Lost Dimension (PS3) Review + Tips
Lost Dimension PS3 Review trophy guide
The premise of the game is one day a giant, white Pillar suddenly appears and begins laying waste to the Earth's cities, 2 billion are already dead. In a lull of the destruction, a Pale, yellow-eyed man appeares calling himself The End. He declared he had hacked into all the nation's nuclear arsenal and would launch the bombs at every major city in 13 days. He said the only way to stop him is for them to make it to the top of his tower and kill him.
Enter S.E.A.L.E.D., the name of a hastily formed combat unit of 11 psychics from around the world. Only these "gifted" were able to make it past the Pillar's defenses. Once inside The End welcomes them and declares that among the group are traitors. He also mentions that he has used the power of the Pillar to tamper with their memories, they won't remember certain facts about themselves nor if they are a traitor. Their memories slowly come back over the course of the game.
The core gameplay is fighting turn-based battles, upgrading skills/equipment, and using the leader's precognitive abilities to sniff out and eliminate the turncoats as you climb the tower.
Lost Dimension is a turn-based, strategy RPG. At the mission select screen you pick 5 party members from your available roster of up to 10 allies and in what order they act. The party leader Sho must always be present as he is the commander of SEALED. Each party member has their own unique abilities skills. Some examples are: The Singer Yoko has telepathy and thus has a variety of skills to buff allies and debuff the enemy stats. The soldier Nagi can levitate to fly over terrain that others would have to walk around. The medic can heal allies as well as cause a variety of status effects on enemies like poison or stun. Most characters have some useful skills, but a few I was quite happy when it turned out they were traitors.
Though it is a turn-based RPG, the camera is placed behind the shoulder of the active unit like a 3rd person shooter. Once the battle starts your side always goes first and every character on your team gets a turn before the enemy team gets to attack. Each turn gives you a limited range of movement within a circle (the size of the circle is determined by the MOV stat) and then you can perform one action:
*ATTACK strikes the enemy with the equipped weapon with damage determined by your STR stat.
*GIFT lets you use one of your psychic abilities and if it is an attack skill, its damage will be determined by the skills Power rating and your PSY stat. Using gifts depletes Gift Points (GP) and Sanity.
The accuracy of either attacks or gifts is determined by your distance to the target and your DEX stat. Every attack also has the chance to critical for extra damage based on the CRI stat.
*ITEM lets you use one consumable item which can have a variety of effects such as restoring HP, GP, temporary stat buff, or a debuff on the enemy.
*DEFER allows you to skip that character's turn (at the cost of 10 sanity) and give it to someone who has taken a turn already. This is useful if you can't quite get in attack range or want the doctor to use heal again, etc.
*WAIT If your character cannot make any meaningful action and is not in close enough range to DEFER, you can select wait which skips that character's turn and replenishes 5 sanity.
Whenever a character attacks with ATTACK or a GIFT that targets a single enemy, any allies within attack range will assist by doing an ATTACK. This is also true for the enemy, if 4 enemies surround one of your characters, every time one attacks the other 3 will assist. If the character is within the enemy's attack range when they attack, the enemy will counter-attack with an ATTACK. Attacking from the rear of the enemy increases accuracy, damage, and decreases the accuracy of counter-attacks. There are also some skills which target an area of the battlefield instead of an individual enemy. These attacks do not cause enemy counter attacks, do not allow for ally assists, but can also hit your allies.
Once all 6 of your party have had a turn, each member of the enemy squad will get a turn.
VIT is like defense and will dull the damage from enemy attacks.
AGI increases the likelihood of dodging the enemy's attack so that you take no damage
Melee/Gunfire resistance decreases damage from melee/gunfire ATTACKs.
Special Resistance decreases damage from Psychic attacks.
Sanity is 100 for every character (unless you use equipment to boost max Sanity) and is depleted when you take damage, use GIFTs, or DEFER
After the victory condition is met (usually when all enemies are killed) the battle ends. Victory gives you energy (cash), experience points, and a few consumable items as rewards.
If Sanity reaches zero then the character will go berserk for a few turns, this refills their HP, GP, and Sanity to max, and boosts the damage they deal and receive by about 2.5X. Unfortunately you lose the ability to control them and they will be unable to distinguish friend from foe. When berserk allies are present on the battlefield it strikes fear into your team which increases the GP and Sanity cost to use Gifts.
There are quite a few useless or redundant Gifts, but otherwise the battle system is quite enjoyable as you figure out the various quirks to maximize damage output while limiting liability. By the end of the first playthrough you will likely have it mostly mastered. A little bit of mid-game energy and XP grinding from replaying missions can make the last few floors very easy, particularly in NG+ so if you want a challenge avoid replaying stages as long as possible.
