Golden Sun: Dark Dawn

Golden Sun: Dark Dawn

released on Oct 28, 2010

Golden Sun: Dark Dawn

released on Oct 28, 2010

After going dark six years ago, 2010 will see a new dawn. Golden Sun DS updates the popular portable Golden Sun role-playing series with an impressive graphical style. This installment follows the story of the previous heroes' descendants and immerses players into the magic of its adventure by pushing the boundaries of intuitive touch-screen controls.

Also in series

Golden Sun: The Lost Age
Golden Sun: The Lost Age
Golden Sun
Golden Sun

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Je l'avais bien aimé à sa sortie et puis aujourd'hui, il lui manque en effet beaucoup pour rester un bon JRPG. Inégale est le terme qui lui convient tant toute une partie semble être rushée (je pense à 2 personnages complètement effacés). Mais au fond, Golden Sun est bien là. L'exploration des donjons est super, les classes sont vraiment sympa, juste le scénar n'aide vraiment pas...

Golden Sun Dark Dawn was the first Golden Sun I ever played. I had always been interested in the series, but I never got around to playing it until I lucked out in getting a physical copy of Dark Dawn. Its been years since I last played it, and since then I’ve finally gotten around to playing the original two Golden Suns. With that, while I still really enjoyed Dark Dawn, I’ve noticed a lot more of the issues it has, both ones that are the fault of the game, and those that aren’t. Dark Dawn is a game that could entirely change quality-wise depending on if a new Golden Sun ever releases, as this game is just an incomplete storyline. Even then, Dark Dawn still has some innate design choices that I entirely disagree with, so even if the game gets a sequel, it’ll still be flawed.

To begin, Dark Dawn may be the most engaging of the trilogy when looking at combat. It fully polishes out the combat of prior Golden Suns, though unfortunately it’s noticeably easier because of it. There were also very few bosses in the entire game, and even then, only two bosses were ever noticeably challenging. One near the beginning of the game, and of course, the final boss. I think one of the biggest reasons why Dark Dawn is such an easy game is because MP regenerates as you walk. Oftentimes with RPGs with random encounters, some part of the game’s difficulty is having to constantly go back to heal MP, or use items to recover MP. Ofentimes this may then make the player choose to more likely run away, than fight. However, MP regenerates as you walk both in the overworld, and dungeons, meaning you can practically fight every battle, without worrying about running out of MP. Because of this, I never felt like I was grinding at all, or that I ever needed to grind.

I also adore the weapon master mechanics, where each weapon has unique skills tied to them. It makes weapons more than just the stats they give, but some weapons have unique abilities. Sometimes a weapon gives a skill that hits all enemies, or drains enemy health. It’s really cool, and it makes you have a sort of personal connection the weapons each character has, and I absolutely adore it.

Psynergy and most puzzles throughout the game are really fun. They’re not as complicated as puzzles from the original two games, but I still found them to be really fun! I do wish there was more psynergies, there were a lot more in the previous two games, and I think it’d be really fun to have more puzzle variety. The biggest difference I noticed was the lack of teleport, which worked as fast travel in the original two games. Eventually, the explorable world of Dark Dawn becomes really big, with a decently high encounter rate. I think a fast travel ability in Dark Dawn would really help, but then again, I might’ve just been really unlikely with random encounters, and I imagine I wouldn’t have this complaint if I was luckier.

One of the big bad design choices Dark Dawn has especially is the multiple points-of-no-return. There will be moments in the game, that aren’t perfectly telegraphed that will gate off access to certain areas of the game. Now, that isn’t terrible by any means, but if you pass a point of no return and miss 1 or 2 djinn, you’ll never be able to get them again. If the game accounted for this somehow it would be fine, but it doesn’t at all which to me at least is a really bad design choice. It doesn’t help either that multiple points-of-no-return feel narratively forced, and doesn’t really feel natural.

Now, the biggest problems come with Dark Dawn’s story. And I personally believe that most of the problems with Dark Dawn’s story would not exist if there was a fourth game. As I played through Dark Dawn, I noticed so many different things that were set up and never resolved. So much had been hinted to a greater plot than what we see the characters go through, but practically none of it gets resolved within the game. I believe Dark Dawn tries to do the same thing that the original two Golden Suns do, where they’re both 2 halves of a much greater story. Where Dark Dawn differs, is that it doesn’t have the second half, leading so much of the game’s setup to be unfulfilled. The most impactful moment of this is the post-credits moment of the game, which leaves on a gigantic, yet-again-unfulfilled cliffhanger. In a hypothetical world where the DS also had a Golden Sun 4 with the second half of the story, these problems wouldn’t exist, but until there is a fourth Golden Sun, this game’s story is left at an unsatisfactory false conclusion.

