Golden Sun: Dark Dawn
Golden Sun: Dark Dawn features a detailed world full of interesting characters and factions
- Detailed world full of interesting characters and factions, simple yet enjoyable battle system, compulsively collectible Djinn, smartly designed puzzles, interface that's elegant and well-tailored to the DS
- Opening nine or so hours move at an absurdly slow pace, exposition-packed conversations, general lack of difficulty
Despite its overlong opening and penchant for exposition, series faithfuls will find an enjoyable and immersive role-playing experience hidden behind Golden Sun: Dark Dawn's initial frustrations.
Price$ 69.95 (AUD)
Best Deals (Selling at 3 stores)
Golden Sun: Dark Dawn picks up 30 years after Golden Sun: The Lost Age left off on the Game Boy Advance, casting you as the children of the previous game's main characters. The land of Weyard is having terrible growing pains after receiving a world-sized dose of Alchemy at the end of The Lost Age, and it's sprouting some especially nasty pimples in the form of Psynergy Vortexes, which suck Psynergy users (known as Adepts) dry. Meanwhile, Alchemy's running wild, and it's transforming Weyard and its inhabitants in all sorts of unexpected ways.
It's an interesting premise, and the resulting web of political alliances, cultures, and ripples caused by the game's "Golden Sun Effect" really make the world feel alive, and a joy to explore. Unfortunately, that doesn't quite make up for the main storyline's utterly glacial pace — and I'm not talking normal JRPG slow, either. Dark Dawn doesn't establish a central villain of any sort until four hours in, and even then, you don't find out anything about their motives. The storyline fails to really pick up until about the nine hour mark, but honestly, I would've stopped playing long before then if I hadn't been reviewing the game.
I realise that's a pretty damning statement, so let me elaborate on that point a bit. After the nine hour mark, Dark Dawn becomes an awesome experience. Interesting, tactical battles, challenging and inventive puzzles, a decent plot — it's all there; you just have to chew through an absurd amount of fat before you get to the meat. As for me wanting to call it quits during the game's opening slog, the story's not the only culprit. For one, the early hours are insultingly easy. Honestly, it was like watching an episode of Dora The Explorer; the game would repeat obvious puzzle solutions over and over and over, as if I'd never played a videogame in my life — let alone a JRPG.
Similarly, the series' notoriously long-winded conversations are just as moment-killing as ever, destroying any sense of urgency with explosions of exposition. Worst of all, they're not even necessary this time around. See, Dark Dawn's interface is actually pretty ingenious, and the cherry atop that sundae is a Wikipedia-style hyper-linking system in the game's text. So basically, if a piece of jargon you're not familiar with pops up, you can click on it and the top screen will tell you everything you need to know. However, the game basically assumes players aren't using that system, so there's just as much exposition as ever.
Beyond that, very little has changed. You still collect elementally themed Djinn, and they affect your characters' classes and summoning abilities. Summon animations are — as you'd expect — over-the-top in the best way possible, creating some of the most epic moments you'll ever see on the DS' tiny screen. Dungeons, too, are pretty enjoyable, especially since the random encounter rate's been lowered to make puzzle-solving more fluid. Environmental puzzles are as prominent as ever, and they're very Zelda-like in that you'll gain and utilise new powers in all kinds of inventive ways.
At the end of the day, though, you're the X-factor in the "should I buy this" equation. Are you willing to put up with a particularly long opening that's nearly devoid of tactics, challenging puzzles, or meaningful plot developments? Because if you are, a pretty fantastic fantasy role-playing game awaits. If not, well, there are plenty of other RPG alternatives on the DS.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Hisense Series 7 ULED 4K UHD TV review
- 2 Samsung Galaxy Note 7 review
- 3 Portable power: Venom Blackbook 13 Zero review
- 4 Alcatel Idol 4S review: King of the mid-range?
- 5 Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Review
Latest News Articles
- This week in games: Blizzard ditches Battle.net, Gears of War 4 adds PC split-screen
- Forza Horizon 3 (PC) review impressions: Get ready to make your graphics card sweat
- How Xbox Project Scorpio and the PS4 Pro can play 4K games: Visual compromises
- Games yanked from Steam after developer sues users for nasty negative reviews
- BioShock Remastered's brand new PC port is just as bad as the old one
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- CCSolutions ArchitectACT
- CCData Analyst | Data Feeds | Catalogue and MapNSW
- FTOutbound TelesalesVIC
- FTIT Pre-Sales EngineerSA
- CCWAN Architect and ConsultantWA
- FTSenior PHP DeveloperNSW
- CCICT Security AuditorACT
- FTAndroid DeveloperNSW
- FTBusiness Development Manager | ICT intelligent systems integrationVIC
- CCData Analyst | Data Management Framework | Experience in RNSW
- FTTechnical Business Analyst | Marketing ServicesNSW
- FTCustomer Solutions Engineer | Voice | Data | TelcoNSW
- FTInfrastructure Solutions ArchitectACT
- FTDesktop/Application SupportVIC
- CCBusiness Analyst - Telecom ProjectNSW
- CCProgram Manager - Data InsightVIC
- FTLinux Systems AdministratorNZ
- CCSenior Infrastrcture Project ManagerACT
- CCService Desk analystSA
- CCPMO AnalystNSW
- CCContract Web Developer (160915/WD/vmp)Asia
- FTOutbound TelesalesVIC
- CCSoftware TesterACT
- FTCertification and Accreditation Security ConsultantACT
- CCContract Junior Programmer (J2EE/SQL) 160927/JP/551Asia