but the way you unlock skills is some­what fla­wed. Every other level up, or after bea­ting cer­tain mis­si­ons, cha­rac­ters will gain gift points that are used on their respec­tive skill trees. The skill trees look intimi­da­ting at first, until you rea­li­se that most of the abi­li­ties on them are not worth taking. The meag­re amount of gift points that you get during your first play­th­rough fur­ther dis­cou­ra­ges try­ing out dif­fe­rent abi­li­ties and ins­tead just going for the most opti­mal ones.

Visual­ly Lost Dimen­si­on is poor, even taking into account its origins as a PS3/Vita game. Cha­rac­ter models lack detail while also having stran­ge faces that rare­ly resem­ble the 2D spri­tes during dia­lo­gue. The­se spri­tes are the best loo­king part of the game, but still don’t look qui­te right due to their ani­ma­ti­ons. Enemies and maps are decent, but again suf­fer from a lack of detail or varie­ty.

After play­ing though Lost Dimen­si­on for around 10 hours, it’s clear that por­ting it to PC was not an easy pro­cess. The game often has trou­ble reaching 60 FPS when moving cha­rac­ters, or even just moving bet­ween menus. Frame­ra­te issu­es are annoy­ing, espe­ci­al­ly con­si­de­ring the game’s visu­als – Lost Dimen­si­on doesn’t even use anti-alia­sing or any deman­ding post-pro­ces­sing effec­ts. This is on top of various bugs inclu­ding disap­pearing music and Sho’s spri­te after batt­les.

The port is also lacking in pret­ty much any gra­phi­cal cus­to­mi­sa­ti­on opti­ons that are usual­ly seen in PC games, asi­de from reso­lu­ti­on and win­dow pre­fe­ren­ces. Befo­re play­ing the PC ver­si­on of Lost Dimen­si­on it would be easy to assu­me that even low end sys­tems could run it well, but the frame­ra­te issu­es make us think other­wi­se. Key­board con­trols can be cus­to­mi­sed, a wel­co­me addi­ti­on thanks to the cum­ber­so­me default set­up. A con­trol­ler is still the best way to play eit­her way, sin­ce moving the came­ra or going through menus is less than opti­mal with key­board and mou­se.

Conclusion

Lost Dimen­si­on was a big disap­point­ment for us. The uni­que trai­tor mecha­nic see­med like it could lead the game’s sto­ry in an inte­res­ting direc­tion. Howe­ver the weak cha­rac­ters, over­all sto­ry and repe­ti­ti­ve batt­les ruin any chan­ces Lost Dimen­si­on had of stan­ding out from other RPGs.

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