Over the last several weeks we’ve been talking about various aspects of our upcoming port to Steam, Lost Dimension. We've outlined detailed breakdowns of each playable character and how the game’s intriguing Deep Vision system works, in order to help you find the traitors in your midst on each floor of the tower.
It occurred to me earlier this week, however, that we hadn’t yet discussed the game’s battle system in any depth, so that’s going to be the subject of today’s blog post. As an SRPG, Lost Dimension’s combat is turn-based with emphasis on planning, positioning and cooperation between team members.
So, without further ado, here’s a breakdown of the battle system in Lost Dimension – one that I have masses of experience with and still get a kick out of, even after finishing the game more than 20 times. :)
Movement: Before you begin a level in Lost Dimension you’re able to place your six combatants in pre-determined deployment points on the map. Often, they’ll be divided into teams separated by level geography and even cut off and alone, depending on the scenario of the level.
Here you can see how your lateral movement is restricted the further you are from your starting point.
Movement during levels is free-form within a movement circle centred on your location at the start of the turn, much like some other SRPGs from the last decade or so. The further you move from your point of origin the narrower an arc you’re allowed to move within. Being mindful of the MOV stat of your characters, their attack range and the range of their individual Gifts, will help you prioritise who to place where, before starting a level.
Attacking: During combat all playable characters have a standard attack that’s either close range for characters armed with knuckle dusters, knives and swords, or longer range for those armed with pistols, shotguns and machineguns, etc. Almost all these attacks focus on single enemies, apart from those using a machinegun, which provides the option of attacking inside a small arc, potentially hitting any enemies within it.
One of the few multi-target 'Sweep' attacks in action. Only two characters can do this.
Attacks have a small change to do critical damage, depending on your character’s stats and any Crit-boosting Apps you have equipped. You can also significantly boost your damage by attacking enemies from behind, but be mindful that this also applies when enemies are attacking your characters. I’m always careful to at least leave my guys ‘side-on’ to enemies, minimising potential damage at the end of my turn. :)
Using Gifts: As well as regular attacks, all of your characters have powerful Gifts they can use during combat. These gifts cost GP. Nope, not gold. Here, GP stands for Gift Points, to use and take away some of a character’s Sanity (or SAN) when they’re cast. Now’s a good time to mention that SAN is also lost when you’re attacked by enemies – even if the attack misses – or if you Defer your turn to an ally.
Gifts like Toya's Tempest can do mega damage to multiple oppenents, especially when positioned as a rear attack. No assists for this though, as it's an area attack...
Your Gifts are divided into four categories: Passive, Attack, Recovery and Support. Passive Gifts do not need to be cast, cost no GP or SAN and will be applied automatically (e.g. a higher chance of scoring critical hits). Attack Gifts are those that can be used to attack individual enemies or groups of enemies and will either centre around a particular enemy, the player character casting them, or will be able to be moved around the map, provided they stay within range of the caster. Some Attack gifts will also inflict status abnormalities on enemies, e.g. Sleep, Poison, Charm or Bind. Recovery gifts are used to heal your team members, or to restore their GP or SAN meters. Finally, Support Gifts are used to buff your characters or to de-buff your enemies, which can have extremely beneficial effects, especially against high-ranking enemies (I’m looking at you, Peragrande!)
Assists: If you have managed your team well they’ll have a good level or rapport with one another. When team members have a good relationship they’ll assist one another when making single-enemy attacks. If an ally is within attacking range of an enemy and you perform an attack on it, your ally will automatically provide an assist attack as well, even if they’ve already had their turn, or are yet to have it.
Here's an assist from Mana after another character attacked. Mana had already had her turn! Assists are great!! :)
This is important, because it means that very often you can press enemies en-masse and do greater damage with a single-enemy attack or Gift, than you might via an area attack. This is particularly worth considering when taking on the larger, harder-hitting enemies.
Deferring Turns (Materia): On the subject of assisting your teammates, you can also defer to allies: something that’s often even more useful during your turn. Move near to an ally who’s already taken their move and select ‘Defer’ and you’ll end your own turn immediately but let your teammate take their turn all over again. In this way, you can move individuals a lot further than they’d ever be able to go on their own and make good use of your favourite Gifts multiple times per turn, provided you keep a close eye on your ally’s GP and SAN stats – you don’t want them going berserk near any of their pals!
Here, George has no range to attack, so he's Deferring to Toya, who gets a chance to do further damage this turn.
Deferring is one of my favourite things about Lost Dimension, especially as it can be exploited using certain Gifts – like Sho’s awesome ‘Daydream’ – to lay the smackdown on your enemies before they’ve even had the chance to take a turn. Skilful use can see you take on levels you’d normally be crushed in, helping you level up your team even more quickly. :)
Using Items: Lost Dimension features a host of items in the finest tradition of SRPGs – you can boost health and your GP and SAN stats, restore status abnormalities and – perhaps my favourite – return berserk teammates to normality before they take on the rest of your squad! (I’m forever forgetting to track sanity, even hundreds of hours in!)
Agito, with the right Gift levelling, can use items on characters who are FAR away. Dead useful that...
You can also buy life-restoring stuff, grenades that’ll inflict status effects on your enemies and other nasty stuff. Mwahahahaha!
So, as you can see there’s a lot of interesting mechanics and tactical layers to consider in ever round of combat in Lost Dimension. I am genuinely excited to be bringing the game to Steam as it’s one of my favourite JRPGs that we’ve had the privilege to work on. Soon you’ll be able to try it for yourself as we edge ever-closer to release.
Until then, keep an eye on all-things Ghostlight and happy gaming. :)
(Blog written by Ghostlight Ltd.)
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