Review by Super Slash
"Easily one of the best RPGs I've ever played"
In November of 2001, an RPG called Golden Sun was released for the GBA. It was the very first RPG to be released on the GBA, and it was a big hit at the time. In 2003, the sequel was released. This was known as Golden Sun: The Lost Age, which continued off of the plot from the first game. I loved the original Golden Sun, and this one is also very good and fun. I highly recommend it if you've played the original.
If you haven't played the original, then you more than likely won't fully understand the story. When you create a new file, the game explains to you everything that happened in the original, although it doesn't go into full detail. When the game begins, you start out at the Venus Lighthouse, just before the beacon is lit, with Jenna, Kraden and Alex having a conversation. From the point where this game starts, the story is about Felix having to light the other two beacons, with the help of Jenna, Kraden and Sheba. Kraden isn't a party member, although he does stay with you for the whole game. You have to fulfill Felix's role in this game, rather than Isaac's. Overall, though, if you don't understand the original game's story, you probably won't like this one.
In this game, there is a way you can transfer the data of your other characters over to this game. You can transfer your Djinn, levels, coins, items, and stats. There are three different transfer types: Bronze, Silver, and Gold. Bronze only allows you to transfer your character's levels and Djinn, and is the shortest password of them all (it's not even two pages long). Silver allows you to transfer your character's levels, Djinn, and stats, and is a medium length password. Gold lets you transfer over pretty much everything your original characters had from the original Golden Sun (Djinn, levels, coins, items, and stats). However, it's a six page long password, and all of the passwords are case-sensitive. This means that if you enter the Gold password and it says it is incorrect, you have to go back over to the original Golden Sun (unless you wrote it down somewhere) and make sure you got every letter right, caps or non-caps. This is one of the flaws of the game, and can make transferring your data over a pain. You can transfer the data of your TLA file over at any time up until you meet Isaac and the others, since you play as Felix and his group in this game.
You'll also notice that Isaac is no longer mute in this game, like he was in GS1. However, Felix is mute for 98% of the game, and only talks on very few scenes. If you transferred your data over from the original Golden Sun, certain events will occur. If you saved Hammet in GS1, you'll get a prize from someone later in the game, which is a forgeable item. If you saved Hsu in GS1, Feizhi will find Felix in Champa, asking if he knows where Isaac is. If you talked to the mayor of Vault after defeating the bandits in GS1, they'll appear in Madra and fight Felix and the others, since he knows Isaac. If you became the champion of Colosso in GS1, then you'll have to fight Navampa, Azart, and Satrage again later in the game. There might be some more stuff I'm forgetting, but those are some of the events that will occur if you transferred your data and did certain things in GS1. There also more Djinn to obtain in this game, making the Djinn total as much as 72. The Djinn are also much harder to find in this game than they were in the original.
And finally, I'll explain the battle system for those who have never played the original Golden Sun. It's a turn-based RPG (similar to Final Fantasy games and such), where you can either attack normally with your weapon, use Psynergy (basically your spells), or use your Djinn. The Djinn are strange creatures that up your stats permenately, and there are four different types: Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Mercury. Venus is earth-elemental, Mars is fire-elemental, Jupiter is shadow-elemental (or something like that), and Mercury is water-elemental. When you use them in battle, they do certain things to an enemy or to an ally, then they go in Standby mode where they're unusable until you use a summon. Use a summon to make a Djinni of the summon's type go into Set mode, where it takes a few turns before the Djinni is useable. In this game, you can find stone tablets which give you summons, something that wasn't in GS1. This game is also very long, and is at least three times longer than GS1. If you're looking for a really long and fun RPG, get this one.
The graphics have improved a bit since GS1, but they're basically the same in a lot of ways. Many people (including me) love the graphics of this game and GS1, especially since the graphics are as good as they can get on the GBA. In battle, the characters and enemies look realisitic. The bosses, however, look a little pixelated, especially the huge ones. It's not much of a problem, though, and is easily tolerable. All of the Psynergy spells look fantastic, and I can't find many flaws with the graphics at all.
The sound isn't so bad either. It hasn't improved all that much since the original Golden Sun, either. You'll still hear the sound of your character's weapons hitting the enemy, the Psynergy spells pounding the enemy, and more. The sound is actually pretty good, and there isn't much more to say about it.
Although the music in this game isn't as good as the original Golden Sun, it's still good at some points. Not only did they include some of the old tracks, they also made some new ones, some of which are pretty decent. They left some good tracks in from the original game, such as the theme that plays in the Sol Sanctum (which plays in the Anemos Sanctum in this game). Overall, the music is pretty decent, and is not a pain to listen to or anything.
Replay Value: 7/10
Since this game is so long, you'll probably want to quickly finish it during your first playthrough after awhile. Once you beat the game, however, there's still some stuff to do. There are quite a few side quests you can attempt which end up giving you some of the best summons in the game. Not only that, but you can go back and get any missing Djinn you didn't get before beating the game. Overall, the replay value in this game is decent, but not excellent.
After reviewing this entire game, I give it a score of a nine out of ten. If you're a fan of RPGs or a fan of the original Golden Sun, then by all means, get this game. You won't regret it, trust me. If you aren't a fan of RPGs, though, then I suggest just borrowing it from a friend first. I hope you liked this review, and I hope that it helped you make a decision on whether or not you should get the game. Until my next review, everybody!
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 11/26/07
Game Release: Golden Sun: The Lost Age (US, 04/14/03)
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