The Golden Sun Series has been a dependable Japanese-style role playing video game (JRPG) from its first release for the Nintendo Gameboy Advance (GBA) in 2001. It was shortly followed by Golden Sun: The Lost Age in 2003, which was also released for the GBA. The newest installment of the series is Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, which, unlike its predecessors, was released for the Nintendo DS in 2010. Generally, if a game takes 7 years be released, it should be held to a higher standard than one that takes only a year to come out. Golden Sun: Dark Dawn is a good game in its own right, but there are many drawbacks to the third installment of this series.
One major problem with this game is the amount of time spent actually listening to characters talk. Unlike in games such as Mass Effect where dialogues are a cinematic style discussion, Golden Sun’s interactions are bleeps, text, and scenes that cannot be skipped. The game is about 20 hours of game play, but the conversations between the characters alone is at least 4 hours. Another drawback to this game is the wild encounters. The enemies become distinctively weaker than the character near the end of the first major quest. So while the character is being disturbed by incredibly weak characters, it takes forever to walk from point A to point B. The overall difficulty of this game is gone. In comparison to the previous games where the final boss was unfairly impossible to defeat, the final boss in this game is nothing. The last and most notable flaw of the game is the lack of a story. The player is told what to do, but there is no choice in what happens. There is only one quest at a time and it is always the same: go to some place, kill everything, defeat boss, get artifact, and return to town. This cookie cutter mold explains why most JRPG games are going out of style in the gaming universe.
Some things that Golden Sun: Dark Dawn did well were the major improvements in graphics and the use of magic. With the touchscreen that is built into the Nintendo DS, choosing targets for spells is made incredibly simple. The theme also matches up quite well from the previous Golden Sun games. The last thing the game did right was the fact that it ended on a cliff hanger of the imminent destruction of their world. So, this game deserves nothing more than a 5.8/10 for a rating.