Golden Sun (GBA)
Like many other bored teenagers, when I was looking for something new to do, I turned to the internet to find a new video game to buy. Looking at the reviews, it seemed like Golden Sun was the game for me. Upon playing, my video game urges were pleasantly sated.
If you've played any of the games in the Final Fantasy series, you'll probably either love Golden Sun or hate Golden Sun for the very same reasons that you loved or hated Final Fantasy. The battle system is very much the same, and the characters have a rather Final Fantasy-ish flavor, except the names they have are relatively normal.
As in Final Fantasy, Golden Sun has 'summons'. They're called Djinni and they were, hands down, my favorite part of the game. They appear on the screen (unlike other foes, that you just run into by chance) and are usually in a difficult place to get. I loved the challenge of getting them, and what abilities you have or don't have varies greatly depending on which Djinn each character has equipped, which adds a lovely strategical element that Final Fantasy's brute force summons just don't have.
On top of that, Golden Sun has a lot more puzzle-based dungeons than the Final Fantasy series ever did. (Think Final Fantasy X, where they had the Chamber of the Fayth puzzles, only less obnoxious)
Now, I'm not saying that Golden Sun was a better game. It had a lot of shortcomings that were difficult to get over.
The first and foremost bother about Golden Sun was the dialogue. It had way too much of it. Big chunks, little chunks, huge monologues, it had a plethora of useless dialogue boxes with no way of skipping through them. Usually they had a large one right before every boss fight, which meant that, if you happened to perish fighting that boss, you had to listen to it all over again.
Your inventory was comparatively small, and places you could sell things were rather few and far between. So, while each character could carry small amount of items, I often found myself searching desperately for more room.
Speaking of characters, you only had four, which you played continuously. Like every single other video game in existence, you have a weak link in your party , in this case, Ivan. Unlike in the Final Fantasy series, you can't just switch him out for a better member, because you only have the four you constantly play as.
I have to say, though, that the biggest let-down of the game was the horrible ending. If you think that a story should end with at least a little bit of resolution, you're going to be rather disappointed with Golden Sun. The entire plot revolves around these four 'elemental lighthouses' that you're supposed to visit. In the end of the game, you only get to visit two. The enemies that you're chasing throughout the entire game never really get defeated, and the game ends basically in the middle of a mission. It was as though the people at Camelot decided that they'd had enough of making that game, and just cut the funding midway through.
Because of this, Golden Sun is a good length for a handheld game, (for me, a little over twenty hours), but if it meant adding on another five hours or so, just so we could have a better ending, I'd go for it.
To put it simply, Golden Sun was a good game that I had a lot of fun playing, but wasn't Hall of Fame material. It's available pretty cheap used, and is definitely worth it if you're looking to fill out your GBA arsenal.Read full review