Golden Sun Dark Dawn DS Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Gameplay 8.5
Graphics 8.0
Sound 7.0
Value 8.5
Distributor: Nintendo
Classification:
PG
Reviewer:
Peter Bourke

8.5


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.

Conclusion

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 RPG fan!






 
 



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