Review: Golden Sun: Dark Dawn

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Review: Golden Sun: Dark Dawn

The latest entry in the beloved series isn't quite as grand as it could be.

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Err, it says "Based on the Wii version" at the bottom of the review.
On topic: Good review and lots of good points, though the fanboy in me will probably still make me buy the game regardless, even if it isn't as good as it could've potentially been.

I've recently re-discovered SMT, so I'm busy with Devil Survivor and Strange Journey. But after that, Golden Sun is still right at the top.

Yeah, I've only just started playing it, and so far its good, but not impressively so. While limited inventory is fine, I wish they'd allow us to at least "collect" equipment, instead of having to contend with it and healing items, in a way similar to DQ 9.

The way they are handling the story is obviously an attempt at trying to make sure anyone can follow it, but for those who've played the last two games, its borderline aggravating having to contend with mashing A while also ensuring I grab the encyclopedia entries. The should of relegated some of it to the books you can find that recount the story (and make those not take up space as well).

Be glad they didn't bring back that horrid code-based transfer system they used going from Golden Sun to GS: Lost Age... I had to enter the bronze code to transfer all my djinn over, JUST because the 10page gold one didn't want to work. Though I'm fearful that the boss guarding the final summon will fall pray to the same strategy as he needed in Lost Age, that is kamikaze with all your djinn set and spamming the ultimate summon (at that point), then relying on your "backup" team to mop him up.

Also, the models bug me... not so much the look, but there is a constant "black area" that pops over their faces during conversations.

Why does a map pack deserve a video and this doesn't?
Anyway, I loved the other 2 Golden Sun's, and if I had a DS I would already be playing this...
Shame it isn't so good though...

This review is based on the Wii version of the game.

Uhhhhhhh....

Hopefully this isn't as bad as it sounds here.

The biggest challenge for me with this game is FINDING THE DAMN THING! Five stores and not a single one had it. Ugh... guess I'll just resort to the internet.

Anyways, from what I can tell replaying the original, most complaints here have been the same thing the series always had going on.

And yeah, it does say "Wii Version" at the bottom.

PoisonedCure:
..

You too? Why are my comments not showing up? This is the second in a row now.

Whether they saved the world or ruined it is still a subject of much debate

Is that an issue they discuss in the new game? Because based off of The Lost Age, I know quite well which one I think they did and the choice seems obvious.

Anyway the game sounds about right from this I guess. A whole lot of talking (this series could have been called the portable equivalent of Metal Gear Solid in some scenes, well that is until the actual portable MGS games came out), some quests to find the item that teaches you new Psynergy to proceed so you can get to the next area, and some awesome battle mechanics. Speaking of that, I'm quite happy to hear that Ragnarok returns, I love that attack.

Onyx Oblivion:
I've recently re-discovered SMT, so I'm busy with Devil Survivor and Strange Journey. But after that, Golden Sun is still right at the top.

Next on your list should be Nine Hours Nine Persons Nine Doors. Also Hotel Dusk 1 & 2

Gvaz:

Onyx Oblivion:
I've recently re-discovered SMT, so I'm busy with Devil Survivor and Strange Journey. But after that, Golden Sun is still right at the top.

Next on your list should be Nine Hours Nine Persons Nine Doors. Also Hotel Dusk 1 & 2

In the US, so Hotel Dusk 2 is a no-go.

999 is going to drop in price quickly, as it's a non-Nintendo DS game that isn't shovelware.

Beltom:
Err, it says "Based on the Wii version" at the bottom of the review.
On topic: Good review and lots of good points, though the fanboy in me will probably still make me buy the game regardless, even if it isn't as good as it could've potentially been.

Oh, pewp. Thanks, I'll fix that straight away.

Dragon_of_red:
Why does a map pack deserve a video and this doesn't?

Oh, we'd love to do DS reviews, but you need a specific doohicky to capture the footage from a DS, and you have to get said doohicky from Nintendo...and they are very, very stingy with how they hand them out.

Doohicky is, of course, a technical term.

mjc0961:

Whether they saved the world or ruined it is still a subject of much debate

Is that an issue they discuss in the new game? Because based off of The Lost Age, I know quite well which one I think they did and the choice seems obvious.

Ayuh.

I've hunkered down about 20 hours into the game so far. I'm liking it, but there is definitely a lot of dragging out of things I already know from playing the last two games. It also seems like the 2nd half of the game forgot about what they were talking about in the 1st half. One thing to note is that many of the djinn are permanently missable. As in, if you miss them you can never get them ever again because you'll never be able to get back to that area. Considering that djinn make up the majority of your powers moreso than your level, missing a few is quite infuriating (and very easy because not all of them are out in the open). Other than that, the battles make me wish they'd included a rush button ala SMT, but I think the puzzles have gained a lot more sophistication from the GBA titles and were by far the most entertaining part of the game. The boss fights near the beginning were also quite a challenge, one that I wasn't expecting from a traditionally "easy" series. But in retrospect, this game is trying way too hard to recapture the first two games and the back references get a little overwhelming, like these kids are being undermined by their own legacy.

