So, I finished “Lost Dimension” once, and have restarted. This is because the game really, really is built to be finished more than once, because you only get the True Ending if you finish it having maxed out relationships with all of the characters, and you have to erase two, maybe three of them before you’d be able to do that, so that leaves three characters to do the second time around. After finishing the game once, the game itself points out that you need to do that to understand everything, and so it encourages you to play it more than once. However, this does make the first playthrough a bit disappointing, as the ending is more confusing than scary.
The biggest annoyance I have with the game is that it’s often a bit unfair. As far as I can tell, at least on the Vita, you only get one save slot, and if you restart the game it uses your clear data as the save slot. This is bad enough, but it autosaves a lot, and only warns you that it’s going to do that when you go to the Judgement Room, although it does that everywhere else, too. For example, I just accidentally selected Himeno for Deep Dive when I wanted Agito, reset and noticed that on loading my save it started me from the start of my Deep Dive into her mind. I suppose they do that to stop save scumming, but it’s really annoying as it forces you to be very, very careful. You can pretty much screw up your entire game by accident and be stuck because of this. Also, there’s a section where you have more than the usual number of traitors. The game doesn’t warn you about this at all, so if you don’t know it’s coming you don’t know what you need to do to avoid it, and so might end up killing off an innocent. That being said, the sequence with a traitor at the end is interesting. Still, I’d like to be able to avoid that.
But putting that aside, the game is interesting. The combat is fast-paced yet has some strategic elements to it, including how you use your characters and which enemies you target first. You have to manage HP, GP (Gift Points) and Sanity, so you can’t just spam your powers (although I did that a lot with Himeno and used items to heal her up). Being able to give other characters the abilities of characters you’ve erased leads to some interesting combinations, which I underused, other than giving Himeno the Levitation ability which let her move very quickly which, combined with her fire abilities, made her a very deadly character. I was very glad that she didn’t turn traitor on me in the first game.
The characters have interesting backgrounds, but you don’t get to interact with them in enough depth. You have conversations with them after missions, and doing so gets them to their highest level of affection with you, and then you run a special mission with them — the only missions that you can’t run more than once — which reveals something about them. But the general conversations are thin and often boring, and at least after the first time through there’s nothing at the end to say how these relationships turn out in the future. So they could be more, but end up being pretty much just asides that are mildly interesting and can help you develop feelings about the characters. As an example, the first time through by the second time you had to erase someone I had started to really like Yoko and hate Zenji, and when the possible traitor came down to those two I was very disappointed that it was Yoko. As another example, hearing about Himeno’s story made me far more sympathetic to the rather harsh and bitter person that she was. But a lot more could and, in my opinion, should have been done with that.
The way you influence your team members to vote properly is interesting. You do it through telling them who the traitor is, and by using them or not using them in combat, as the team thinks that people who do more in combat are less likely to be the traitor, despite the fact that it is made clear many times that the traitor fights just as hard as everyone else does. This leads to how the game facilitates grinding without actually pushing grinding, as you rarely have to grind just to get levels, but instead have to grind to determine who the traitor is, to make sure that your team votes the right way, or even just to get S ratings on all of your missions. I only officially grinded once on my first run — on Easy, of course — and that was just to get money to get the best equipment, not to get levels (I got levels along with it as well, which made the final mission pretty easy). I very much appreciated that, as grinding is much more fun when you’re doing it for another reason than grinding.
Overall, this game is similar to the Personas in terms of story and associations with your team mates, but it’s lacking a lot when compared to those games in terms of overall impact and effect. I’d say that this game is a good start to a potentially promising game series, and if they make a sequel I’d certainly be interested in checking it out, but it isn’t really there yet. It’s a fun game, worth playing, but it’s easy to see where it can be improved in the future. If they can do it, they might have a legitimate competitor to the Persona games there.