Review: Golden Sun: Dark Dawn

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Stevepinto3:

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?

Everyone in Madra said that it was a Champa ship, not their ship. You clear Piers' name after defeating Briggs. By the time you return with the Black Crystal, the Madrans realize that it is not a Champa ship.

even if it wasn't a speech marathon, it would never be as good due to nostalgia

CrystalShadow:

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.

Yes. It's dismal.

mjc0961:

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.

The problem is, I do stick to regular physical attacks. The unleashes are from my weapons and because I'm stacked with additional critical hit gear, they go off all the time. To be fair, the random encounter rate isn't high, but even against the toughest of random foes on the overworld, nothing is so threatening that I'd stop using basic attacks (and perhaps a psynergy here or there). I'm sure there is a dungeon as tough as say, the Anemos Sanctum, but in the mean time, I just want my battles to go faster than "mash A, watch everything die in two turns". Virtually every recent game I've played has a rush feature too. Persona 3 and 4 in all their incarnations allow you to rush, which saves a lot of time when backtracking through dungeons and mooks need to be squished, which even speeds up the basic attack animation. Strange Journey became way too hard to use rush, but when you were overleveled it was easier to rush anything you knew that wouldn't kill you for using physical attacks. Final Fantasy: 4 Heroes of Light had a different kind of rush but it allowed you to keep repeating the last option you chose and sit back (though this game was wholly unsuitable for that kind of gameplay). Even Disgaea 2 allowed me to turn off all the flashy effects so I could get in more gameplay on my short PSP battery so each turn would progress much faster. It's just a time saving and button saving (my A button is so worn it doesn't even have any real feedback anymore) measure that I tend to expect in turn based RPGs now.

Need to find my copy of The Lost Age again... Is there some kind of save file transfer thing again?
My only problem with the game is that I can't find it anywhere! Not a single shop I've been to seems to stock it. It's infuriating! Amazon time perhaps.

I want to play this game, but I'm a little disappointed to hear that it's not as great as it could have been.

Ah well, will probably pick this up anyway on Wednesday. I do have finals to worry about...but my digital video final can go do itself (seriously, it's open note).

Now, dont get me wrong, I loved Golden Sun. or at least, the first 2/3rds of it, because I had no idea where the hell to go or what too do. my one complaint about those incredible titles was that If you were to stop playing for a week, then come back, youd be doomed. all this hooplah about them telling you every detail over and over again could be helpful for the absent minded gamer (like myself)

I've played the whole game and the reviewer is a little right and a little wrong.

I agree with the large amounts of dialogue, but that's only if you want talk to all of the villagers in a town. Storyline dialogue isn't overwhelming at all. I personally had a bit of trouble keeping the names of all of the new non-party characters organized in my head.

As to the easy combat system this is easily remedied if you force yourself to play with most of your Djinn on standby. This will make you MUCH weaker.

Also the bonus boss for the Catastrophe summon is one of the hardest RPG bosses I've fought ever. (yes he's harder than every Final Fantasy boss ever, the Doom dragon and the Star Mage)
I had to find an exploit in his programming just to beat him. (He takes control of your party members, and can summon Charon TWICE a turn!) Only Dullahan was harder (Djinn Storm + Charon + Formina Sage = lots of instadeath)

The final boss is no pushover either.

All in all it wasn't better than Golden Sun 1 or 2, but I found it did the series justice.

Brainst0rm:
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

I just got that one.

*edit* Also, don't miss the other Djinn in Carver's camp.

I'm gonna white knight this series for a bit here, but mostly just gonna rant about how annoying people can be about fan-favorites.

I'm 5 hours in and I love this game. Nowhere near as disappointing as anyone thinks it is. That said, it IS part 3 of a series that has been in the dark for 7 years, so naturally fans who stuck with it will get the most out of it since they already loved the game, blemishes and all.

The first two games are near EXACTLY like this. Don't let anyone else tell you otherwise, they were clearly afflicted by the Long Wait Inevitable Disappointment Syndrome.*

*The nostalgia-driven, powered-by-cynicism disease in which a sequel to a "classic" never lives up to the oh-so-great originals. Which I think is stupid.