Susan Arendt:

Beltom:
Err, it says "Based on the Wii version" at the bottom of the review.
On topic: Good review and lots of good points, though the fanboy in me will probably still make me buy the game regardless, even if it isn't as good as it could've potentially been.

Oh, pewp. Thanks, I'll fix that straight away.

Not a problem. :)

xyrafhoan:
Other than that, the battles make me wish they'd included a rush button ala SMT

Not sure if it's exactly what you're thinking of, but after you selected your moves in the GBA games, you could hold B and it would skip some parts of the animations of certain attacks and fast forward through text. Try that, maybe it will help a little.

mjc0961:

xyrafhoan:
Other than that, the battles make me wish they'd included a rush button ala SMT

Not sure if it's exactly what you're thinking of, but after you selected your moves in the GBA games, you could hold B and it would skip some parts of the animations of certain attacks and fast forward through text. Try that, maybe it will help a little.

No, the rush feature in SMT games is full on, rushed automatic attacks. I still have to mash buttons in Golden Sun and considering how weak random encounters are, I really wish I could just hit a single button to initiate an automated battle that goes faster (and also cuts out the unleash animations). It's a small thing but it's a feature I just wish this game had.

xyrafhoan:

mjc0961:

xyrafhoan:
Other than that, the battles make me wish they'd included a rush button ala SMT

Not sure if it's exactly what you're thinking of, but after you selected your moves in the GBA games, you could hold B and it would skip some parts of the animations of certain attacks and fast forward through text. Try that, maybe it will help a little.

No, the rush feature in SMT games is full on, rushed automatic attacks. I still have to mash buttons in Golden Sun and considering how weak random encounters are, I really wish I could just hit a single button to initiate an automated battle that goes faster (and also cuts out the unleash animations). It's a small thing but it's a feature I just wish this game had.

I actually agree. I just use my regular old attacks in random encounters because it's faster and usually more than effective enough.

My major issue with the game is the music. I LOVED the soundtrack of the first two games, and the new game's soundtrack just seems... bland. I know it's just a minor detail, but still.

been waiting for this game for years but from looking at the videos and this review it looks like it won't live up to my expectations

Susan Arendt:
I actually agree. I just use my regular old attacks in random encounters because it's faster and usually more than effective enough.

At least they fixed the targeting in this unlike in the originals, I remembered needing to constantly change targets if I wanted all my characters to attack, because if you killed an enemy in the old game, everyone that was targeting the enemy auto defends because they weren't smart enough to attack the next enemy.

Golden Sun games have to be good, therefore I refuse to accept otherwise. :)

Not having to grind is definitely a plus. Grinding is the worst part of any game experience ever. I also didn't do it in the previous Golden Sun games, and I'm glad to hear it's not necessary here.

I do like me some difficult bosses though, so if djinn make those too easy, that's a pity.

Shame to hear this isn't as good as the originals were. Even so, this is definately a must have for me. (Avatar kinda gives that away.) Truth be told, the first 2 games were also very easy if you knew how to use your djinns. Unless you played through Golden sun: The lost age on hard mode I suppose, wich needed some intense grinding at parts.

Oh well. The problems pointed out in this review is basically the same I've seen in other reviews of the game. Fair enough.

Dragon_of_red:
Why does a map pack deserve a video and this doesn't?
Anyway, I loved the other 2 Golden Sun's, and if I had a DS I would already be playing this...
Shame it isn't so good though...

It's not that bad... The main problem is the fact that people will not stop fucking talking.

Yeah, I like the chat in video games, but this is WAY over board. But I still like the game.

Deeleted:
Shame to hear this isn't as good as the originals were. Even so, this is definately a must have for me. (Avatar kinda gives that away.) Truth be told, the first 2 games were also very easy if you knew how to use your djinns. Unless you played through Golden sun: The lost age on hard mode I suppose, wich needed some intense grinding at parts.

Oh well. The problems pointed out in this review is basically the same I've seen in other reviews of the game. Fair enough.

The puzzles are a bit tougher than the original ones, but the battles are still piss easy. But the places are much bigger, but still not big enough to get horribly lost.

In fact, I make sure to never use that stupid map they give me to make that part a tough harder >.<

I'm about two hours in, and savoring every moment.

However, there's one thing that's bothering me.

"The Golden Sun event happened" ...characters use that exact turn of a phrase constantly, and it's annoying the heck out of me. Could they have found a more awkward wording?

I can sorta/kinda understand the writers not wanting to have people saying "ever since the Golden Sun rose" constantly, but seriously. Do better.

Also - any tips on getting that first Jupiter Djinn (right before Carver's Camp)? Or should I pass 'em by and come back? I'm stumped.

Back when I liked jrpgs the Golden Sun series was my favorite, by far. Nice to see this game remains faithful to the originals, shame it isn't that good. Was never going to get it anyway, or a DS for that matter, but still.

I just posted a comment, but it...didn't.

