Title: Golden Sun
Genre: Traditional RPG
Console: Game Boy Advance
Nintendo was never known as an RPG company. Sure the NES and SNES hosted some of the greatest RPG's the video game world has ever seen, but they were made by companies like Squaresoft and Enix. Yes, they made Super Mario RPG, but that was with the assistance of Squaresoft. And of course they have Pokemon, but how many people really consider that a hardcore role playing game? Nintendo junkies might point to Fire Emblem and Zelda, but the former was a strategy game and the latter was an action RPG. Nintendo thrived on familiar mascot characters and good action gameplay. What hope could it have with a traditional RPG with the unknown characters of Isaac and Garet? If you go into Golden Sun with this mentality, you're in for a pleasant suprise.
First of all, Golden Sun really shows off the Gameboy Advance's power. Golden Sun has 3-D characters running around a nice looking world from a 3/4 perspective. The fight scenes also look great, with a moving camera and excellent looking sprites. If this game had FMV's, it would rival Final Fantasy VII in the graphics department. When other GBA games are simply rehashes of old SNES games, Golden Sun is a new title, and looks the part.
As far as sound goes, Golden Sun is well done. The sound effects add appeal to the game, with violent sounds of damage during battle and the appropriate beeping in the menu screen. The music is good, especially when one considers that it's coming from the GBA's tiny speaker, although some of it can get repetitive. There's no single track that stands above the others, which is somewhat disappointing, when one remembers that it is produced by Nintendo, whose brilliant Zelda, Metroid, and Mario themes are still remembered, but all in all, it's not a bad soundtrack.
Storyline. Many a Nintendo fanboy shudders at this word. Yet somehow, Golden Sun pulls off a very good plot. Golden Sun's plotline is actually pretty involved, and does a good job of drawing in the gamer. The only problem are the long dialogues that sometimes seem to run in circles, yet even these are bearable since they all serve to further the story. The game's ending is a bit disappointing though, and after playing this, the gamer will definately be watching the shelves for Golden Sun 2. The characters are likeable but not loveable, similar to underdeveloped supporting characters in some Final Fantasy games. They oftentimes seem to similar, and nothing they say seems out of character, if only because they lack personality.
Nintendo games are known for good gameplay, and Golden Sun is no exception. The Djinn system, which is used to alter character stats, class, abilities, magic, and summons, is very effective and provides for plenty of experimenting. Unfortunately, the game is easy enough to be completed at the default setting, as even the optional boss proves to be no real challenge. It's fairly long for a portable game, though there's not much replay value, except for maybe going back to find all the djinn.
In all, Golden Sun is a cool game, especially for those long car rides or some other place where you might want play a portable game. If you're looking for the next Final Fantasy, you're not looking in the right place, but if you're just looking for a great RPG that will keep you occupied, Golden Sun will not disappoint.
Replay Value: 7.0
Reviewer's Tilt: 9.0
Dark Mistress' Reviews
Golden Sun Reviews
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