I don't know how people think that the first two games were AMAZING, and I'm a stark raving mad fanboy of this series. For GBA games, they were great, but really, not THAT amazing. Lots of meandering writing, with an interesting plot and dilemma driven by LIFELESS characters that did not develop an iota, combat about as challenging as first-grade spelling, and on the whole more or less all the same "issues" that Dark Dawn has now, minus the Points of No Return and the more likable party of characters.

What exactly DID they expect out of a sequel to a fan-favorite franchise like Golden Sun? CHANGE? I've looked around the block, and the X-Com fans are taking "change" really well it seems.

I'm so glad it's the same exact game with a new story that considers the existence of the older games. I'm glad the story is taking pains to explain everything because as a fan I definitely WANT to know how everything changed. I'm glad they considered the people that loved the originals for everything they were and weren't, and I can only hope that this becomes a regular Nintendo franchise. Weyard is a nifty world.

Susan Arendt:

CrystalShadow:

Susan Arendt:

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.

Yes. It's dismal.

OK. Well, if you've tried it, and it's horrible, then I guess there's nothing much that can be done.

I wouldn't even know how to begin capturing video from a device like that, considering you'd have to intercept the signal between the displays and the graphics hardware on the console...

That's difficult enough to do with a PC, and that has an open hardware standard, and displays that aren't physically attached to the hardware.

A pity really then that Nintendo is so difficult about giving anyone access to whatever hardware they use for the task.

Stevepinto3:
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?

they were two totally different ships. At least I am pretty sure.

Anyway, the old golden suns text blocks was not THAT bad, but the DS one's is OMFG TOO MUCH READING *falls asleep*

I actually have found Golden Sun: Dark Dawn to be surpassing its predecessor. I say this because I have not been able to put it down since i got it, and it follows the exact same guidelines as the originals. I see this game not for its battle system, I see it for its puzzles, and its world threatening stories. Each adept proves to be unique in their own way, and you cannot live without any of them, except Tyrell, he has been nothing but a little bastard child.

Personally I think this game was underscored, because it is the exact same, if not better, than the older titles. I would give this Four Stars at least, but what do I know?

I've got the new Golden Sun game, and to be honest, these complaints about it are pretty much the same as the other two before Dark Dawn got.

Really, it's an enjoyable game and I'm glad I made the effort to get it. =)

...Not surprised that a sequel turns out to be bad, but extremely disappointed that this one turned out to be. I mean, Golden Sun 2 was aces, so why couldn't this one be?

I am being rhetorical, yes.

Ahaha, I haven't been able to put my DS down since I got this.

Also, a tip to anyone that dies BEFORE or AT Konpa Ruins (I know I did qq) go back to Patcher's place, enter the Psynergy Training Challenge, leave, and everyone's at full health. c:

And Tyrell is an annoying brat.

On one hand, this game has a lot of stuff that frustrates me. Three (three!) points of no return in a series that I loved for how much stuff they left you to explore everywhere, even at spots near the beginning of the game. Much longer dialogue sequences than in either of the first two games. Yeah, I know, both previous games had some long ones, but this game has nothing but long ones, and whenever something happens EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOUR CHARACTERS MUST SAY SOMETHING ABOUT IT. With a party of eight plus Kraden, it gets really old as you wait for all of your characters to finish being shocked about a development you had figured out hours ago. That's another thing, is it just me or did making the characters more talkative make them, you know, dumber?

Mechanically, they got rid of the class changing items that allowed you to make four elemental classes, which is a shame, since despite most of the classes you made not being that great (the dark shaman class had the most powerful psynergy move in the game, but otherwise they were all pretty mediocre). They also made your second water adept and your second fire adept not much different from the first two, which is a shame, since that's what I loved about Piers and Jenna in Lost Age. Although it's also what I came to hate about Piers... Also...

