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Chasing Shadows

Som Pourfarzaneh Posted:
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Some games rely on their stories and character development to grab your attention, using plot devices and memorable personalities to keep you coming back for more.  Others depend upon their gameplay systems to keep you engaged, either through their unique implementation or by sheer force of addictiveness.

Lost Dimension is of the latter variety.  Lancarse and Atlus Games’ new single-player RPG doesn’t do anything special in the narrative department, but has some interesting takes on combat and party interaction that make it worth playing.

If you’re new to Lost Dimension, check out my initial preview of it here.  The game is a traditional RPG in many respects, offering a fairly well-realized science fiction setting with turn-based combat and character progression, gear management, and light crafting.  It also gives a fresh perspective on NPC interaction, requiring you to get to know your party members and promote their collaboration while being wary of their potentially nefarious intentions.

Lost Dimension’s story is fairly straightforward, and cliché to an extent which borders on the self-aware.  An evil megalomaniac named The End has promised to destroy the world, creating a gigantic tower called the Pillar that your team, SEALED, has to traverse to try to overthrow him.  Each of your party members has a unique personality and skill set that you’ll have to use to your advantage in and out of combat, and Lost Dimension doles out its story bits through in-game conversations and anime-style cutscenes.

Combat is familiar in its turn-based simplicity, but the way that Lost Dimension treats movement and special abilities keeps it fresh.  Rather than relying on a grid for traversal, your characters have arcs within which they can move, and an arsenal of psychic skills at their disposal.  The game has a deep character progression tree system, and you’ll be using your party members’ telekinetic, element-based, ranged, and melee-oriented abilities frequently against tactically-minded AI.

To be fair, while your team members’ personalities are diverse and you’ll likely find yourself becoming attached to one or more of them, the game doesn’t do anything all that interesting in terms of character development.  The story continues in its end-of-world scenario, and you’re encouraged to do team assist attacks in combat and chat with your party members after battle to improve your relationship levels, but all of it seems developed singularly to serve Lost Dimension’s true contributions to the genre: its Vision and Justice systems.

For a primer on Lost Dimension’s unique systems, you can check out my overview here, but suffice it to say that the game’s story and gameplay operate on the premise that at each level of the Pillar, one of the members of SEALED will attempt to betray you (and traitors are selected at random, so GameFaqs won’t help you much here).  It’s an interesting take on traditional party relationship systems, requiring you to utilize your main character’s psychic skills and your own deductive reasoning to determine who the traitors are, and then ensure you have the appropriate sway with the rest of the team to guarantee that they’ll vote with you to expel the same person.

It’s actually a fascinating metasystem, which, in coordination with the engaging combat, makes Lost Dimension well-worth playing.  The game’s story and other systems are very much in service of this core dynamic of forging relationships and weeding out traitors, which is a bit disappointing, as there is the potential for an interesting narrative and world here.  Still, it’s a fun single-player RPG experience, and a fair investment for PS3/Vita owners.

GAMEPLAY - 8  Lost Dimension’s engaging combat and interesting Vision and Justice systems will keep you coming back for more.  There are plenty of skill trees for your party’s character progression and a lot of dialogue, but most of it feels in service to the Vision and Justice systems, which can feel artificial.

VISUALS & SOUND - 8  Lost Dimension looks like a pretty game from a previous generation.  It has some nice environments, excellent character art, and more than serviceable character models and animations.  The music is memorable and there’s a lot of voice acting, but some of it can sound contrived because of stilted translations from the original Japanese.

POLISH - 7  I encountered a few camera issues in combat, and English translations from the Japanese version can be a little awkward.  There are also some strangely placed load times in between character abilities, which can be jarring.

LONGEVITY - 9  Average playthroughs are clocked in at about 30 hours, with the opportunity for new game plus, and free DLC if you purchase the game within two weeks of launch.

VALUE - 9  At $39.99, Lost Dimension’s box price is hard to beat.  It would be nice if the game were available for PS3/Vita cross-buy, but the value is still excellent.

8.2 Great
  • Great combat
  • Randomzied traitors
  • Unique vision & justice systems
  • Character development mostly serves vision & justice
  • Some awkward load times & dialog translations
  • Unimaginative story


Som Pourfarzaneh

Som has been hanging out with the MMORPG.com crew since 2011, and is an Associate Director & Lecturer in Media, Anthropology, and Religious Studies. He’s a former Community Manager for Neverwinter, the free-to-play Dungeons & Dragons MMORPG from Cryptic Studios and Perfect World Entertainment, and is unreasonably good at Maze Craze for the Atari 2600. You can exchange puns and chat (European) football with him on Twitter @sominator.