Review by Distriv

"Still Shining Bright"

A direct sequel to the original ''Golden Sun'', ''GS: The Lost Age'' is the second chapter in a (hopefully) ongoing story. With the second installment you take on the roles of characters from the original but not whom you expect. This continuation is wonderful, Camelot has brought us a great sequel to a great game. Be prepared to be glued to the tiny screen of the Game Boy Advance for another journey through the world of Wyard.

Story- 10/10
''The Lost Age'' starts several minutes before the first game ended. If you have not played the original I highly recommend it. At the start of the game there is a lengthy text-scroll recapping the events of the first game but it left me trying to remember all of the details of the first game. As the game progresses the story becomes clearer leading up to a great ending. This is what an RPG story should be like.

Gameplay- 9/10
This is one of the areas of the game that has not changed from the original. A few improvements have been made such as the control of a ship, and a reduced number of random battles. One aspect of the game that I really enjoyed was the difficulty. The battle aspect of the game is the same difficulty as the first game but the dungeons are a different story. The number of psynergies available for use outside of battle leads to many great puzzles. I was left scratching my head over many of them. The one reason I did not give the game a 10 for gameplay was the fact that at some points I had no idea where to go next. Sometimes I ended up traversing the huge world map several times before I reached the correct destination. Of course this also had me exploring all the map had to offer. Returning from the first game is the battle arena. You can fight monsters that you have encountered in the main game. Also if you have 2 systems, 2 games, and a link cable, you can pit your party against another person's. A final addition that I liked very much was the updating of the save system. You can now save anywhere in the game and not like the quick saves in the first game that disappeared once you started them up again. This saves you the headache of having to constantly redo things if you die due to an unexpected boss (there are a few).

Graphics- 10/10
This game pushes the Gameboy Advance to its limits. The world map is very nice looking and so are the dungeons and towns but what sticks out in my mind are battles. Like in the original Golden Sun your characters can summon massive creatures. They are beautifully designed and animate wonderfully. In addition to the summons the Djinn, psynergies, and special attacks unleashed by some weapons look great.

Sound- 10/10
''The Lost Age'' offers an epic soundtrack. The boss fights get an epic feel when the intense music starts to play. Like a film, a games emotional impact comes partly from the music. ''The Lost Age'' has the right kind of music at the right time and it is some of the best I have heard come out of the handheld. While the sound effects sometimes sound a little generic there are plenty of them to make up for it. No game on the Gameboy Advance (except for the original ''Golden Sun'') can equal the quality found here. Overall this game makes you wanted to buy the Gameboy Advance SP headphone jack so you don't ever have to turn the sound down, no matter where you are.

Play Time- 10/10
I completed the game in 30 hours. I think that is great for a handheld. The other Gameboy Advance RPG I have (Breath of Fire 2) lasted me about 20 hours, so I was glad to get another 10 out of ''The Lost Age''. Considering the price, this game is a great length (about 1 dollar per hour of the game).

Replayability- 7/10
I had a great time with this game so in the future I will definitely want to play through it again. In addition to that, once you beat the game you unlock a hard mode, which should be interesting.

Final- 10/10 (not an average)
In closing I would like to say that besides the original you cannot find an RPG on the Gameboy Advance that equals ''Golden Sun: The Lost Age''. It is one of the best RPG's I have played. ''Golden Sun: The Lost Age'' has an epic feeling that comes from the original story, and wonderful characters. If you like RPG's and you own a GBA purchase this game now (if you have not played the first ''Golden Sun'' buy that first).

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 05/05/03, Updated 05/05/03

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