Game Review: Golden Sun

Geek Specs:
Title: Golden Sun
Platform: Gameboy Advance
Genre: RPG
Developer: Camelot Software Planning
Publisher: Nintendo
Release: November 12, 2001

Introduction: Personally, I absolutely adore RPG games. They have given me an immense amount of entertainment over the many years I have been playing video games. However, hand-held consoles have been a dark-horse of such for RPG games. Now with the awesome power of Nintendo's Gameboy Advance, developers finally have the chance to create quality RPG's which we can play wherever we are. The first true RPG game released on the GBA is Golden Sun. Let's see how good it is.

Review: Golden Sun, from Camelot and Nintendo is, as I mentioned earlier, the first RPG on the new Gameboy Advance system. The game starts with the main character, Isaac, awaking in his room during a powerful storm. Your mother tells you to run to the plaza because of the boulders falling from the top of the mountain your village is located in. On the way though, you find a young boy who is struggling to hang on to a small tree stump in a raging river. Because the townsfolk around you have run out of 'psynergy' to save him, you must find help to rescue him. When you have gotten help though, a boulder rolls down, killing all the bystanders and the young boy. Then you encounter a man and a woman discussing the awesome power of 'alchemy' and how it unleashed the destructive boulders. You then try to take them on in a battle but you are easily overpowered. Left for dead, so begins the first part of Golden Sun.

Golden Sun is designed a bit differently from other RPG games like the Final Fantasy series. It mixes features found in the earlier FF games, like the use of magic, which is called 'psynergy' in Golden Sun but also includes the equivalent of Guardian Forces from FF8, instead called 'Djinn'. Now don't ask me how to pronounce that but I do know that it is the Arabic word for genie. Djinn work similarly to the G.F's of FF8, simply they affect stats, psynergies your characters know and learn and finally, Djinn affect your characters type. Like in FF8 you can unleash these Djinn in battle each with their own effect, and then when you unleashed enough of them, you can summon mighty forces to help you out in battle. These 'summons' are your most devastating form of attack so you will most likely use them a lot. When you do use a summon, the screen changes like in the FF games and it still takes a while to see them do their stuff. Luckily, you can simply skip their sequences by pressing the B button on your controller. There are a total of 28 Djinn separated into four groups depending on their element. I could go on for much longer about the Djinn and psynergy in Golden Sun but I am not here to bore you am I?

This game isn't perfect however, for an RPG it is very short and is fairly easy if you know how to use your Djinn and summons effectively. I had little trouble getting through this game. There are some tough challenges though where it is unclear as to what you have to do. Sometimes you reach a dead end, but there is a hidden door that requires a special type of psynergy to reveal its location. One other problem with Golden Sun is that there are many bad parts to the plot where you just feel like turning off for a while.

However, there are some great parts to Golden Sun. One is the graphics. This game has some of the best graphics I have seen so far, especially the special effects when you strike an enemy with your Djinn and summons. The characters look brilliant as well, so does the scenery, well you get the picture, everything looks good. Also, Golden Sun includes a very unique multiplayer function, where players can either battle each other with their party or they can try and seehow far you can make it in a 'gauntlet' as such. This gauntlet is basically pitting your army against battle after battle of monsters. A good multiplayer experience which helps a bit with the games lastability considering how short the actual story part to the game is.

Conclusion: Golden Sun is a good start for RPG games on the GBA. I had loads of fun playing it but it is with its flaws like the games length. I completed it in just under twenty hours which is pretty short for an RPG game. It is still a fun game to play and with a sequel being confirmed and Square announcing that they are interested in the GBA, it seems that Square might have a rival. Only time will tell.

Ratings: (scale of 0.0 - 5.0)

Gameplay: 4.0 Graphics: 5.0
Golden Sun offers a unique way to play a RPG game with great results. With the Djinn, psynergies, and summons there is a bit of tweaking required to find the best performance for your party. The game is short though, there are only four characters you control in the game and the plot isn't the best, but it is easy to play and get into which also helps people enjoy the game. The graphics in Golden Sun are absolutely amazing. Everything looks fantastic. The way the characters look might look funny at first but it blends into the story well. You then look at the graphics in the battle and you are treated to more brilliance.

Sound: 5.0 Overall: 4.5
Golden Sun really shines when it comes to sound. The background music is great to listen to and the sound effects during the battles are also quite fantastic. The sounds of your weapons though sounds a bit the same but they still sound great. This is a very good RPG. What it lacks in length, it makes up in graphics and sound. I have always said though that gameplay is more important than graphics. If they made the game a bit longer this could have been close to receiving a perfect 5. I still recommend this game though to anyone who wants a quality RPG to play.

G'Day It's Aidan


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