To rehash - "The Golden Sun event happened". ARGH. The capitalization gives it all the weight it needs, no need to beat us over the head with 'event'. And if it hadn't 'happened', we probably wouldn't be taking about it. So, how about "Even since the Golden Sun rose"? IT WORKS SO BEAUTIFULLY

/rant

I'm a big fan of GS, and so far the game's a blast. Any tips on nabbing that first Jupiter djinn?

EDIT - OH, it did post. My bad :D

xyrafhoan:
No, the rush feature in SMT games is full on, rushed automatic attacks. I still have to mash buttons in Golden Sun and considering how weak random encounters are, I really wish I could just hit a single button to initiate an automated battle that goes faster (and also cuts out the unleash animations). It's a small thing but it's a feature I just wish this game had.

Bah, maybe I'm nuts but that sounds like a feature no game should have. If the game wants to play itself, why does it need me? :p And if it makes me want to have it play itself, something has gone wrong.

Anyway just stick to regular attacks, if you need to bother with summons for the random rats and ghouls that pop up, you are doing something horribly wrong. That or use an item or Psynergy that stops random attacks. Or run.

mjc0961:
Bah, maybe I'm nuts but that sounds like a feature no game should have. If the game wants to play itself, why does it need me? :p And if it makes me want to have it play itself, something has gone wrong.

Anyway just stick to regular attacks, if you need to bother with summons for the random rats and ghouls that pop up, you are doing something horribly wrong. That or use an item or Psynergy that stops random attacks. Or run.

Thing is, unless you were way over leveled rushing is a death sentence in SMT. Thoes games are elemental rock-paper-scissors on steroids (For you and for your enemy).

Now about GS...I do like the game simply because I liked the first two, but I can not get over how this tried so damn hard to hide "his" identity. I mean good lord, I figured it out the second I saw his shadowy portrait, while Karadin just sits there going "duuuuuur whos dis?".

Fidelias:
My major issue with the game is the music. I LOVED the soundtrack of the first two games, and the new game's soundtrack just seems... bland. I know it's just a minor detail, but still.

That's... Dissapointing.

I actually had a bit of a shock with The lost age on my GBA when I first plugged in a set of headphones...

Not only did that make it sound a lot better than with the built-in speaker, but it also made me painfully aware that it sounded so much better than the norm for music in games...
(seriously, for what is essentially midi, it sounds better than some orchestral sountracks I've heard.)

On the whole, the review makes the game sound like a bit of a letdown.

Susan Arendt:

Dragon_of_red:
Why does a map pack deserve a video and this doesn't?

Oh, we'd love to do DS reviews, but you need a specific doohicky to capture the footage from a DS, and you have to get said doohicky from Nintendo...and they are very, very stingy with how they hand them out.

Doohicky is, of course, a technical term.

I figured it was difficult to get a decent direct capture from a handheld system.

But have you guys, you know, ever experimented with cruder methods of capturing footage?
Like... Say, pointing a camera at the display on a DS?

I know getting even remotely decent footage that way is a big ask, but has anyone tried it?

Anyway... I don't know if that would be any better than not having a video at all, but it's a thought at least.

Brainst0rm:
I'm about two hours in, and savoring every moment.

However, there's one thing that's bothering me.

"The Golden Sun event happened" ...characters use that exact turn of a phrase constantly, and it's annoying the heck out of me. Could they have found a more awkward wording?

I can sorta/kinda understand the writers not wanting to have people saying "ever since the Golden Sun rose" constantly, but seriously. Do better.

Also - any tips on getting that first Jupiter Djinn (right before Carver's Camp)? Or should I pass 'em by and come back? I'm stumped.

You can't go back for it if you leave it behind. I had to restart my file after the first 6 hours because I missed that first Jupiter Djinn.

Thank god I still have my GBA copies. I checked online and they're crazy expensive.

I enjoyed the first two games when you actually got to play them, rather than read endless text explaining the story that you probably have already guessed by that point.

I'm pretty sure at the beginning of the first game you spend at least half an hour in scrolling dialogue after you get into the room with the Elemental Stars until they finally send you off to start your quest. And what did we cover in that time? "Those guys are bad, get the stuff they stole back. It's, like, really important yo."

The combat system was good and the Djinn and class systems were incredibly fun for an RPG-mechanic-nerd like myself, but the dialogue, THE DIALOGUE!

Oh, and one last thing. A question for those that played The Lost Age. Remember near the beginning of the game when you finally cross that one plateau place and you stumble upon that ship? Remember how everyone kept saying "Oh, this is our ship, it drifted down after the tidal wave"? But then Piers joins your party he's all, "yeah, this is totally my ship, let's get going", and nobody even mentions the apparent dillema? If that was Piers' ship, what the apparent mix-up? Am I the only one that was confused as hell by that?

I only played the first Golden Sun but this review makes it sound just like it. Just saying, it sounds like what one should almost expect in a Golden Sun game.

I'm sad I don't have a DS now, I loved the first and second ones :(

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