Review by Terren
"No matter what anyone says about this sequel, it is a definite improvement over the original."
I have to say that i am not a fanboy of Golden Sun 1. Actually, i will confess that i did not even particularly like Golden Sun 1. I felt that game cheated me out of my money because as graphically sound as the game was, the story was bland and it did not even finish. Well, to my luck i had an extra $50 dollars ($can$) lying around, and said to myself ''What the heck, i deserve to see the ending'', and got myself The Lost Age; a good move.
The first Golden Sun blew RPG gaming on the Gameboy advance (as well as any other genre for that matter) out of the water when dealing with graphics. Excellent animation, rotating battle effects, incredible particle affects, other added graphical effects, etc... make this game a 'you have to see it to believe it' deal. Sure, the graphics haven't changed much since the original, but what can you expect when you've already tapped into the fullest of the GBA's capabilities. As for new improvements, The Lost Age has more spells to amaze you, as well as a lot more sprite animations that help the game tell the story better. If there is one thing wrong with the graphics, is that they took away a couple of animations from the original. Most people would not see this, but in the original, using douse to fill a basin, you would actually see a puddle forming until it was full. In The Lost Age, you would see douse, and when it stopped, the basin was instantly filled. Now, to say that's the only problem in this game graphically speaking is why I gave this section a 10.
Ok, a lot of songs have been reused from the original Golden Sun. This may be a bad thing, but some of them are good to listen to. New additions are welcome as well, and there is a good variety. But the complexity of the songs and the way it sounds on the GBA is why this deserves a high score. For eg; you don't hear digitized humming, you hear a clear flute sound.
The plot in Golden Sun was sub-par. It was your most basic formula for an RPG game. A group of bad guys are trying to gain power by completing a task and you have been appointed to stop them. Original plot elements were added to make it seem less bland, like the reappearance of a long lost brother who has sided with the bad guys, as well as the kidnapping of friends. The good thing about The Lost Age is that you are now taking the side of the 'bad guys'. Of course, you killed them in the first, but for some reason (unknown in the beginning) your party still wants to complete that task, and your old Golden Sun party was set on stopping you in the original. The best thing about The Lost Age is that is seems so much less linear than the first. It is your choice to go anywhere, especially when you finally get some better means of transportation.
The battle system has not changed at all. People say that is a bad thing, but personally i would find it odd if it had. This isnt a completely different game, it is a continuation. The battle system is very simple, and it works. It can be simplistic to younger players, but can also be complicated to older players based on how it is used. People can take advantage of the class change and djinni system. There are many possibilities to explore, and with the addition of way more djinni, it adds to this sequal. Psynergy system was great in the first, and the inclusion of a lot more psynergies in the second is great; lots more opportunities and puzzle elements. People also say that they do not like that fact that if one person is set to attack a previously killed enemy, he/she will defend instead of attacking the next enemy in line. This has been done in every single RPG, and if they made it like that, twice as many people would be bashing the game that it would be too simplistic and made for 2 year olds. Some people don't fear strategy. Good job camelot.
Also, as good as the puzzles and dungeons were in Golden Sun, the puzzles and dungeons in The Lost Age have improved immensely. Now you have to think what to do next. Wow, a game that makes you think! Quick, go tell your parents! In any case, dungeons aren't the same 'wander around and move a random crate', they are very complex and interesting. You feel as if you actually want to finish this dungeon, it isn't a chore just to get to the next town.
Replay Value: 8/10
Golden Sun one had a bit of replay value, but only to catch all of the djinn. The Lost Age has the replay value that makes you wonder how your game would go if you went to this place instead of that one. Oh, and more djinn means more replay value. The Lost Age is a lot longer than the original too. Also, there are stone tablets that unlock summons that you may not have gotten the first time around that you want to get the second or third time. RPG's always have replay value. In two years you have the hankering to play it again just for the hell of it.
This is a worthy sequal to the original Golden Sun. Some said the first became so popular just because of its graphical capabilities, and as a straight RPG it was nothing special. This has certainly changed in The Lost Age. And remember, i didn't even like Golden Sun 1, so what i must be saying is genuine. The Lost Age is what an RPG should be.
Rent or Buy?
Haven't played the original? Rent the original, or just buy it. Played the original and didn't like it? Rent this one, don't let the first deter you from The Lost Age (I didn't like it, bought it anyways). And if you liked the original, then you probably own this game already and are enjoying it right now.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 04/20/03, Updated 04/20/03
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