But with all of that, it's really hard for me to ignore what the game does right. The dialogue, while mostly not great, had some funny moments that made me enjoy reading it. While a lot of people feel like the constant callbacks to the first game were excessive (and admittedly, some were), I feel like most of them let some really awesome things happen. I don't want to give away too much without spoiler tags, but the constant callbacks to the first two games game are what enables one of my favorite things about this one: psychic pirate. Yeah. It's pretty awesome.

Beyond that, mechanically they did a few things with the classes that I've wanted them to do since Lost Age.

See, earlier I griped about Piers. Here's the thing about him. His equips and stat bases are most similar to Garet's, and his base class (equipping only mercury djinn) makes him a decent warrior with access to healing psynergy. He basically comes off as Garet with slightly worse warrior stats in exchange for some of the strongest single-adept healing in the game in the ply series. Here's the problem. I almost never keep characters in their basic class. It's boring, their basic classes tend to offer the worst stats (although there are a few dual and triple element classes that are just junk, and as mentioned, the quad-element classes weren't all that great). The problem? Piers was a character with warrior stats and equips, but he wound up with Mia's class list from the first game. Mia's a mage. She's really good at most of her alternate mage classes. Most of her best armor also just happens to buff power for water, fire, or wind moves, recover PP, or do something else you really want your mage armor to do. Piers doesn't get that. He also doesn't quite have the PP to constantly cast healing psynergy or powerful attack psynergy the way Mia does. In any class but his basic class, he's pretty much just a worse version of Mia. Jenna, a mage-type character with Garet's class list, had a similar problem, but it was smaller since her attack wasn't really bad, she could still equip some of the game's best weaponry, and she had way more agility than Garet. Even when I had them both as the same class, Jenna was different enough in that she was faster so that she never felt like a waste to include on a team. Piers did, entirely because they got lazy with the class system instead of giving him at least a few warrior-type classes to use.

In this game, they solve that. While both fire adepts are warrior types and both water adepts mage types, you get access to a warrior wind adept and a mage earth adept. The good thing is they don't share the exact same class list as their counterparts. Most of the classes, but not the same classes. There are enough different ones that I never feel like I'm stuck using them in their single-element classes for them to not be useless.

I love(d) the game (as I already beat it) but there is one major irk I have with the game...

That you can't procede until you talk to THE person. If you don't talk to the right person, you'll spend your time mulling around wondering how to get into the next area, until you decide to go back and just talk to people and THEN you realize you were supposed to get item A to access area A, from some guy you just met.

It really was annoying. But I still enjoyed the game.

Actually, one more thing irked me, and that was the story(s) as it seemed to being teeling three different stories in one, and you only finish(?) one of them.

To comment on one particular part of the review:

I'd much rather spend half my commute getting lost in a game that allows me to save anywhere, than worry about missing my bus stop because the CAST WON'T STOP TALKING!

Yes, the first two games had this problem to an extent, but in this game it's ten times worse. Still enjoying it, though.

Like many, I loved Golden Sun, and its sequel. I was particuarly interested in the DS version, which... in alot of respects, could have been labaled as a remake of the first. (Swap a few pixels and some lines of dialouge around, and itd pretty much be GS 1 all over again.)

I do like that Flint has a bit of an active role. As interesting as seeing Issac and Garret toddering around are, it was even more of a delight to see Flint make his appearence, and even having a handful of speaking lines. Its nice to see that the Djinn, at least some of them, have a bit more personality than your common Pidgey.

However, some of the review is pretty spot on. Ive only just reached the Psy Energy Training grounds, which are located in the second village, and tell a neat, theme-park style recap on the first two games... and Ive already seriously grown sick and tired of hearing about my past adventures. Its all a bit heavy handed, especially when one considers that long time fans will already know this story, having experienced it, and newcomers to the series could be forgiven for assuming that this new story has little going on besides re-hashing and re-telling the games they missed.

The DS is a pretty strong platform... maybe stronger than the Wii. Id still recommend getting GS:DD just because its a decent game... there seems to have been a drought on noteworthy games for the big N this year.

Whiskey Echo!!
Mythgraven

I completely agree with the review, except for the score, it clearly deserves a 4.