Through the character skill tree and equipment options there is quite a bit of room to customize each fighter, though there are many aspects that you cannot change. Each will have a different stat allotment which increases automatically each time you level up. Each character will also have different default starting resistances that you cannot permanently change either. Characters get a skill point at every other level up.
Each character uses one weapon type from among 7 or 8 different weapon types. Weapons vary from handguns which have longer range, machine guns which have higher damage, but lower range, knives which do high damage versus fleshy enemies but low damage versus mechs, samurai swords, etc. In addition to the weapon, you can equip one gadget (which is like armor) that either boosts VIT (defense) by a lot or increases one of the 3 resistance stats and provides less VIT. You can also choose 2 Apps which can boost a variety of different stats like STR, HP, MOV, CRIT, etc. Every time you reach a new floor new equipment and items are available for purchase in the Generator (shop).
Each character has their own skill tree which is divided into 3 different categories (Called Fate Materia). You can tell which of the 3 Fate Materia categories it is based on its color. Each of the 3 categories deals with a different style or type of combat. For instance on Himeno, one category are fire skills which have greater raw damage and increase in damage the more you use them per battle and another branch are ice skills which do a little less damage but can cause status effects like stun or lower STR.
Once you have put at least one point in every skill in one category, it unlocks a special skill or passive ability which is listed in the upper right corner of the skill tree. Some of these skills are awesome and are worth unlocking the entire branch as soon as possible to use, such as Yoko's brainhacker skill which boosts every single stat of all 6 teammates for the entire battle.
When characters are erased at the end of each floor they drop Fate Materia, up to 3 each. Each Materia corresponds with one of the 3 skill tree branch categories. Equipping that Fate Materia on another character (characters can equip up to 2) allows them to use any of the Gifts that were unlocked in that category before the teammate was erased.
Peppered throughout the skill trees are Materia Skills. these are Gifts that even once unlocked they cannot be cast without a little help. Each Materia skill is associated with a Fate Materia that another character possesses. Once that character is erased, you can equip that Fate Materia to permanently have access to that Materia Skill in battle. The other way to use a Materia Skill is when another player DEFERs to you, all 3 of their Fate Materia (and any of their equipped Materia) will be partially transferred to you. You cannot use their abilities, but any Materia Skills you have which are associated with their Fate Materia will unlock for that turn.
TIE THAT BINDS
Another major aspect of Lost Dimension is the camaraderie system. After each battle you will have the opportunity to talk to the surviving members of your party. The conversations vary from comments about their current predicament to information about their back story. The first two people you talk to after each battle get a big boost in camaraderie, the others gain none. The higher your camaraderie with another party member, the more of their back story will be revealed to you. Actions in battle also influence camaraderie, when you instruct one character to heal another, or when you or other members of your party perform an assist attack, the bonds of camaraderie strengthen between those party members.
When you reach the highest level of camaraderie with another character, this unlocks a character specific quest later in the game. This mission once completed offers an extra skill point for everyone in the mission's party and maxes out camaraderie with that character (earning a trophy). Your camaraderie level with each character as well as the camaraderie relationships for all the other characters can be found on the vision menu. This plays a part in the Judgment system.
Like the Zero Escape and Danganronpa series, there are traitors among your party, though unlike those games, traitors are randomly selected and thus different in every playthrough. Since The End is clouding your party's memories, in the beginning your teammate will not even know if they are a traitor. As a result 3 characters per floor will doubt themselves and believe they could possibly be a traitor, but not all of them will be though. Also since the traitors are almost like sleeper agents, they will perform normally in battle and will not have different dialogue when conversing with them.
To determine who is a traitor on each floor, one must do a bit of problem solving and process of elimination. Each time you take a group of 5 into battle you will have a vision. Sho will do a shallow mind scan and will be able to read the thoughts of allies, but those with doubts about their allegiances will be blocked. You can listen and if you hear a characters voice then they should be an ally. Since the voices come very fast, there is also a handy journal with a Vision History. It tells you who was in the party and the number of people whose thoughts were blocked (0-3). By mixing different combinations of characters in the battles on the floor, you can begin to whittle down the suspects. For instance, if 3 people blocked your scan in a particular battle, then all the possible traitors are in that group and anyone not in that group must be an ally.
To aid you in whittling down suspects you are able to make them 4 different colors, the default starting color, dark blue for safe, yellow for possible traitor suspect, and red for traitor suspect. Once you have figured out who your 3 traitor suspects are, you can use the Deep Vision skill on one of them which starts a small mini-game in which you follow the character's thoughts to determine their true intentions. If they are a traitor then their silhouette will be black at the end of the mini-game and their character will be marked with "suspect" on the vision history. Each time Sho does a Deep Scan it depletes one vision point, you only get 3 per floor so you can't just scan every character at the beginning of every floor.
