Golden Sun Review
Sometimes dubbed as the RPG king of its time, Golden Sun certainly made a huge dent in the gaming industry. With every RPG community begging for more, I decided to take a look into what makes Golden Sun so popular…
Golden Sun 1 sets the story. The game opens three years before the main game, with us learning about the world of Weyard, how ‘Alchemy’ has been locked away, Psynergy and The Elemental Stars, which hold huge power, and are the key to unlocking the bound on Alchemy. We meet Saturos and Menardi, both who plan on stealing the Elemental Stars and releasing the seal on Alchemy. Unfortunately, they fail, and set a booby trap, which unleashes a devastating storm upon the town of Vale, which has guarded the Elemental Stars for years. In this storm, we are introduced to the games Main characters, Isaac, Garet and Jenna.
In the process of the storm, Jenna’s brother, Felix, is washed away in the river's rapids, along with her mother, father, and Isaac’s father, all bowled away by a huge boulder that threatened to destroy the entire village.
Losing their parents, Isaac and Jenna, along with Garet, decide to devote their life to developing their skills in Alchemy and learning Psynergy, a mystical power. Three years later, Saturos and Menardi return, and Isaac and Garet’s lives change forever.
Golden Sun consists of many different maps and dungeons for the players to navigate through and progress in the game. Like true RPG tradition, random encounters and puzzles will block your way, typically starting rather easily and getting progressively harder as the game moves forward.
To manage your way through the dungeons, you use powers known as Psynergy on the field to do things such as freeze water, blow heavy winds to move vines, make small buds grow into climbable vines and much, much more. With all the different ways to use Psynergy on the field, every dungeon and puzzle differs and is unique throughout every step of the way. Only Psynergy such as Teleport are used on the Overworld.
On the Overworld, players can encounter monsters, enter villages and towns or even dungeons, and also discover treasures. Users walk on the Overworld, which can sometimes become slightly tedious, but becomes a lot easier when you get more advanced Psynergy.
Golden Sun has a Unique ‘Djinn’ system, which means your party can be different every single time you play the game. The game has four primary elements, earth, fire, wind, and water, and each Djinn comes from their respective element. Each character in your party masters a particular element, so you can either give Isaac, who is Earth, all the Venus Djinn to make him a Master Earth Adept, or you can mix and match. Depending on what Djinn a character has equipped can change their class and what Psynergies they have to offer. In battles, Djinns can be used to do a number of things, such as buff allies or debuff enemies, attack and heal. When a Djinn is used, it goes into ‘Standby’ mode. This means that it does not contribute towards whatever character it is equipped to until it is ‘Set’ again. This means that your character's classes can change halfway through a battle, keeping you on your toes and wary of your decisions. When a certain number of Djinn have been used, you can use them to Summon powerful beasts, gods and goddeses. These summons can either heal your allies, attack and cause status conditions on your enemies, or even a perform a combination of all three.
Djinn Screen Selection
The battle is your standard Turn Based Battle System, but instead of individually selecting each characters moves, you choose what all four members of your party will do at the beginning and watch as the battle unfolds. This also keeps you on the edge of your seat, as if the enemy does something to muck up your plan halfway through, you must wait until the next round until you can rectify this problem. This doesn’t occur as much in normal enemy encounters as it does in Boss battles.
This game is now approximately 7 or 8 years old, therefore the graphics aren’t spectacular. Adding the fact that this game is on the Gameboy Advance, it doesn’t leave a lot to be hopeful about.
But, despite these reasons, the graphics aren’t terrible. In fact, they are pretty good. Golden Sun has its very own unique style, and after playing it for a while, you’ll find yourself completely immersed in the world Camelot has created.
The graphics in battle do try their best, with explosions and lightning bolts, but the sparky look that everything is given leaves it looking a bit sketchy. Still, it makes you excited when you finally manage to gain the level for your ultimate Psynergy, and it makes a much bigger sparky explosion then anything previously. Not exactly awe-inspiring, but very good for its time and platform.
Golden Sun doesn’t fail to bring the stereotypical epic sound system that belongs in any RPG. You have all your music, such as your thrilling battle sound tracks (especially the boss battles), your slow paced ‘walking-though-a-safe-forest’ type music, and so on and so forth.
Unfortunately, that’s all it brings. I find that sometimes it’s good for an RPG to bring something new and unique to its sounding, but Golden sun sticks to the original through and through. Nothing out of the ordinary here.
This is one of the games that once you’ve finished; you’ll WANT to play again. The game is very long, and you’ll probably find that once you’ve reached the end, you’ve forgotten what happened at the beginning. The storyline is so engaging, and ends on an extremely good cliff-hanger. You’ll just be dying for more.
I found that in my second, and even third run through, I picked up things that I had missed the first time round. Now that I knew the story completely, and I could enjoy the game just as much on repeated tries. Of course, like any other RPG, you also have the option of leveling, and with so many different places to explore and things to find, the grind isn’t nearly as difficult as you would think.
Golden Sun is certainly one of the best RPG’s out their, despite its age. It has everything it needs to be the best, and I highly recommend that if you don’t own it, you go out and buy it. Like, right now.