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Old 2015-05-18, 20:52   Link #1
Firefly00
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Lost Dimension


New York City is devastated, having been chosen as the site for a vast structure simply known as the Pillar, apparently the handiwork of a man calling himself The End (no, not the Ancient Sniper). He has set in motion a 13-day countdown with the end of the world at the zero line... and one way to stop it: ascend the Pillar and (presumably) confront him at its apex. Of course there're catches to it aside from the array of tangos and environmental hazards...
  • with great power comes the risk of great insanity. Each member of the team has a potent 'gift' (psionic ability?). Overuse of such powers can lead to a berserk state wherein the subject is temporararily unable to distinguish friend from foe);
  • keep your friends close, and... well, you get the idea. Some of them aren't, really - but just who those are is for you to discover through investigation. Which brings us to...
  • "We will burn our own to hold the red line." On top of everything else, ascending to the next level of the Pillar exacts a price: the group has to pick one of their number to... take the Final Jump. Naturally, this is heavily affected by what trust exists among the members (something that must be worked on, and is of course independent of whether or not the one who'll get the short straw is genuinely... untrustworthy.


Opening trailer


JP version gameplay

The countdown begins (for the US market) on 28 July.
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Old 2015-05-19, 00:25   Link #2
Kafriel
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Wow, that is impressive. Closely reminds me of Resonance of Fate in the action department, the story is intriguing and the character AP (affection points) system will finally be a matter of life and death!

P.S: Can ATLUS really use MATERIA for their abilities (the in-game menu does call it gift...)?
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Old 2015-05-19, 09:57   Link #3
Firefly00
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And just to make things more interesting: when pondering the answer to 'what number of the team are turncoats?' (something which is different each playthrough), consider the following:
  • zero is a number; and
  • the whole idea that such traitors exist is sparked because The End claims so... the wise operator cannot in good conscience discount the idea that he might be lying specifically to spark dissension and infighting
On another note, I see the annoying pattern of a game's US site being relateively content-bare compared to its Japanese analogue continues here. That's careless at the least.
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Old 2015-05-19, 12:56   Link #4
Kafriel
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Ok, so how do you know if someone's a traitor or not? Does it have to do with their behavior during battle, minor interactions with the other characters or is it completely random and you're somehow supposed to get it right by collecting hints of sorts?
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Old 2015-07-28, 07:05   Link #5
Kafriel
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Necro time, the english game version has been released! First off, the bad:

- most of the conversations take place between portraits with one-liners, which was bad in the Tales games and seriously annoying in Valkyria Chronicles 2...despite those games being from Namco and Sega, but whatever, it's not cool, especially when Sho says "you're right" in a context of disagreement.

- I think the game gives you too little to work on; the traitor bit takes a large part in the game, is it something predetermined as soon as you hit new game? Do Sho's flashback bits change depending on whose affection you're raising? How would ANYONE trust people in a team where Yoko has memory rewrite as an actual skill (:P) and George has sense?

+ The action's amazing, every fight has a lot to consider - especially when it comes to positioning for assists, backshots and cover* - and the fact that you can repeat them for S rank bonuses and extra exp/energy is a plus.

* units need line of sight to target another, it applies to both enemies and allies, so proper cover can save someone from losing their sanity.

+ FATE materia. It basically crystallizes an erased person's gift and enables other people to use it instead. One character can use up to two FATE materia, i.e. have 3 gifts available. If not for this, who would ever get rid of the team's sole medic, the scouts or the best support?

+ You start out OP. Seriously, you have Agito who teleports around the field, Nagi who flies over anything (mobility obviously counts a lot in the game), Senji's link ability and so on. Being able to see the gift progress lets you plan ahead of time as to what skills each character should focus on in order to maximize their synergy (e.g: teleport all allies to you -> unison shot max dmg). There's also the defense stats of each member (Yoko and Marco have 0 weakness, so they can tank it out until they go berserk).

+ Which brings us to the next point, SP usage and deferring**! It's not just gift skills that consume SP, but also enemy attacks, so getting mobbed can easily result in a broken character, regardless of their defenses. It's not just a matter of confusion either, as the team's morale goes down and characters are afflicted with 'fear' status. Deferring also costs 10% SP, so a character who keeps deferring will end up with half SP by the time they catch up with the rest of the team, leaving them vulnerable to attacks and with little SP to spare for gift skills.

** Defer: give your turn to a player who has already acted. This way, they can move and act up to six times in a single round. With proper positioning, you can use defer to draw counterattacks to a specific ally while the rest assist, it's very important to master against bosses.