I mean, for something following the standards of a Golden Sun game it deserves a 3 but when compared to all videogames, 4 for sure

Tonimata:
...Not surprised that a sequel turns out to be bad, but extremely disappointed that this one turned out to be. I mean, Golden Sun 2 was aces, so why couldn't this one be?

I am being rhetorical, yes.

If you've played the others in the series and enjoyed them, you'll like this one as well - you'll like it quite a lot, I'd wager. Susan's review is from the perspective of a new-comer who does not appear to be very fond of JRPGs anyway. Don't take her review too seriously. Everything we loved about the first two games is in here as well :)

I adored the first two games and will probably get this one simply based on the fact that it has the words 'Golden Sun' in the title. Here's hoping the summons in this one are just as over-the-top and epic as the first two (my avatar being Catastrophe and all).

Just tell me one thing...

Indignation837:
I adored the first two games and will probably get this one simply based on the fact that it has the words 'Golden Sun' in the title. Here's hoping the summons in this one are just as over-the-top and epic as the first two (my avatar being Catastrophe and all).

Just tell me one thing...

And yes, the summons are still way over the top, and fully animated this time too.

As a fan of the original two, these complaints don't really bother me. The only complaint I have is that god damned Tyrell.

I really want to play this but the horrible DS 3d is putting me off, and all the characters look so... JRPG, which I don't like. Eh im living in the past but I preferred the top down of the last games in cut scenes. I just hate that all the characters look so JRPG, especially the beast people race. They look stupid.

Brainst0rm:

Tonimata:
...Not surprised that a sequel turns out to be bad, but extremely disappointed that this one turned out to be. I mean, Golden Sun 2 was aces, so why couldn't this one be?

I am being rhetorical, yes.

If you've played the others in the series and enjoyed them, you'll like this one as well - you'll like it quite a lot, I'd wager. Susan's review is from the perspective of a new-comer who does not appear to be very fond of JRPGs anyway. Don't take her review too seriously. Everything we loved about the first two games is in here as well :)

Including the incredibly interesting and moving story and deep characters?

Onyx Oblivion:

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.

Dude, DS is region free, import it, I promise you won't be disappointed

Brainst0rm:

Tonimata:
...Not surprised that a sequel turns out to be bad, but extremely disappointed that this one turned out to be. I mean, Golden Sun 2 was aces, so why couldn't this one be?

I am being rhetorical, yes.

If you've played the others in the series and enjoyed them, you'll like this one as well - you'll like it quite a lot, I'd wager. Susan's review is from the perspective of a new-comer who does not appear to be very fond of JRPGs anyway. Don't take her review too seriously. Everything we loved about the first two games is in here as well :)

I played both of the two previous games and happen to love JRPGs. Even if I were new to the series, however, my review would stand. It's simply too easy, and the writing isn't good enough to stand up to the enormous amount of text you have to get through.

Susan Arendt:

Brainst0rm:

Tonimata:
...Not surprised that a sequel turns out to be bad, but extremely disappointed that this one turned out to be. I mean, Golden Sun 2 was aces, so why couldn't this one be?

I am being rhetorical, yes.

If you've played the others in the series and enjoyed them, you'll like this one as well - you'll like it quite a lot, I'd wager. Susan's review is from the perspective of a new-comer who does not appear to be very fond of JRPGs anyway. Don't take her review too seriously. Everything we loved about the first two games is in here as well :)

I played both of the two previous games and happen to love JRPGs. Even if I were new to the series, however, my review would stand. It's simply too easy, and the writing isn't good enough to stand up to the enormous amount of text you have to get through.

Oh. Ermmm... I'll just crawl back into my corner, then.

Okay, I agree with all of the points you make - writing is sub-par, which is a fatal flaw in a JRPG, and it's definitely easier than the originals. The step down in difficulty is a relief to me, as in retrospect I'd say the original was too hard. But I can take the writing at face-value, appreciate the intent, and enjoy the game for all the other aspects that make it so fun. Professionally, I guess I understand why you can't do that.

