Review by MizzMB
"Best. Game. Ever."
Before I'm gonna review this awesome game, I'd like to point out that this is my first review ever. Go ahead and flame me if I sound unprofessional.
I'll start off by introducing the game. Quite some years ago, an RPG game for the Gameboy Advance was introduced. People had pretty high expectations of it, and it turned into a great hype when it was released. I bought it somewhere in 2002, and I'm still not bored with it. Which is pretty rare. Golden Sun has great qualities and best of all, lots of things to discover even after you finished the game. Golden Sun: The Lost Age has even better qualities than its prequel. So let's take a closer look at the games, shall we?
In golden sun, you play Isaac, a boy that lost his father in a terrible storm three years ago. He travels after the ones who caused the storm, along with his friends, to stop them from lighting the elemental lighthouses. Might be a little bit common, good-guys-chase-bad-guys-to-the-edge-of-the-world-to-stop-them, but it's being twisted in a good way.
Golden sun 2 continues where golden sun ended; At the second lighthouse. In golden sun 2, you play as Felix, one of Isaac's enemies in Golden sun. Again, you travel to the lighthouses, but this time you won't prevent lighting them; you light them yourself. You team up with some people that have the same goal, and voila; there you have it, a party with almost the same qualities as Isaac's. Halfway-through the game, you team up with four others, which I won't mention for it will be a big spoiler (though you could guess it) for the ones who haven't played the game.
This is what I saw other reviewers complain about the most. Some heroes have to save the world, very cliche really. I've played through the game tons of times though, and the story still amazes me. Yes, the bad guys trying to do something and the heroes chasing after them trying to stop them to save the world is very common in RPGs, but Golden Sun gives a little twist to it. I love the way the whole alchemy story is thought up, and how the use of psynergy can help to better the world. The individual past stories of the main characters are a nice addition to the mysteries around the plot, too.
I'd give this a 10 if I wasn't as annoyed with some of the characters. People keep on saying they lack a personality, but I find that not true. If you read through all of the dialogues, you'll reckon there definitely IS a personality for each of them. It's just some of them are quite annoying. No offense to any fans of theirs, but I think Mia and Sheba are pretty lame characters. Everybody instantly loves them when they join while they're not that special and don't have a good background story (well, Sheba does, but.. you get my point).
Battle System 10/10
Instantloveplz <33 Golden Sun: TLA's battle system is simply great, easy to understand and easy to get used to. A'ight, some people don't like turn-based battles. Neither do I. But the different types of attacks seize to amaze me every time, particulary the summons. Watch them if you wanna know what I mean. The battles have improved quite a bit since Golden Sun; you have the ability to switch characters, there are new and improved summons and attacks, and so on.
Yes, I'm gonna rate even the items and equipments. Yay for my nitpickity. (is that even a word?) Anyway, Golden Sun TLA's got a great range of equipment with an even better effect in battle. All artifact weapons have a special unleash attack, that deals great damage and looks awesome in battle. And the legendary weapons, of course. The Sol Blade, Matamune, and quite some other wanted weapons are really hard to find which really leaves a challenge to the game when you've played it out.
Leveling's good here. Unless defeating some kickass boss with a character that keeps on getting downed and therefor has sticked around level 10, you'll never find yourself gaining a lot of levels really easily. They don't take too long to gain, either. The only downside, I think, is that the back row of your party only gets 50% of total experience. And even when you're at level 70 and level waaaaay too slow, there's always some exceptional enemies that give you lots of experience.
They might seem a bit monotonous at first, since they're all the same, just a different colour and name for some. There's a great difference between them all, though. Did you know some enemies leave special weapons when you attack them in a specific pattern? Or that some of them have techniques to give you maybe 60,000 EXP a battle? Also there's a great amount of different enemies, not even counting the colour changes.
Yeah, now we're talking! Golden Sun has awesome bosses, even though some of them may not be as strong as you'd expect and some are a real pain in the butt if you haven't trained enough. They all look great though, and most of them are really hard to beat too. The optional bosses, which you can defeat if you want all the summons or just more experience, are some of the strongest you'll ever meet in Golden sun. Just stating the obvious, the bosses own.
There sure are a lot of sidequest dungeons. They ain't all that hard, but some of them might require quite some thinking. But most importantly, they hold summons and incredible bosses. I do advise playing through all the possible dungeons, just so you get to see all the awesome bosses, puzzles and summons the game has to offer.
I know this isn't really a thing to rate a game on, but I do so anyway. I. Just. Love. The. Attacks. This is about the most awesome imagery of the whole game. Just unleash any summon, stare at your screen and be amazed. Not only do the summons and attacks deal great damage, most of them have awesome visual effects. It's almost impossible to not like battling in GS. Just the attack images is what made me (and probably lots of others) love the battle system.
Even though I played through Golden Sun without any walkthroughs, cheats or whatever, I found myself having quite some problems with some of the TLA puzzles. Most of them got really hard at the sidequest dungeons, I often found myself taking an hour to get through them. Even if so, it IS playable without walkthroughs. It isn't THAT hard you want to throw your GBA out of the closest window, and wishes it hits someone you hate in its flight or something.
The music's just plain amazing. Nothing more to it. Alright, some tunes get monotonous after long dungeons, but nevertheless, the other great themes make up for them. There are about 100 themes, which is pretty much considering there ain't that many dungeons by far. Almost every cave and town has a theme of their own, which never makes the music boring. The only thing that might be annoying would be that some of the themes be quite repetitively in long dungeons.
This is mainly why Golden Sun got this popular, no? It has the BEST graphics I've ever seen on GBA, and that is saying something. The battle backgrounds, maps, sprites, dungeons, and especially the summons are the best piece of GBA art I've ever seen. While the sprites do seem a bit messy when on the world map, they fit in great with the other dungeons, towns, and battle scenes.
The ending, was, again, pretty expected. But unexpected too, in a way. My (and lots of other people's) guess is that, with an ending like this, there has to be a golden sun 3 sooner or later..
Did I state this before? Probably. I've owned Golden Sun ever since it was being sold here in the Netherlands, and I'm still not sick of it. I've played through it loads of timesand still not discovered everything to it. Golden Sun: TLA, which I only got recently, has gained a place among my top three games ever easily. In other words, it's even more awesome than it's prologue.
Rent or buy?
Buy. Definitely. You've gotta rent this game for a really long time if you really want to discover all there's to it. To put it simply, it's one of the most awesome games ever. That's all there's to it.
Battle system 10/10
Ending score: 9,6
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 03/30/06
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