All in all, I've only been playing for an hour but this game is a brilliant TBS/tRPG/fake-dating-sim that will put your mind and strategic abilities to the test. Highly recommended, 9.5/10...so far.
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Old 2015-07-28, 07:41   Link #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kafriel View Post
- most of the conversations take place between portraits with one-liners, which was bad in the Tales games and seriously annoying in Valkyria Chronicles 2...despite those games being from Namco and Sega, but whatever, it's not cool, especially when Sho says "you're right" in a context of disagreement.
Indeed, that is a bit of a letdown. As for the specific example cited, it sounds like the translation team had a microsleep for that (though how they take that context and come up with 'you're right' instead of something like 'yeah, right' escapes me).

Quote:
- I think the game gives you too little to work on; the traitor bit takes a large part in the game, is it something predetermined as soon as you hit new game? Do Sho's flashback bits change depending on whose affection you're raising? How would ANYONE trust people in a team where Yoko has memory rewrite as an actual skill (:P) and George has sense?
Something the writers might not have thought entirely through - see also, as noted earlier, the fact of this whole part of the game being based solely on the Big Bad's unsubstantiated say-so. I for one would be interested in speaking with the writers about this.

Quote:
It's not just gift skills that consume SP, but also enemy attacks, so getting mobbed can easily result in a broken character, regardless of their defenses...
Ah, Mythos-esque sanity mixed with shades of unit resolve as presented in the Warhammer games (or, for that matter, XCOM). Not a bad idea; it'll be interesting to see where it's taken in other projects...
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Old 2015-07-28, 22:34   Link #7
Kafriel
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Alright, after a few more hours at this, it turns out you can accurately find all the traitors in your team by expending vision points to tap into their memories. Once you reach F2 for the first time, Sho's gift awakens and you get a log of the voices he hears every time you come back from a mission.

The in-game excuse is that a traitor might not even remember their role, but as you fight on they pick up bits and pieces of their original character, hence the change of alignment halfway through a floor. Of course, once you get past a floor, you get new traitors right away.

EDIT: It's a bit more complicated than I thought, you can hear up to 3 voices at a time, but only one of them is the traitor - using deep vision lets you mark the suspect, so you have to gather all suspects first, then 3x DV to find the traitor...and then regulate their voting power to get rid of the one you want. Exception: 4F has two traitors, also if you DV a suspect and let them live, you'll have to count them as a +1 voice to the regular 3.

Raising intimacy unlocks special one-time character quests that give character data logs and an extra gift point. You can't evolve fate materia, so try and unlock all three aspects of a traitor's gift before erasing them.

EDIT #2: Since the game doesn't explain much concerning gifts, in order to unlock an aspect, you must have trained at least one of the skills around it. If you unlock ALL of the skills around a single aspect, you unlock that aspect as an ability. Easiest one to get is Zenji's, which makes him THE most powerful character once you get it (finished the 3F boss on round 2). How did that happen? Link is a status that connects two characters; the caster assimilates the linked character's highest stats (and cranks them up even more) and when one of them heals, so does the other. Through upgrades, they can share buffs too! Now, imagine what it's like having all six characters linked for a single round :P

EDIT #3: Fate doors open on the second playthrough, they cannot be accessed the first time you play. They include bits and pieces from the story which you can't know the first time around by the point you reach them.

EDIT #4:
Made it to game clear and I deeply regret not using all of my VP despite knowing who the traitor was at the 4th floor. Pay close attention, as 4F is the final judgement, so you won't be able to use VP from that point on. You get to keep all your VP to NG+ though, so keep that in mind. Oh, NG+ offers new missions and a whopping 20 Gift xp for everyone! Take care not to upgrade skills too much, otherwise their GP costs will skyrocket.

EDIT #5: Each game clear offers an extra 20 GP per playthrough; got 40 GP on my second clear. Genius. Time to finally get the good ending on this!!!

EDIT #6: In order to get the true final boss, you must max out your bonds with everyone and erase all traitors. I'm not sure if you can erase only innocents; I tried it on my 3rd playthrough by only erasing safe characters, but eventually I still had a character by my side for the final battle...I think this is done purely for mechanical reasons, even by abusing daydream to the maximum, it took 20 recovery packs to kill all traitors + The End. It's a good thing the traitors don't keep their gift passives...

Tips:
Spoiler for How to find the traitor in each floor:


Spoiler for Changing the judgement outcome:


Character impressions

Best characters to kill: Nagi and Marco. Nagi's Zero gravity makes George's sword 100% accurate (VERY important since he has the lowest DEX) and uncounterable (just as important). Marco's final skill has 999 power but also costs 999 GP. At LV40 with 2 GP boost+++ apps, he still can't reach that much. Mana can use it, however, via hyperdrive (GP cost 0 -> go berserk next round). Same goes for a linked Zenji.