Sho does not ultimately get to pick who to eliminate even though he is the most qualified to root out the traitor. All surviving party members will vote for who they think the traitor is and that character will be eliminated. The NPCs use several different criteria to determine who to vote for to eliminate. One is camaraderie, the lower the camaraderie they have with another character, the more likely they are to vote for them. Another criteria is combat prowess. For every positive action like attacking, assisting, healing, buffing, etc. each character receives points in battle. For hindering the team (attacking teammates, going berserk, getting KO'd, etc.) they will lose points. Those top scorers on each floor are rewarded with 2 votes in Judgment, those near the bottom are believed to be intentionally not pulling their weight and thus will be suspected of being traitors.
There is one other criteria that influences NPCs and that is Sho's opinion. At the conclusion of each battle, 1 or 2 characters will come up to Sho and ask him either for his opinion on who the traitor is or put forth their suspect and ask whether he agrees with them. The more camaraderie you have with the character who asks your opinion, the more likely they are to value that opinion. If Sho has very low camaraderie with the another character, they may even do the opposite of your suggestion.
The game uses a few different animation styles through the course of the game. The opening cinematic is 2D, hand drawn animation and out of battle the characters also appear as 2D, lightly animated drawings. I've always liked the use of 2D animation for cutscenes in video games as they feel more expressive. In battle the characters are depicted as 3D models which look very similar to their 2D counter-parts. All of the ATTACks and GIFTs are fully animated which gives the combat a nice bit of flair, though this apparently causes 1 to 2 second loading screens on the Vita. On the PS3 their is about a half a second of loading on about a 1/4th of the attacks.
The design of the environments are pretty simple. Each floor of the Pillar has a certain theme and the environment changes to match it. For instance, the first floor is that of a destroyed city so there are bombed out and crumbling buildings all around on the various maps whereas the next one is set in the woods. The type of environment doesn't really have any effect on the battle, I imagine it is just so the player does not get tired of the same backgrounds. The enemy design is also fairly simple as you face various robots and creatures. While the enemy designs aren't that remarkable, they make good use of different silhouettes and colors schemes so it is easy to tell them apart. Once you have faced an enemy once and learn their capabilities they are easily spotted the next time you encounter them.
The soundtrack is a bit of a mixed bag, some of the tunes are quite good and build tension in battle, but most are fairly unremarkable, but not to the point that they become annoying. Voice acting is in English and ranges from good to excellent (with one exception). The characters all have fairly distinct, differing personalities and the voice actors do a very good job of conveying it through their manner of speech. Well, except for the actor playing George, his attempt to do an exaggerated Captain Qwark-esque hero voice is fairly irritating.
The game is also not fully voiced. The beginning of the game and other important sections like the final dialogue for each character's quest and the Judgment chamber are fully voiced, but the rest begin each line of dialogue with a one word line reading (such as hey!, umm.., what?, etc.) to help convey the emotional tone of that line of dialogue without the expense of fully recording those lines. It works most of the time but occasionally the small bit of dialogue doesn't really match.
The story is pretty good. Many of the characters have fascinating and tragic back stories which encouraged me to talk with them after every mission. The actual narrative suffers a little bit due to The End being angry at the main character Sho for doing what he did, but because he has tampered with SEALED's memories Sho can't remember any of it. You will also be left scratching your head a bit as the normal ending only has partial explanation for what is going on. You have to max out camaraderie with every party member at least one time across multiple playthroughs in order to get the complete picture via the True ending. Another bit of world building are the text documents you find during some of the story missions. These range from recruitment reports about every member of SEALED to the history of various important items like the Pillar and Fate Materia. One thing which was not clear is when I should be reading the documents as some of the time they seemed to spoil revelations which came later in the story. So I think you might be better off waiting until at least after seeing the normal ending before you read any of them.
The hook of traitors among the group is compelling, but it is disappointing that it doesn't have more of an affect on the meat of the narrative. Traitors for that floor don't behave any different in combat (though this may be because they don't actually turn against you until the final battle) and all of their dialogue is the same whether or not they are a traitor. I suppose this is a limitation of having the traitors be randomized in every playthrough. Though I was quite happy that there is a satisfactory reason to explain why some would turn traitor.
Compelling if somewhat muddled story combined with a straightforward, enjoyable battle system with hidden bits of nuance to increase combat efficiency.
Much of it was free for the first two weeks of the game's release so hopefully those who were eventually interested in playing Lost Dimension "purchased" it from the PSN store. If not you can use this overview to determine what if any you wish to purchase:
1.)Costumes - Completely cosmetic, shows up when you are waiting around in the lobby (where you do upgrades, buy stuff, and talk to allies) or in battle. During the cutscenes which mainly have 2D animation, they are wearing their normal uniforms.
