Golden Sun Dark Dawn
If there's only one RPG title that you
purchase this year, than I suggest you check out Golden Sun Dark Dawn
which features good old fashioned RPG action in the wondrous universe of
Golden Sun. Although 30 years have gone since the previous game, lots
have changed in the world of Weyard that include new countries,
continents and a new threat called the Psynergy Vortexes which are
draining the Psynergy from the lands.
In Dark Dawn, players take the role of
Matthew, the son of the hero from the original GameBoy Advance games.
As "heroing" runs in your blood, you are now walking the same path as your
father and considering that it's been 7 years since I last walked these
lands, it was definitely a fun walk down memory lane. Thankfully if
you're new to the Golden Sun series, there are plenty of NPC's who will
give you a great insight into this world. You also have an in-game
encyclopaedia if you really want to learn more.
What I enjoyed about Dark Dawn is that the
game does not try to be too clever in terms of an RPG title and features
the standard role-playing templates. Your goal is simple, find out what is causing
the Psynergy Vortexes, save the land and become involved in a rich
history of quests and side quests as you level up. Joining Matthew are
up to 7-other characters who make up your traditional adventuring party
as you explore these diverse lands. The game reminds me of the classic
Final Fantasy series before it decided to go off on a tangent.
The game has this real sword and sorcery
atmosphere to it but with a healthy dose of Japanese influence as you
interact with this fascinating 3D world. As you explore the world, you
will encounter a variety of enemies and thankfully, you possess the
Psynergy which allows you to summon an aspect of the four elementals. These elements
include water, air, fire and Earth. As opposed to using the elemental
for just combat, your elementals
must be used in conjunction with some of the puzzles such as making
plants grow by using the water elemental. It's these little things that
make Dark Dawn so fun to play because nothing is really ever standard.
Another aspect of combat are the Djinn with
of course are based on the elementals and there are over 70 to collect
in Dark Dawn. Djinn can be used for both offence and defence in
battles and have some great powers to assist in your battles. In terms
of classes, by equipping Djinn, it allows you to mix and match your
abilities, so you're really not bogged down by just a traditional
fighter or mage.
The RPG aspect of the game will suit a gamers of all
ages and it's quite easy to access all your different facets from
statistics to equipment. Apart from these elementals, you do need to rely on
weapons as opposed to using fireballs or water "magic". But at the end of the day,
you really cannot beat summoning your tank Djinn which looks like a
treat thanks to the carefully crafted cutscenes. Plus they really kick
some butt! But the majority of the game is spent exploring and because
the world is so interactive and that there is always something going,
you really don't get sick of exploring because you just don't know what
is around the corner.
Graphically, the world of Weyard is an
amazing experience on the DS that features diverse landscapes from land
to oceans and some cute little cutscenes thrown into the mix. Although the game is sprite
based, there are plenty of 3D effects to really make this game stand
apart from its predecessors. It's almost eye candy on the DS and the
game sure has come a long way since its GBA days.
I also like the map
feature in the game that to an extent allows you to fast track to your
destinations. Lastly, you have some great special effects and lighting
to add to the final touches of this good looking RPG title. The musical score
of Dark Dawn is quite subtle and when the action heats up so does the
music. The sound effects compliment the gameplay and be warned that this
game contains quite a lot of text to read.
Once again, this is easily my favourite RPG
title of the year and if you're looking for good old fashioned action
and adventuring than this game is for you. Most gamers will be able to
complete this game in around 25 to 30 hours but if you engage in all the
side quests, you could easily add a few more hours to this title.
Fortunately the game all comes together from an interesting storyline,
good gameplay and good use of the stylus. The only drawbacks to the game
is the sometimes verbose text and those random encounters which
sometimes you cannot avoid. Still, it's a must play game if you're an