Golden Sun: Dark Dawn Review
By otakuman5000 On 17 Dec, 2010 At 03:34 AM | Categorized As Featured, Nintendo DS, Reviews | With 2 Comments

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Golden Sun

It’s 30 years after Golden Sun: The Lost Age, and the Warriors of Vale have placed Alchemy back into Weyard. The Golden Sun event that triggered this however has caused serious damage. New countries are formed, previously existing ones are splitting, new species have arrived, and a new threat stands in the way. Distortions in space known as “Psynergy Vortexes” are appearing rapidly throughout the world, sucking the elemental energy back out of it.  It’s up to the children of those brave warriors from long ago to figure out how to save the world once again.

Venus, Mars, Mercury, and Jupiter Djinn

Alchemy plays an important part in the world of Weyard, as it is the force of four key elemental powers that maintain balance. These powers are, Venus (earth), Mars (fire), Jupiter (wind), and Mercury (water).  There are those who can control alchemy with the use of “Psynergy” and the select few are known as “Adepts”.  Creatures called “Djinn” are like guardians of each elemental energy and are found all over Weyard. The Djinn are pure elemental energy that Adepts can use to enhance their own Psynergy abilities. Lost yet? I was at first, but Dark Dawn luckily has an encyclopedia for us to keep track of Weyard’s expansive history.

Heading Out

Matthew's Cabin Home

Now that I’ve given you some background, it’s time to get into the actual game. You will begin your journey as a Venus Adept named Matthew (or as whatever name you decide), who is the son of Issac. Your trouble maker friend, Tyrell, has stolen a rare flying device called a “Soarwing” and has landed in the caves across from your cabin home. As you venture off to save him along with Isaac and Tyrell’s father, Garet, you come to find your pal unconscious next to a Psynergy Vortex. After saving the Mars Adept, the two of you party up with Karis, a Jupiter Adept, and venture off to fix the Soarwing.

During cut scenes, four emotions appear above the screen. Matthew can use these emotion buttons to describe how he is feeling at a certain moment. He can be angry, confident, happy or sad. While this is a nice touch to add,  it does not change the plot. The cut scenes can a be a tad bit too long and while Weyard’s history seems extraordinarily broad, it can be tiresome to sit through. With no skip option, I suggest you pay attention, and save afterwards to avoid sitting through them again. Key phrases will appear in red during dialogue, and you can use either the tablet or the L button to click these terms. The definition will pop up on the top DS screen, in your encyclopedia. Past terms and new ones can be reviewed again by clicking on the encyclopedia located in the game menu.

Djinn

A dragon summon.

To keep focused there is the Travel Log, here you can save your game. On the top screen, there is always a reminder of what you’re doing next. There are 83 Djinn throughout Weyard, and you can keep track of how many your party has on the top screen as well.  While on the game menu, selecting the Djinn category will allow you to see your entire party and equip Djinns to each member. Setting a Djinn to “Set” mode allows for the user to use powerful Psynergy attacks both inside and outside of battle. Setting a Djinn to “Standby” mode makes them available for a Summon during battle only. Mixing and matching Djinns with different party members alters each member’s stats and creates new classes, so experiment!  The more an Adept uses a certain Djinn in battle, the higher their ability level for that element goes. For example, I have Matthew using a Venus Djinn but also a Mars one to increase his fire level. Djinns allow for much customization and flexibility in battle. Having two Mars Djinns on standby allows me to summon a powerful fire beast.

"Hehe, let's use Whirlwind on that guy ahead!"

Psynergy is also used outside of battle to get through several puzzles. Whether in dungeons or just navigating mountain tops, Psynergy is the only way to bypass obstacles. Matthew can use his “Move” ability to push rocks, Tyrell can use “Fireball” to set fire to anything that needs it, and Karis can use “Whirlwind” to emit gusts of wind for travel. Psynergy abilities are available according to what element that Adept controls. Later, you will meet Rief, a Jupiter Adept being kidnapped by an evil villain called “Blados”.  With all 4 elements in your party, you will have all the tools you need to protect Wayard.

Towns

Each town has it’s own history and unique inhabitants. Exploring the towns is very fun as many objects are interactive. While clicking on a bookcase, I came across a book called ” Sun Saga”. This book once read, tells the tale of the Warriors of Vale through nice illustrations. Scattered around the world like the Djinn, these books are a little harder to find. Though not necessary, each book is fun to view. Examining barrels and pots, I’ve found various items from herbs to the Water of life, which revives a downed party member. In each town, there are inns to sleep, item stores, and a strange looking old man that cures a party member’s illnesses. He can remove evil spirits haunting them, revive, remove curses, and cure poison. Not all towns have the same items available. While in one town you may be able to buy the right item, in others you have to go to this guy and pay a bigger fee. Still, it beats having one party member left.

What Sets Dark Dawn Apart

"What do you mean you don't sell knives?!"

Dark Dawn is in 2.5D! Of course, you already knew that right? I won’t say full on 3D, but the graphics are not your standard Golden sun fare. While character models resemble Final Fantasy Seven’s blocky bunch, the presentation is done quite well for a DS game. The camera is also done beautifully from an almost bird’s eye view. It’s not an overhead camera that makes Matthew and crew look like short pokemon midgets, so that’s a huge plus. What do I mean by that? I mean that the camera and areas are done correctly in scale, and it is because of these things that Weyard seems so large. Even the world map seems huge with each area bringing about new monsters. The battles are hardly ever the same nor are they ever annoying! My last bit to add is the music. Enchanting, battle ready, and beautiful. I can’t possibly get tired of it.

Final Thought:

Golden Sun: Dark Dawn is an excellent DS role playing game and continuation of the series. The only thing I could gripe about is that I don’t have to option to skip certain events. You can close the DS and leave the game on, so there are ways around it if you’re busy.

About - I am a 44 year old Gamer/Geek/Otaku who has been gaming and watching anime since the late 1970's. I am a passionate otaku who loves all types of games, anime and comics. I have been writing about games since I was a young man. I am an entertainment retail expert and an avid game collector. You can always find me playing or watching something geek related.

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  1. Good review. This game reminds me a lot of how Final Fantasy Four Heroes of Light looked. Cant wait to play this game.

  2. Here’s a question: I never finished Lost Age (got too frustrated), do I need to play it to enjoy this game?

  3. SKTCH2No Gravatar says:

    nope! You can find out what happened if you want to by collecting the Sun Saga books throughout the game.

  4. I’m kinda burnt out on these overly generic looking Jrpgs. Truthfully I’m sure they’re all still great games but we somewhat change in tastes as we get older. Am I getting jaded? Geez, I hope not!

    Regardless if I had a DS I would likely pick up this one anyway to re-ignite my inner child.

    The Djinn are too cute!

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