Review by Schlave
"As golden as promised"
Yes, it's another RPG. Famed in the world of GBA and very popular. Made by Square, you say? Yes, of course. YEAH, RIGHT!!!
Coming back to the point, this masterpiece of Camelot's rivals Squaresoft's own RPGs and is frequently compared to Final Fantasy 6. In some ways, it is different. Magic Energy, or Mana, is replaced by PsyEnergy (but it's still magical energy all the same). Good old equipping of tools on characters takes a place in Golden Sun. It's almost everything an RPG fan would have wanted.
What's so good about Golden Sun, for one thing, is its sound and music. When I say music, I mean music. Tinny noises and a repetitive 7 second tune isn't what I call music, but the great synchronized/orchestrated tunes booming out of your small GBA system easily makes me marvel at the extent to which Golden Sun stretches the limits of GBA's audio ability. Each song fits the mood of the current situation, for example walking about in your ol' hometown, Vale, or in the middle of a volcanic eruption. The music adds plenty to the mood of Golden Sun. I could sit back and listen to it forever. The sounds of the rumbles, crashes, thumps etc. all very well done. Congratulations to Camelot.
Ah, yes, gameplay! The essence of all RPGs! Basically, you have your good old system of buying stuff and equipping it into your character, for example weapons or armor. You have your good old teammate system, in which you can take three people with you to fight the forces of evil. You have back your awesome magical spells. And the classical battle system - you see yourself and the enemy, and when you attack, you/your teammate leaps forward to dig his blade into the enemy, with awesome effects. And they even have a new system reminiscent of Pokemon - collection and usage of Djinns, in a highly similar way.
What I didn't like was the presence of long-drawn, boring and repetitive conversations - they even put in the emoti-bubbles, which roughly showed how that certain character was feeling now. That might have been nice to look at for a little, but it gets very boring and irritating to go through one long conversation. And you even have to answer yes or no to certain ''duh'' questions, although they still lead to the same thing! That could easily have been done away with.
And Golden Sun even great graphics to drool over. The warm glow of a furnace, excellent water graphics, brilliant face art and illustration (god! There ARE some pretty girls around Vale!) and lushly decorated maps. And you would be amazed at the graphics and effects during a battle. A single slash is made 10 times more impressive simply because of the extremely good graphics! Sometimes, you'll be casting spells simply to marvel at how impressive they are! WHAT did Camelot do with the GBA?!
Graphics (10/10) - Great battle and PsyEnergy effects. Lush and huge, not to mention beautifully decorated, maps with cool facial illustrations.
Gameplay (8.5/10) - I hated the conversations, but otherwise the storyline is pretty good, classical battle system brings tears into your eyes, the CORRECT use of something like Pokemon - magnificent!
Audio/Music (9.5/10) - As good as a Squaresoft effort. Soothing and tension-causing, non-repetitive songs booming out of the GBA, which fit the mood precisely. Sound effects done quite well.
Replayability (7.5/10) - It's a looong quest. But like all RPGs, it'll be over. But you'll probably play it for another time or two before shelving for quite a long period of time.
Buy or Rent? - If you don't like RPGs, rent this one to see if it will change your mind (it doesn't focus on any love story! **cough cough Final Fantasy 8 cough cough**). If you love RPGs, this one is for you. I'd buy it.
Overall, if you bought this game and regretting that you missed Advance Wars even before you've played this game, don't worry, it's worth every cent! However, like all RPGs, it's hard to get by without a good walkthrough, but if you're the adventurous type who adores RPGs, BUY!
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 11/19/01, Updated 11/19/01
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