Golden Sun (Game Boy Advance) review
"Nintendo is a dominating company, but ever sense the Super Nintendo died out, so did their success with RPG's. Then the Gameboy Advance came out, a system very similiar in power to the Super Nintendo, and it was time to bring back the RPG's. However they didn't just port old RPG's. They created new ones. Golden Sun is such an example, and was a very succesful one. It create an immense quest and an original magic system known as Psyenergy, and little creatures known as Djinn. Immense puzzles, and..."
Nintendo is a dominating company, but ever sense the Super Nintendo died out, so did their success with RPG's. Then the Gameboy Advance came out, a system very similiar in power to the Super Nintendo, and it was time to bring back the RPG's. However they didn't just port old RPG's. They created new ones. Golden Sun is such an example, and was a very succesful one. It create an immense quest and an original magic system known as Psyenergy, and little creatures known as Djinn. Immense puzzles, and dungeon type systems to visit, and even a few side quests. However was it as good as the old SNES RPG's, Not one bit. Golden Sun is very overated, but it does have it's strengths.
STORY (12/25): Let's start off with the good thing. The underlying story in Golden Sun is fairly good, with the lighting of the beacons. You have four major badguys that stand in your way, one that has a past of being your friend. However you very rarely see these badguys, and you only even get the oppurtunity to fight two of these (and one of them just vanishes until after the credits).
As we speak about the lack of enemy characterization, the parties characterization is even worse. Isaic (the star) never speaks during the game, and the rest of the cast just says pointless things and really the only one with a slight story to him is Ivan, and that is even weak. Of course the entire dialogue in the game is really weak. There are alot of little side stories in the game, but they are all more annoying then fun, and the dialogue is just so very dumb, but very frequent. You probably at points won't even read it, cause it is so pointless and yet so long.
Just to give them a little credit, Golden Sun ends with a huge cliffhanger, which immediately sold me for their next game whenever it comes out. The story had to do something right to capture my buy, even though I barely liked the game.
GRAPHICS (15/15): Dear god, this is really the strength of Golden Sun. This looks better than all Super Nintendo games. You would almost think it is a Nintendo 64 game the graphics. The characters are all fairly well made, and the lands are colorful. The people are varied and the lands are also varied depending on where you are. There are few cutscenes, but those are all very realistic (backgrounds for the credits were dazzling). The graphics are great, and really the best I will ever see for the GBA in it's short lifespan.
SOUND (6/10): The music is fairly good, but not really as great as some of the high class RPG's (like the Final Fantasy series). The music is varied and has an orchestraic feel, but nothing that will completely interwine you. The sound effects are annoying after a time, cause all the psyenergy spells make the exact same noise, and they are all very annoying.
GAMEPLAY (22/35): First of all, lets talk about the good things in Golden Sun. The Djinn system and Psyenergy system are innovative systems, which are not too difficult to use. Their is a simple leveling up system, and the battle systems are very simple to understand, once you understand the multiple uses of Djinn. That is where most of the complextivity lies, is understanding Djinn. Once you do however, the system is very useful. Some of the psyenergy's can be used on the field map, to move objects and such. Therefore if you miss some item or such, you may run into some trouble. The puzzles in this game are somewhat fun at times (I loved the electrical currents one at the end), but others are just repetitive and annoying.
Now to the negatives that I haven't already said. It is difficult to ever know where you are going next. The entire game is the same gameplay over and over again, and if you've played 5 minutes you've basically played it all. As I said above, most the puzzles are very annoying and really do not pack much fun. Alot are just block movie puzzles. The sidequests are pointless, and you gain very little from doing them, except extending the game a bit. Really, the game just is not that fun either. It is repetitive, and I can tell you a dozen better RPG's I have played.
REPLAYABILITY (4/10): Like an RPG, the replayability stands more to the length of the actual game, and the sidequests. Golden Sun was a fairly long experience, one of 24 hours, but it seems MUCH shorter. Trust me, I thought I had only spent about 6 hours on the game, when I beat it. The game itself is kind of a hassle, and the subquests aren't very rewarding. I guess you'll have to live with that however. If you desire to replay the game, it would not really be as entertaining an experience because you won't be able to experience the challenge of the puzzles, and you should be able to quickly walkthrough it.
DIFFICULTY (4/5): It is very hard to figure out where you want to go next in this game. It's kinda dumb, cause you will get lost and be forced to basically turning around in circles. The enemies are fairly easy, and needless leveling up is important. The game is tough if you miss some Djinn however, so be sure to get them. The puzzles are all fairly simple for an RPG though.
OVERALL (63/100): Golden Sun is highly rated, and I guess in Nintendo's weak RPG past it deserves to be so. But is it a great game, not at all. This is one of the weakest RPG's I have played in my time, and well I did not enjoy much of it. It was enjoyable enough, however, for any console RPG fan to take a look at, and enough to get me to anticipate it's sequel. It did alot of things right, but it also did alot of things wrong.
Community review by ratking (December 09, 2002)
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