Most important characters for S-rank missions: Yoko, Sho and Zenji. Sho learns daydream, which lets your entire team play an extra round and skip the enemy phase. Zenji can copy that and Yoko can reduce its SAN cost (as well as all SAN costs in a 5' radius). At max LV, Sho and Zenji can both use daydream twice, effectively giving your team 5 rounds on turn #1. Yoko also has the invaluable brain hacker skill, which raises ALL stats on everyone, including CRIT and MOV, making it the perfect opener for every mission.

Most difficult characters to use: Soujiro, because he has no strong points in offense and his defense still pales compared to Marco. Also Toya, because his gift tree is just as hard to use and his GP/SAN costs are quite high compared to the damage/control they offer. Basically, in the first playthrough, these characters will definitely be your worst.

How to play Soujiro: invest in the rejuvenation tree just for revive, spend everything else on adaptation and side-effects. A maxed out over heal supposedly has 200 power (210 with LV10 injection) and deals a little less damage than a LV5 corrosion, which also lowers VIT, provokes assists and may inflict a random status ailment (which over heal does not).

How to play Toya: For a CC character, just max his EMP wave. Free stuns all over the map will make your life easier, even if that's all he can do. For some proper damage:control, electrospark's thunderbolt/high voltage/lightning rod will provide with what you need.

Highest dmg characters: George takes the cake. Infinity blade deals 4,000 dmg upwards, final slice over 5k...and helm breaker, which he can use as a counterattack, ignores VIT, also dealing 4k+ dmg...by the time you can use it. Marco is more approachable, with "Stab them!" being the most cost-efficient skill in the game (while also having a range of 8 AND high crit), and "stay back!" is the strongest non-materia psychic attack. While Nagi also has psychic attacks from her gravitron tree, her PSY is rather low, making assassin's blade and silent slash her best moves. Mana is also efficient in dealing damage, though using her alone is risky. She is best used with desperate stance (STR up/VIT down), assisting other characters' attacks while benefitting from Sho's fortune skill.

Best AoE dmg characters: Himeno, Yoko with pyrokinesis, Mana with combustion....basically anyone with Himeno's fate materia

Best tank: Marco. This kid can take a beating! With proper materia, he can nullify all damage and taunt everyone to focus him. You just have to beware of going berserk, as even attacks that deal no damage drain SAN. Second place goes to Agito, he can blink and switch positions to avoid attacks, as well as teleport enemies and allies anywhere on the map...and his normal attacks provide strong counters.

Most special character: Zenji. Brutality is as easy to unlock as Resonance. It sends damage back to the attacker, but it also applies to heal (heal is just flagged damage, remember FF7 overflow?) and buffs (in which case he buffs up whoever cast it in the first place, so Yoko can buff Zenji, his link and herself with a single inspiration). He is built as a pure support and should be played as such; his contribution to the team is definitely much higher than Soujiro's, who imo better fits the role of a controller. He can also become a guaranteed damage dealer, under certain conditions; linking Mana, who can boost her max HP, getting 2 HP+++ and using inflict pain If you can heal and defer him, he can top any single enemy except The End.


Spoiler for Good ending:

So, time for an additional assessment of the game!

- Plot: Very intriguing, with some solid twists and an extra ending (or two?).
- Characters: while most of them simply fit a cookie-cutter personality, there are a few that show originality. My favorite designs are Nagi (you know why) and Marco (because his model is very reminiscent of Hito-shura from Nocturne). Favorite gifts are Yoko's (charm ftw) and Agito's, because it's very convenient. Favorite character is....The End! Take that Sho, you never thought I'd betray you Without spoiling much, his story is legit and he made a hell of a boss fight.
- Music: haven't heard a single track not fitting the situation or any score that wasn't pleasing to hear.
- Gameplay: it's the reason why I'll be replaying this game at least two more times, not much else to say. My sole gripe here is the fact that the enemy designs are very limited and not so life-like.
- Replayability: it is there, a full game should span 3 playthroughs if my intuition is correct...and you can always keep stacking clear data just to see how much you can steamroll your opponents.
- Graphics: could be better, but they're still more than enough for me.

Nearly final score: I'll keep my 9.5/10 from before, feels just about right.

EDIT #5: Final score: 10/10. If this game doesn't have what a game needs, I don't know which one does.

Last edited by Kafriel; 2015-08-23 at 09:26.
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