Review by Bkstunt_31
"The must-have follow up game for anyone who's beat Golden Sun."
Golden Sun: The Lost Age is a direct sequel of the first game in the series, Golden Sun. Since this game picks off right where the first one left off (story-wise), I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who hasn't already played through the first Golden Sun.
This game is essentially an RPG with many puzzles in it.
As I've stated before, the story carries on from the story in the first Golden Sun, as you see the world through the view of Felix, one of the assumed villains that Issac and his team were trying to stop. This kind of story telling is similar to Arc the lad: Twilight of the Spirits in the fact that you switch between main characters. You are now seeing the plot through Felix's eyes, and continue to work towards the goal he started in Golden Sun.
As in the first Golden Sun, Felix, being the party leader, is asked for his opinion many times throughout the game, which helps draw you into the story and makes you think about the plot, rather than wading through walls of dialogue. Unfortunately, it often doesn't matter what answer you choose, as the game usually has a preset path that you are going to follow. Felix also assumes the "silent hero" role as Issac did in the previous game. Each member in Felix's party (as seen on the box cover) is also an adept, each able to use a different form of psyenergy, and each having their own distinctive personality.
For anyone who thought that the first Golden Sun game was too short, you will have plenty of time to enjoy this one. The story is about twice the length of the original.
The gameplay is also very similar to the original Golden Sun. Each character and enemy has a certain order to attack, depending on how fast they are. You can also use your psyenergy (magic) in and out of battle. You will be using it out of battle alot, as it is needed to solve various puzzles throughout the game. Some of the later puzzles can be quite hard to figure out, which I think dispels the rumors that this is game is aimed at younger audiences. There is a much bigger variety of psyenergy to choose from in this game, compared to the original, with more classes and spells to explore.
The little creatures known as Djinn also make a re-appearance. Golden Sun: The Lost Age adds a whole new set of Djinn in the game, each with their own special abilities, as well as keeping all of the Djinn from the previous game available (if you utilized the transfer function, that is). The Djinn act as your characters unique skill set, and also add to their stats. By mixing and matching different kinds of Djinn, you can customize each of your characters job title and psyenergy abilities.
Djinn are also used to summon creatures to attack for you, at the cost of not being able to use any of the individual Djinn's attacks that you used in order to summon, and reduced stats. This is only a temporary effect, though, as you'll soon regain all the Djinn, one per turn, until you get them all back again. One drastic difference between this game and the original Golden Sun is the fact that you have a much bigger variety of summonable creatures in this game. You learn how to summon creature that are made out of two different elements as you progress through the game by finding stone tablets that teach you, though some of the final (and most powerful) summons tablets can be quite hard to find and require that you defeat some optional, powerful bosses.
The amount of weapons and armor in this game that you can equip is staggering. Much more than the first Golden Sun. You do have a limited amount you can carry, though, so you will have to be very selective of what you want to go with you. You can also collect craftable materials as you play through the game, which you can use to make a variety of new items by taking them to a certain blacksmith. Also making a return from the original is the various mini-games, such as the slot machine, the dice table, and the coin toss game. These are a fun little distraction when your not busy saving the world.
The graphics in the game are all top-notch. It is pretty much Golden Sun version 2.0. Most things look the same as they did in the original, but are done much better. The world map has more of a variety of places to visit, and each one of them looks fantastic. Also returning are the weapon skills, where a special weapon will "unleash" a skill at random, often producing some great graphical effects. There are about twice as many in this game than the original Golden Sun. The summons are the real treat, however. Each one looks fantastic, while the last ones are drop-dead gorgeous. It is definitely worth it to obtain each one, if just to see their animations at work.
The character designs are very well done. Since most of these characters were introduced in the original Golden Sun, you would expect this. The few who aren't, though, look great. The enemies look great as well, though they still re-use some of the enemy designs. A lot of them have their own special skills that they will use, which look great, especially the bosses. Whenever a character is talking on screen, a box with their picture will pop up, which is great for keeping track of who's talking during the often long conversations they have with each other. Graphically speaking, it doesn't get much better than this for your Gameboy Advance.
Music & Sound effects: 8/10
The music is quite good, and in my opinion, is an improvement over the original Golden Sun, although the dungeons are still rather bland. A couple of the up-beat tunes will keep your interest peaked as you progress throughout the game, with some certain theme music being played whenever you come to an important plot point, or a characters resolution to continue fighting. The sound effects are still your standard fare for the most part, though. Psyenergy still has that peculiar sound when used outside of battle, and whenever the characters talk all you'll here is a muffled scribbling noise. All the sound effects are done well, most of them being carried over from the first Golden Sun.
There aren't very many reasons to play through the game again, but there are quite a few optional things you can do before you finish it! This includes finding all of the hidden summons, collecting any Djinn or items you may have missed, and exploring all of the optional dungeons, some of which can be very hard to find by yourself. There is also the battle arena feature available, where you can choose to battle a friend to determine who has the strongest team.
Although this game gets the same score I gave Golden Sun (an 8), it trumps it in almost every way (It is definitely a higher 8 than that of Golden Sun). It is a great RPG for anyone who owns a Gameboy Advance. I can warn you from personal experience that you probably shouldn't stop playing for long periods of time, as it is very hard to pick back up on the story if you do (some sort of log, or journal entry would have fixed that problem easily). This game is still incredibly popular since the day it came out. Sadly, there are no plans as of now for any future Golden Sun games, but we can always hope, right? Have fun & keep playing! Later...
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 03/26/07
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