As we eagerly await the arrival of Lost Dimension’s PC port, I thought it’d be fun to go over what – in my opinion – is the game’s stand-out feature: the Vision system.
As covered in some of our previous blog posts, Lost Dimension puts you in control of 11 young psychics that make up the S.E.A.L.E.D. team, tasked with taking down a mysterious terrorist mastermind known only as ‘The End’, who is holed up atop the mysterious ‘Pillar’, an alien, tower-like structure that only the S.E.A.L.E.D. team may enter. Once inside, the team’s memories are scrambled and it's revealed that one or more of them are traitors, secretly in league with The End.
After defeating the hateful, robotic enemies that prowl each floor of the Pillar in exciting strategic battles, the S.E.A.L.E.D. team gain access to that floor’s Judgment Room. Here your team members must each vote to Erase the team member they suspect to be the traitor. Whoever gets the most votes against them is instantly vaporised by the mysterious device in the centre of the Judgment room. Only by eliminating a team member will access be granted to the next floor and – eventually – to the final battle with The End himself!
Look at these guys. Butter wouldn't melt, right? Don't you believe it! :-\
But, hang on a minute, I'm getting ahead of myself! How do you figure out who the traitor is in the first place? And how can you be sure that your teammates will agree with Sho, your main protagonist, when it comes to voting your suspect out? This is where Sho’s unique psychic abilities come into play, via the rather brilliant Vision system.
Vision is tied intimately to Lost Dimension’s other systems, from combat to using the ‘Talk’ menu to manage Sho’s relationships with his teammates. It's important to master this system because, as previously mentioned, Lost Dimension's traitors are different in every play through and there are benefits to finding them all correctly, so listen up! ;)
The Vision system is comprised of 3 phases: Post-battle Vision, the Vision menu and Deep Vision. Let's look at each of these in order. :)
Once you enter the Pillar you’ll find yourself in the Lobby, where you can talk to your teammates, getting the chance to strengthen relationships with two of your buddies after each battle or side mission.
After the battle you'll hear your party's thoughts. The bad ones (like this!) appear in red.
The better your relationship with a teammate, the more likely they’ll be to take your advice when they're voting out a suspected traitor.
You may get 1-3 red thoughts in your post-battle vision. Get all 3 at once and the traitor's in that group!
Once you’ve spoken to your team, levelled up your characters’ Skills and managed your items and equipment, you'll be able to head into battle in one of Lost Dimension’s missions. Before each mission, you'll choose 5 colleagues to take into combat with you, from your overall team of 11. Here, again, the Vision system comes into play…
After your post-battle vision you'll be able to give advice on the possible traitor to other team members. Choose your words wisely!
After each mission, Sho’s powers will kick in and he'll sense the inner thoughts of the 5 characters he took into battle. Although there’s only one traitor, post-battle visions aren't precise enough to nail down a single suspect. Instead, Sho will sense up to 3 traitorous thoughts after each battle. If he senses all 3 of these after a single mission then it’s guaranteed that the traitor was one of the characters in that party. If he hears no traitorous thoughts, then it’s equally certain that everyone in that party is innocent. (Simley) But take it from me, particularly in the early levels, you’ll be VERY lucky to get all 3 voices in a battle right off the bat!
After your advice has been given, you'll see how the lay of the land is in terms of Judgment. Use your influence to swing things the right way. This one is WRONG! O_o
After each post-battle vision sequence Sho will be quizzed by one or two teammates who’re wondering who the traitor is. This is your chance to sway their vote to tally with yours! Finally, before you head back to the Lobby you'll see a table predicting the current outcome of the Judgment, if a vote were to be held immediately. This lets you see if things are going your way and gives you the chance to make sure the right suspect is erased when it comes to the crunch.
THE VISION MENU:
So, you've completed a few missions, looked into the minds of the last few battle parties and maybe eliminated a few innocents from your investigation. Now, how do you reduce the remaining suspects to a shortlist of 3?? Here's where the Vision menu steps in to offer much-needed assistance!
I've taken a good spread of people into battle so I can take a guess. Here I am guessing Toya, Sojiro and Yoko are my suspects. Can't seem to get any other combinations that light up two people per battle, so... ;)
Head there and you'll see a list of the last 10 parties you took into battle. By examining the list and using its handy colouring feature to highlight suspects and innocents, you’ll be able (with a bit of logical thought!) to whittle down the list of suspects to just 3. This is my favourite part of the game. I can't help but feel like Hercule Poirot closing the net on my unsuspecting victim, who, only moments earlier, was busy congratulating themselves on fooling their foolish companions. Well, gloat no more, you dirty traitor!! :)
Hmm I was right. A quick test reveals they were my suspects alright, but after one Deep Vision, Sojiro is innocent...
Ahem, anyhow, now you've got your three suspects you'll need use Deep Vision to zero in on the actual traitor at long last! Let's look at Deep Vision now…
From the Vision menu, you can select individuals from your list of suspects and spend one of Sho’s Deep Vision points to consider their inner being and see if they're the traitor (or not!)
Time to perform Deep Vision on Yoko. I need to find her by listening and looking out for her thoughts. This way I think...
“But hang on!”, I can imagine you shouting at your screen. “Why not just use Deep Vision to search the motives of the whole team and save on all that process of elimination/logic/head scratching?”
A good question friends but, alas, you’re only given 3 Deep Vision points at the start of the game, plus an extra 2 points each time you get to a new floor. Spending Deep Vision points willy-nilly could easily leave you with none left when Judgment comes around, with you still being none the wiser. :( Yep, there are no shortcuts to sleuthing here! It is TOTALLY possible to go into the Judgment Room and erase an innocent man or woman. Do that and there are – how shall I put it – negative consequences when you finally reach the top of the Pillar. (Mwahahahaha!)
Yep, that was the right way. Just a bit closer and we'll get to the truth...
Once you've carefully chosen a suspect to investigate with Deep Vision, Sho finds himself on a mysterious white and misty plain, hearing the thoughts of the teammate who's mind he has entered projecting from somewhere around him. By listening carefully and turning the camera to see the suspect’s thoughts physically projected into the air around him, Sho can advance towards them and eventually reach a physical figure of the suspect in question. Do this three times within a time limit and Sho will confront the inner being of the suspect and discern if they're the traitor or not. If you’re lucky you’ll nail it first time, if not well at least you can somewhat guarantee you’ll only a maximum of three DV points per floor… ;D
Gasp! Yoko, how could you. She was my traitor alright! Now to convince the others to vote my way and we can kiss goodbye to this wretched woman!
Once you've nailed your suspect you'll need to leave them out of future battles and make more use of any teammates who are unpopular with their peers before you head to the Judgment Room, thereby increasing the odds that the right guy/gal is selected by erasure when the chips are down. And well done you if you get it right! (A highly satisfying feeling…)
Finally! Now, bring on the Judgment!! ^_^
Wow, after all that description on my part, you can see that the Vision system is very deep and ties in well with all the other aspects of the game in a meaningful way. Like all the best features in gaming, the Vision system is brilliantly simple in practice, but rather hard to explain in a written blog post like this one, so many thanks for bearing with me JRPG fans! :)
There’ll be more info on Lost Dimension next week, so I’ll see you back here then. In the meantime, happy gaming folks! :)
(Blog written by Ghostlight Ltd. All screenshots are taken from the PS3 version of Lost Dimension.)
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