So over the Christmas season I came into possession of Golden Sun: Dark Dawn for the DS. It was only thirty five dollars despite being a new game. Normally I wait for things to go down even more but I very much enjoyed the first two games in the series and was very happy to get back into that universe.
You start off the game as the son of the first games protagonist Isaac and are quickly joined by the rest of the offspring of the first two games. In typical JRPG fashion you are tasked with doing something inane and end saving the world from certain doom. This time you are told to get some sort of feather from a giant pigeon and somehow you end up walking on clouds. This is my one true complaint about this game and it is that the story is fucking bonkers in the first ten hours. After beating the game I have a vague grasp of how it all worked but I felt as though they could have done a lot more to help the player along early on.
I mentioned that it took ten hours to get to a sensible storyline and I meant ten hours. This game is very long, especially for being a handheld. This is by no means a bad thing, while I did not know what was going on for a while I was having a hell of a lot of fun doing just that. The combat system is pretty basic with attack, defend, and magic and then they throw in two wild cards. The first is the ability to use creatures called Djinn which can do anything from increase your attack to cause insta-death on an enemy. Once used the Djinn go into standby mode where they can be used in the second option, Summoning. Summoning is usually a super powered attack that does MASSIVE DAMAGE to your enemy. They are usually over the top and are actually quite spectacular even on the DS's tiny screen. After using several Djinn for a summoning they go into rest mode and take a few rounds to come back, also their side effects (boosting your stats and giving you more powerful magic) dissipate as well until they are fully rested. Working together with the really solid traditional battle mechanics this makes any fight become awesome.
The game play is not just limited to battles though, every town and dungeon turns into a series of puzzles that must be completed to progress. Luckily the main quest seem to be devoid of any "backtracking" quests where you spend an hours waling to the different switches trying to make them go in the right order. Any puzzle that seem overbearingly long is usually broken up with by giving you cool weapons or another Djinn to use. Though be wary of equipping the "Lure Cap" as this makes dungeons take twice as long because of the increase in battles. The puzzles almost always can be solved by using some of your magic outside of battle and if you can not seem to figure out a puzzle it means you do not have the right magic yet, so come back later.
With plenty of side quests to do and a huge wold to explore this game will provide cheap bastards with pennies on the hour of entertainment. If you go to purchase this game just remember that is it a JRPG and still suffers from some of those pitfalls, such as teenagers saving the world by becoming more powerful than Zeus. But if you can look past that this game will make you bathroom breaks take twice as long with addictive game play and amazing DS graphics.
Graphics: Great for a DS
Gameplay: Solid old school with some twists
Music: Sadly forgettable
Time Drained: 40+ hours
Rating: I would have bought a DS for this game alone.
If you have any questions or want to call me a faggot just leave a comment below!