I'm also still wondering where all these children came from. Did all of the original female characters die in child-birth or something? Plus, who did IVAN marry? I gotta know. I had a major man-crush on him back in the day... I don't want spoilers, I guess, just want to know if it ever comes out.

Brainst0rm:
I'm also still wondering where all these children came from. Did all of the original female characters die in child-birth or something? Plus, who did IVAN marry? I gotta know. I had a major man-crush on him back in the day... I don't want spoilers, I guess, just want to know if it ever comes out.

I was wondering the exact same thing.

It's like the children just came from nowhere.

Golden Sun was my first ever GBA game, and I loved it. I also love how The second game turns the first game upside down. A very good series, but I doubt I will get this, mainly because of the million of other games I want to play these days. (WoW being one of them)

Woo, first post...

Just my two cents. It's a game worth getting and playing, even if it doesn't live up to the games that came before it. It's still very fun and occasionally challenging. "Nostalgia value" or the anticipated wait doesn't even factor into it -- TLA outranks DD on most levels. If you think otherwise, you're not using your head.

GS/TLA: Over 100 tracks total, orchestral, amazing compositions. So good I purchased the soundtrack and learned the sheet music.
DD: Less than 100 musical tracks, same tracks are recycled frequently, musical score underwhelming.

GS/TLA: Most of the dialogue actually contributed to the story or to my understanding of the characters.
DD: Feels like the characters are restating points, and there's too much revision of past events. It was fine at first, but it became excessive as time went on, even for the people entirely new to the series.

GS/TLA: Most items/djinn can be revisited.
DD: A large number of permanently missable items and djinn.

GS/TLA: Massive dungeons that took a long time to complete, some quite tiresome. (Maybe some of you would cite this as a flaw?)
DD: Shorter, more succinct dungeons. Some of the puzzles easier than previously.

Oh, and that fuckin "Onwards!" that appeared at the end of every cutscene. We can tell when a cutscene ends, Camelot.

And on I could go. The biggest improvements were, as someone pointed out, the remedy to the targeting system, the speed of random encounters, the ability to use psyenergy from multiple angles and distances, and probably more things I can't recall at this point in time.

Either way I have high hopes for the next installment for some reason, I'm not sure why.

The only thing that really disappointed me was not seeing more of the old cast, because I'm attached to them. Don't even give them a big role, just move stuff around so we can catch a glimpse. Piers was my favorite character and I don't get why he couldn't have been in that port town, rather than him "sending a letter" to the emperor. That's all it would have taken. Oh well, maybe next time?

Brainst0rm:

Susan Arendt:

Brainst0rm:

If you've played the others in the series and enjoyed them, you'll like this one as well - you'll like it quite a lot, I'd wager. Susan's review is from the perspective of a new-comer who does not appear to be very fond of JRPGs anyway. Don't take her review too seriously. Everything we loved about the first two games is in here as well :)

I played both of the two previous games and happen to love JRPGs. Even if I were new to the series, however, my review would stand. It's simply too easy, and the writing isn't good enough to stand up to the enormous amount of text you have to get through.

Oh. Ermmm... I'll just crawl back into my corner, then.

Okay, I agree with all of the points you make - writing is sub-par, which is a fatal flaw in a JRPG, and it's definitely easier than the originals. The step down in difficulty is a relief to me, as in retrospect I'd say the original was too hard. But I can take the writing at face-value, appreciate the intent, and enjoy the game for all the other aspects that make it so fun. Professionally, I guess I understand why you can't do that.

I'm also still wondering where all these children came from. Did all of the original female characters die in child-birth or something? Plus, who did IVAN marry? I gotta know. I had a major man-crush on him back in the day... I don't want spoilers, I guess, just want to know if it ever comes out.

A 3 is hardly a kiss of death, you know. :)

Not the best game ever but a great way to pass time while on the train to work. My biggest gripe with it would have to be that some of the "puzzles" were simply abstract things (e.g a statue of a lions head) that had no outside indicators of the type of ability needed to activate it, so they just put a stone next to it which basically says USE FIRE. That's not a puzzle that's a needlessly over complicated switch.

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