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First Impressions: Golden Sun: Dark Dawn

Posted by James Newton

Glory be to Camelot!

This truly is a rich time for DS RPGs: Dragon Quest IX, Final Fantasy the 4 Heroes of Light and of course Golden Sun: Dark Dawn should ensure we remember 2010 as the Year of the RPG, and Golden Sun could emerge as the best of the bunch.

The demo offered two available modes: adventure and battle, and we had time to try both. The former mode puts you in a puzzle-filled obstacle course where you must make use of your Psynergies to overcome the challenges along the way. Move was mapped to L and could be used to push blocks in one of four directions, and was as simple as tapping the object to be moved and sliding it in the desired direction.

Fireball was activated with a tap of R and brought up a circle and aiming line, the idea being to rotate the line until facing the target and then smoothly slide the stylus to let loose a fireball. We found this a little fiddly and unresponsive however: sliding the stylus often did nothing, and it seemed trial and error as to whether this would work. Perhaps we were doing it wrong, but it was frustrating nonetheless.

The battle mode, you’ll be pleased to hear, suffered no such problems. Sticking to a simple menu system, your trio of heroes took on three battles that gradually increased in difficulty. The controls here are completely intuitive, tapping menu icons and targets to activate straightforward attacks, Psynergies and Djinn attacks. Those familiar with the battle system from the previous two outings will be right at home here, but newcomers should also find it easy to jump straight into.

Graphically the battle sequences are extremely impressive, even after we’d just seen the 3DS in action. The character models are solid, detailed and animate well, and the special effects for Psynergies are a pleasure to watch. The real stars however, as with the GameBoy Advance originals, are the Summons: from robotic pyramids to arrow-shooting goddesses, they’re some of the finest visuals seen on the system in its near six-year history.

Completing the battle gave us chance to explore one of the demo’s towns, and here we saw more classic Golden Sun elements: houses with golden straw roofs, strange delicacies being cooked and plenty of hidden items to be found. It may not be groundbreaking, but for fans of the series it’s like coming home.

Golden Sun: Dark Dawn was already high on our most-wanted list for the rest of 2010, and going hands-on with the title has only pushed our expectations for Camelot’s latest RPG ever higher. The developer’s calibre – they created Shining Force, you know – and the long wait between instalments could result in the DS receiving one of its finest RPG adventures yet.

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User Comments (19)

CorbsAdmin

#2

Corbs said:

This can't get here fast enough for me. Between this and Final Fantasy: 4 Heroes of Light, this is going to be a great holiday season for RPG goodness. :)

Spoony_Tech

#4

Spoony_Tech said:

Wow more of my money gone. All these games are over kill and going to make me broke:-)

Fuzzy

#5

Fuzzy said:

Playing through the original at the moment. Really liking it, and I'm sure I'll like this one too. As others are saying, we're gonna be broke before the 3DS comes out with all these games coming!

Radbot42

#8

Radbot42 said:

so was it found out that you could use the field psynergies with the button controls or not?

Hokori

#9

Hokori said:

Awesome now hopefully we wont wait 6YRS for a new one for 3DS, just imagine Issac's hand coming at you in 3D.

iAlias

#11

iAlias said:

@Otaku- AND there's the fact that you can play this in full 3D on the 3DS due to backwards compatability.

Djrr-ific

#13

Djrr-ific said:

@ Labrat

Backwards compatability means DS games play on 3DS, like on the regular ds(i)(XL), not that they will play in full 3D, and Nintendo never said they will...
So why are you saying that?:P

MeloMan

#16

MeloMan said:

I'll have to go get my facts straight myself, but I thought I remembered reading that the 3DS would not only be backward compatible, but would play DS games "in" 3D with just a touch of the slider. Either way, it's not a dealbreaker for me, but if this is a sweet little side bonus, it would be awesome. Time to do some homework...

CanisWolfred

#17

CanisWolfred said:

I'm glad to hear it's shaping up well. Too bad Golden Sun isn't my kind of game. The story just isn't interesting to me, and neither the puzzles or gameplay do enough to make up for it. This one doesn't seem to want to change that.

Vinsanity

#18

Vinsanity said:

Its hard to imagine a better looking DS game than DQIX right now, but I'm sure both Final Fantasy 4 Heroes of Light and Golden Sun DS have a good shot of doing it. Looking forward to this very much!

moosa

#19

moosa said:

I must say it's far easier to appreciate this game's graphics than FF 4 Heroes.

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