Lost Dimension looks to mix things up a little bit in the strategy RPG field. I got to play enough of the game to get me a general idea of what it's like, but not quite enough to see the ramifications of what I'd done, and how my choices might affect the game...
Let me start at the beginning. In Lost Dimensions, you play as Sho, a man who is part of a team known as S.E.A.L.E.D., a team of gifted soldiers who must ascend a tower to defeat a madman known as The End. The fail in this missions means the destruction of the world, or so he says (though at this point billions of people have already been killed at his hands). Now, when I say 'gifted', I mean Gifted, with a capital G. Each member of the team has their own psychic powers, allowing them to levitate, control magnetic fields, punch like a freight train, or control fire and ice with their minds. And trust me, these characters are just as varied as the abilities they possess.
In battle, these abilities translate to some serious firepower. However, it also comes at a cost. As you run around the battlefield with each team member in this turn-based game, you can fire off powerful Gifts every turn if you want...but doing so drains your sanity. Drain it enough, and suddenly your teammate becomes berzerk, raising their power, weakening their defenses, and worst of all, eliminating your ability to control them. Suddenly they're the most dangerous force on the field, often to your own team mates. So, balancing some of the weaker attacks with powerhouse moves, to keep your sanity from plummeting too fast, is crucial to the gameplay.
In between missions, you're offered the chance to level up your gifts, learn new abilities, buy items (technically, synthesize them) and talk to your team members. Doing so raises your relationship with your team, which is crucial when it comes to voting.
See, your team isn't so much a unified team as it is a band of strangers... and among them are traitors. And every floor, one more surfaces for you to root out. Your team must vote for who they want to see 'erased', as part of The End's twisted game, in order to proceed through the tower...and luckily, Sho, your character, has just the ability for this.
Utilizing his Vision ability, Sho can hear the thoughts of those he goes on missions with, which allows you to hear if someone in your team is plotting against you. However, every floor can have up to three potential traitors, and you never know which person on your team has traitorous thoughts, just that one (or more) does. So, you have to use logic and elimination to ferret out the potential traitors, then another ability called Deep Vision to see which of them truly does want to end the team. And then you vote...and you hope that you can sway the rest of your team to vote your way. Sho can see the future, and he can see who the team will vote for, but if you can't convince them through dialogue options between missions to vote for the true traitor, then no amount of premonition will stop an innocent team member from being erased.
Oh, and don't expect to read a walkthrough for these options - every game has randomized traitors. Unfortunately, this preview can't go into exactly what that means for the overall story but, supposedly, the plot is supposed to change based on the traitor, who you select, and how well you do. How well that gets implemented is yet to be seen.
It's been a while since I've played a strategy RPG that's intrigued me quite like Lost Dimension, and I'm quite interested in seeing how it plays out. The mysterious character of The End and his purposes, the concept of traitors and changing storylines, and a battle system that has you juggling character placement, counterattacks, and sanity all at once: the game certainly has some potential in its design, though whether or not the momentum of the plot and mechanics can carry through the entire game has yet to be seen. Lost Dimension comes out on July 28th for the Playstation 3 and Playstation Vita.