2.)Non-story DLC levels (Emissary of the Netherworlds, Price of Blood, Runaway Cause and Effect) - 5 battles each, give only a token amount of money and XP. If you S rank a battle (do in as few a turns as possible) it unlocks powerful, equipable Apps. Apps are like stat buffing rings, you can equip 2 per character. The purchasable apps only offer 1 stat bump per App, but these will bump multiple stats. Since you only get a reward for S ranks, only bother playing them once you are comfortable that you can S rank it.
3.)Item Packs - One HP potion, one MP potion, one revive potion, one vision point (lets you determine if a player is an ally or a traitor)
4.)Story DLC levels (Beginning of the End) - 5 battles which tells some of the antagonist's backstory. In addition to multi-stat App rewards for S ranking them, they offer a decent amount of money and a LOT of XP. they appear in its own tab on the right side of the battle select menu. From a story spoiler point, I wouldn't play any of it until you reach the 5th and final floor.
*Leveling up a skill can do a variety of things including increasing its damage, increasing the GP cost, increasing the range, and/or decreasing the sanity cost. If you click a skill there is a confirmation screen which will also show what stats on the skill will change. On some skills the small increase in damage is not worth the much higher boost to the GP cost, at least early in the game.
*If there are no allies nearby to assist you and you are within the enemy's attack range, it might be preferable to do an area attack (such as the SMG's sweep attack) as attacks or gifts which CAN hit multiple enemies don't cause enemy counter-attacks, even if they DO only hit one enemy.
*The only criteria that matters for mission ranking is the number of turns you take, the fewer the better. Sho's Daydream ability is quite helpful to improve your rank as it causes the enemy team to lose its turn and your team gets to go instead, all while remaining on the same turn number. So if Sho casts Daydream in turn #1 after all of your party attacks, everyone gets to attack a second time and it is still turn #1. There is also a party member which can copy any other party member's ability, allowing you to cast Daydream more than one time per battle without a character going berserk.
*Never tell a character you suspect them to be the traitor, it resets their camaraderie to base, they will no longer offer assists when Sho attacks, and they may vote for Sho to be eliminated at Judgment.
*Rewards for S ranking the non-story DLC missions are fairly powerful apps with multiple stat buffs, but the XP and cash rewards are terrible. Only bother playing them if you are confident you can S rank it based on its difficulty rating.
*In NG+ all of your items, equipment, and all but about 10% of your cash will be stripped from you. The only things that will carry over intact is credit for maxing camaraderie with any of the characters (though they still reset to base at the start of NG+) and skill points based on leveling. Any skill points you got as rewards for missions will be taken away from you. Since skill points come every other level, in NG+ all characters will start off with skill points to spend equal to half of Sho's level at the end of the previous game cycle. There is also no increase in difficulty in NG+ (other than the new missions exclusive to NG+)
*Some rooms with text documents (called tips files) in the missions are behind locked doors which can only be opened in NG+ and some side missions are only available in NG+ so the collectibles trophy, the all missions S ranked trophy, and the complete all quests trophy cannot be finished until NG+. Your best rank is saved and displayed across all playthroughs so you only have to S rank each mission one time. You also don't have to recollect any tip files you found in previous playthroughs.
*For the Multi-Kill trophy (kill 5 enemies with one attack) a good mission to do it on is "Unknown Strata" on the first floor as it has 6 enemies guarding a switch. Come back later with a powered up character and use a large area attack gift (like Marco's Stay Away!) to hit and kill at least 5 of the 6 enemies.
*For the Power Overwhelming trophy (kill an enemy while berserk) simply use gifts until a character is low on sanity and then move them close to a weak enemy while moving the rest of the party as far away as possible. Use a Gift which lowers their sanity to below zero and they will go berserk and then attack whatever is closest to them.
*You will probably get the Sextet Ecstasy trophy (an attack with 5 assists) naturally through the playthrough. Simply move all 6 of your party members within attack range of an enemy that has a lot of HP and then do a normal ATTACK. All 5 of your allies will follow up with an assist. As long as the enemy survives until the 5th assist, the trophy will pop.
*If you are going for the plat in 2 playthroughs then you need to max camaraderie (get their trophy) with every character at least once across the 2 playthroughs AND correctly identify and eliminate all traitors in the NG+ playthrough as both are a condition of the True Victor trophy. That means anyone who was eliminated on floors 1-3 in your NG must not also be a traitor on floors 1-3 in NG+ as you can't max a character's camaraderie until floor 4. Otherwise you will have to go on to NG++. Don't panic when it doesn't pop when the credits start, it won't pop until after the "save your complete file" prompt comes up.
*Traitors are selected when you first enter the floor so if there is a character you can't bear to part with or to avoid having to replay the game a 3rd time if the same character is an early traitor in both playthroughs, back-up your save to a flash drive or the cloud before entering the Judgment Chamber on the previous floor. If on the next floor a character which you still need to max is the traitor, you can revert to the archived save and try again. If it happens on the first floor you are going to have to replay the ending of your previous playthrough and create a new NG+ save file.