Review by Super Slash
"The power of the sun in the palm of your hand"
Golden Sun is an RPG for the Game Boy Advance, which was released in 2001. It was considered by many to be one of the best RPGs ever, and the best RPG to ever be released on a portable system. I once played this game and didn't get very far at all, but I played through it again and then beat it. I really liked it, although the game is not perfect in any way. I will explain why.
The story is pretty mediocre and bland, for the most part. The game starts out with a young boy named Isaac, who is thirteen years old at the present time. He woke up one stormy morning with his hometown, Vale, in danger. He goes outside to investigate, and he finds out that the cause of it is two strange-looking warriors. He and his friend Garet attempt to fight the duo, but they don't stand a chance against them. A giant boulder falls down onto Vale, and the villagers use strange magic known as Psynergy to attempt to stop the boulder from falling any closer to the village. They do not succeed, however, and the boulder crashes into Vale. It crashes onto a body of water where a young boy named Felix was. It is assumed he is dead, but he's found out to be alive very soon after. After the incident on Vale, the game takes place three years later. At this point, Isaac is 16 years old (almost seventeen). It turns out that the warrior's names are Saturos and Menardi, and they want to get the Elemental Stars to power up the lighthouses. When powered up, the lighthouses could destroy the world. The story may sound good, but it doesn't get any better than that. Once you find it out, it stays that way for practically the whole game.
Here's where the game really shines. This game plays like an RPG (as in, a turn-based battle system), but with some new features added to it. Outside of battle, you have to use Psynergy to progress through many areas. Certain abilities do certain things, and you'll need to use lots of them in order to get through the game. However, you don't learn more Psynergy by simply leveling up and nothing more. Around the big world of Golden Sun are strange little creatures called Djinni. They look sort of like rats, and there are four different types. When you find one and capture it, you'll either have to fight it or it will just join you without a fight. Either way, you can equip these Djinni onto your characters. Depending on the combination of Djinni you set onto your characters, you'll get a different class on that character and learn more Psynergy. Not only that, but Djinni can also be used in battle. After using them, you can use summons, which is how you can really dish out damage. However, despite all of this, there are still some flaws with the gameplay. For example, there aren't many bosses to fight compared to most RPGs, and the character's conversations are extremely bland and, most of the time, plain out boring.
During the game, in every conversation, you will find that your party members repeat themselves over and over. They will say someone's name five times in two sentences, for example. They will also point out the obvious most of the time, and you'll also frequently see expressions appear above their faces. This happens with all of the characters, not just your party members. This game gets a two thumbs up for trying something new, though.
The graphics are nothing spectacular, but they aren't exactly bad either. For a GBA game, the graphics are pretty good. All of the character designs are good (although each time a character gets done talking, they'll wiggle like they have muscle spasms), the backgrounds and scenery is beautiful, and more. The graphics are anything but bad, actually.
The music isn't so bad either. It's nothing you'd just want to listen to all day like a lot of RPGs, but still, there are a few tracks that are pretty good. I especially like the boss theme and the Venus Lighthouse theme. However, there are a few more than that which I enjoyed a lot, and I'm sure you would too. Some of the tracks, however, I just found plain out stupid. That doesn't change the fact that all RPGs (including this one) have some good tracks.
Just like the music, the sound isn't bad either. In fact, that's probably one of the most non-flawed parts of the game. The sounds never really get annoying. You'll hear the sound of you grabbing onto something with the Move Psynergy, for example. All of these sounds aren't so bad, and don't really get annoying.
Replay Value: 7/10
After you beat the game, there's not much else that you can find to do. Once you do clear the game, you're given the option to save your game. This means that your current file is no longer playable, unless you saved it to a seperate slot when you beat the game. If this is the case, then you can go back and do the Crossbone Isle side quest, and you can also go back and get any missing Djinni. There are many Djinni to find, too, so finding all of them without using a guide should be a challenge! There's also another side quest besides Crossbone Isle that you can attempt.
Buy or Rent?
I'm not sure if you can even rent GBA games, but if you're a fan of RPGs, by all means buy the game. If you're not sure if you'll enjoy it, however, just borrow it from a friend or something first. If you like it, buy it as soon as you can. Despite the few flaws in the game, it's still highly enjoyable and has much to offer.
After reviewing this entire game, I give it a score of an eight out of ten. It's a great RPG, and the Psynergy thing is pretty cool, but the game does have its flaws. Overall, however, it's still a pretty good game that you can play on some long trips. I hope you liked this review, and I hope that it helped you decide whether to play the game or not. Until my next review, everyone!
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 09/26/07
Game Release: Golden Sun (US, 11/11/01)
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