Even aside from that, the story is somewhat weak. This is due in part to the sort of vague-ness to the overall grand scheme. So often it revolves around the main cast being controlled by the villains, but the game barely elaborates on the villains or what they want, so it leaves little impact. So much of the game is presented as a long-winded goose chase to get a specific item, which isn’t bad as a starting motivation, but to be the motivation for practically 2/3rds of the entire game definitely drags it out a bit. The characters as well are a mixed bag, some interesting, and some not. Primarily, the first couple characters aren’t super unique, they’re good executions of typical RPG archetypes, but they don’t blow anything out of the water. On the other hand, some characters join the party so late in the game, they get so little time to shine, so even though they’re conceptually really good characters, they don’t get the proper time to make a lasting impact.

But when looking at the game’s main playable character, the absolute shining late of the game is Sveta. Sveta is my favorite character in all of Golden Sun, and has the most stakes throughout the entire story of Golden Sun: Dark Dawn. She exists the way she does because of the events of the first two Golden Sun titles, and practically all of the major plot elements of Dark Dawn are tied to her. She feels like she’s the only character who has actually growth and an arc through the game, and she’s a standout character because of it. Not only that, but she is the only playable character in the game with a mechanic unique to her, which makes her an extremely powerful physical attacker which I adore.

Though through and through, Golden Sun: Dark Dawn is an innately flawed game, though not all the fault of its own. It feels clearly intending for there to be a fourth Golden Sun, to resolve all that was set up in this title, but without it, this game is lacking in resolution. Its story though lacks notable depth, even though I adore Sveta. And even though I deplore the points-of-no-return, the combat and puzzles are really fun so it’s still a game I believe is worth playing. One day I really hope that a new Golden Sun releases to finally resolve the storyline of Dark Dawn. Once that game releases and hopefully resolves the storyline, the perception on this game may be entirely different, for better, or for worse.

They kind of make the flaws from GS1 and GS2 worse but they get 2 1/2 stars because they do more with the beastmen, who I think are cute.

This isn't important, but it does make me kind of sad that Felix is maligned by the narrative and vanishes. I know that the Sun Saga books also mention that even though he was opposed to Isaac & Co. in Golden Sun 1&2 he was doing the right thing, but it really bugged me. What if your living legacy was that you were evil but not really JK haha?

You would think when making a sequel you would iterate on good ideas and improve on the flaws present in the previous installments but this game doesn't do that

A fun disappointment. Let's get this out of the way; this game is much worse than Golden Sun 1 and 2. I know it and you know it. Yet I had a lot of fun with it.

A lot of the charm from previous entries is still here; music, artstyle, sound effects, the clever level design and specially the gameplay, which has been improved from the previous entries. The jump to 3d is a welcome change, all animations have been re-hauled to be flashier than ever. The flow or finding and re-equipping your party is still just as good, now improved with the weapon mastery feature, allowing you to stack multiple unleashes on one weapon.

I never really played with the class system in previous entries. While viable I never experimented outside of using mono-elemental classes. Boy was I missing out; The strongest classes in the game are available by fooling around with djinn swapping, which only improved the experience.

However, not every aspect shines. Golden Sun has never been a pillar of well written characters, but it's almost as if Camelot went out of its way to write the most bland and uninteresting characters imaginable (Sveta is cool tho). Seriously, your last party member comes in so late into the game that they barely have any dialogue whatsoever. The decision to adopt an 8-party member system, similar to The Lost Age (where your characters developed over the course of two games), feels unnecessary and hinders character development. It doesn't help also that having 8 party members is unnecessary, as this is the easiest Golden Sun so far.

Dark Dawn's weakest aspect is the plot. Many writing decisions caused detrimental effects in the gameplay. Most controversial of all was to add FOUR points of no return, all which don't truly have a good reason to be. This writing choice locks you out of summons and several much needed djinn.
Part of the setup in this game is that the Golden Sun event caused severe continental shifts throughout the world, attempting to fool the player into thinking several new towns and cultures have been around for centuries despite never being mentioned in the past. This leaves you yearning what happened to all the places and characters from past adventures, but worst of all I only met Isaac and Garet from the main old cast. I imagine they expected to explore this in future games as this one ends on a gargantuan cliff-hanger. To my infinite disappointment, it's been nearly 14 years without any news of a sequel as Camelot seems infatuated with making Mario sports games.

Despite these issues Dark Dawn is still an alright game, offering a fun entry for fans of the series

A pesar de no estar a la altura de los dos juegos anteriores, Golden Sun Dark Dawn es un tremendo juegarral. Extremadamente divertido en combate y en las mazmorras, que son más imaginativas y creativas que en los dos primeros. Pero, por desgracia, su gran lacra es la trama y los personajes, que no tienen ni la mitad de presencia e importancia que los anteriores. Aun así, gran juego