Golden Sun

aka: Golden Sun: The Broken Seal , Ougon no Taiyou
Moby ID: 5413

[ All ] [ Game Boy Advance ] [ Wii U ]

Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 87% (based on 47 ratings)

Player Reviews

Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 85 ratings with 5 reviews)

One of the best original RPGs on the GBA.

The Good
I have very fond memories of playing Final Fantasy Legends I-III on family road trips years and years back. FFL III in particular gave you great flexibility in developing your characters how you wanted. Playing Golden Sun, I had pleasant flashbacks to the FFLs of yore. Golden Sun is every bit as much fun as those older games, and a whole lot prettier to boot. You're placed in the cliched RPG plot in the shoes of a young man (default Isaac, but you can change it to Assmaster or some such if you wish) with extraordinary powers. And those powers are what makes Golden Sun stand above the rest. You must use them not only to do battle with the thousands and thousands of monsters roaming the land, but also to interact with the game world in a variety of ways. See that little sprout by the ledge? If you have the growth power, you can make it spring up into a vine, thus creating a very efficient little rope ladder, opening up new areas in the game world to explore. In order to achieve these powers, you must amass a collection of Djinni (think Pokemon with less personality). Each one confers one of four elemental powers (earth, water, fire and wind), augmenting your characters and giving them new Psynergy (magic). By combining different Djinni on a character, you change the types of spells and powers he or she can wield. This is a nice touch to the typical magic system, which is usually the weakest part of electronic RPGs. You are forced to make tough decisions when determining which powers your characters will wield.
The graphics are Super Nintendo-quality, with nice spell effects and impressive character animation. Your little guys (and gals) emote in ways that previous GB RPGs couldn't manage. Finally, the challenge level begins to ramp up quite nicely later on in the game. You are actually forced to use strategic thinking in some of the later boss battles, which is a good thing - most RPGs seem to be designed to please the least common denominator.

The Bad
Unfortunately, the package is not completely free of flaws. Worst of them is the insane amount of low-level monsters you have to hack through to navigate even the smallest of mazes. I would rather see slightly less combat with higher experience point awards. Be prepared to spend a lot of time ridding the land of moronic entry-level baddies. Combat graphics, strangely enough, are not nearly on par with those of the isometric view. Some monsters, especially the big ones, are chunky and ugly.
Dialog is excruciating, as you would expect. I found myself rapidly pushing buttons to wade through several inane NPC conversations that I was forced to overhear, despite their apparent complete lack of relevance to my quest. This smacks of self-indulgent programming, and does not make for enjoyable gaming.

The Bottom Line
It's a Game Boy RPG done right. Think Final Fantasy Legend plus a lot more environmental interaction.

Game Boy Advance · by Lucas Schippers (57) · 2002

A fantastic old school RPG that demonstrates the power of the Gameboy Advance

The Good
In general, there are two types of gamers, those who love RPGs, and those who hate them. I fortunately, am a fan of the genre, but this title embarks to convert the non-believers with its' detailed, colorful graphics, sparkling music, good sound effects, and cool battles. From the second you switch the game on, you can tell a lot of effort went into the development of this game. The beginning animation of the mountain with the sun and its' lens flare effect is cool. When you actually begin playing, the detail of the visuals is amazing for a handheld system, almost PS1 level. Several graphical effects are used throughout the course of the game; lighting effects, particle effects, transparency, and more...all are very cool, and prove what the GBA is capable of. My favorite effect is the rotation and zooming that is used in the battles, that gives the battles a pseudo-3D feel. There are some downsides to the graphics, though, the regular enemies are sharp and detailed, but the large bosses, while having ample detail, have a very pixellated look, also, when you use the more elaborate summons, there can be some slowdown, but it's not that bad.
Just as impressive as the visuals is the audio of this game, from the title song to the lighthouse theme, the music is fantastic, with realistic sounding instruments, I would even go so far to say that the music in this game measures up to the standard set by the SNES classic Chrono Trigger. The sound effects, though not very varied, are pretty good as well, with blasts and screams abound. Now let's get down to the most important part of the game, the gameplay. As any gamer knows, graphics alone don't make a good game, gameplay does, and Golden Sun has plenty of classic RPG goodness, while adding a few innovations that make it stand out on its own. You begin the game in your hometown of Vale, and have to navigate to the lower portion of the town, through the storm, to get help. After getting the situation under control in Vale, you begin your journey, and travel the World Map to the next town. The battles on the World Map are pretty frequent, but this is balanced by the fact that your Psynergy Points(needed to cast spells) slowly recover as you walk around. The battles are varied, with your party facing up to six monsters at a time. Many spells effect more than one monster, and the larger crystal indicates the creature receiving the most damage from the attack, while the creatures outside the center receive less damage. Your characters will level-up fairly quickly with the amount of battles, and will sometimes receive more powerful spells. The most innovative aspect of the game is the "Djinni" system. Throughout your travels, you will capture spiritual creatures known as "Djinni", and setting these creatures to the different characters in your party can improve their class, and give them new spells. You will have to mix and match to find the best combination of Earth, Wind, Water, and Fire Djinni for each character. You can unleash the individual Djinni from your characters during battle, which uses their abilities, but takes the benefits of that Djinni from the effect character until they are set again on the next turn. you can summon the Djinni that aren't set to a character for extra damage, but then they must recover for awhile before being able to be set again. You must decide whether the extra damage of a summoned spirit is worth sacrificing the benefits of the set Djinni for a few turns. You will need to use summons quite a bit when you challenge the games bosses which range from giant squids to two-headed dragons, and are very challenging. In short, it doesn't stray far outside the bounds of the traditional console RPG, but its' few innovations give Golden Sun a unique feel. It's also fun to go into the battle arena while you are playing the game, or after you have beaten it, to see how many consecutive monster parties you can beat before being defeated, or challenge another player(s) through the link cable - this feature definitly adds some replay value to the game.

The Bad
There isn't much to dislike here, but there are a few aspects that could have been improved upon, for one thing, the game seemed a little short, and not as challenging as it could have been, another thing, is that there isn't too much variety in the sound effects, and the pixellated look of the boss creatures. I also felt the ending could have been better.

The Bottom Line
A classic-style RPG with a stunning graphics, and a few innovative ideas. Well worth a play whether your a fan of the genre, or not. This game may convert you. This game, unlike many other GBA titles, is well worth the asking price, I highly recommend you pick up a copy today, for some portable RPG goodness.

Game Boy Advance · by Ryu (50) · 2002

Bottom line: Golden Sun is the best handheld RPG ever, and one of the greatest of all time.

The Good
Golden Sun has everything good about this game. The gameplay and story is just like a movie, and it draws you in much like a great movie, novel, or RPG (which this is.) The graphics are some of the best on the GBA, despite this being one of the earliest GBA releases, and the battle animation will leave you awe-struck. The in-game music does NOT grate on you like many handheld games, but actually enhances the game and also sounds like a movie (soundtrack) and the sound effects are brilliant.

The Bad
Probably the only thing wrong about this game is that it confuses you many times on what exactly to do, but hey, it's supposed to make you use your head! So nothing's really wrong with it. That's right! Flawless!

The Bottom Line
Golden Sun is one of those games you absolutely must have if you own a GBA. It's also one of those rare and wonderful games that sell systems. It's a deep, highly satisfying role-playing game that ranks as one of the Top 5 RPG's of all-time, and if it's not among your collection, then you're missing out, BIG TIME.

Game Boy Advance · by pocketgamer2000 (20) · 2003

A great RPG with classic game play and original aspects

The Good
The tunes are really exciting, the graphics are nice, colored and detailed (especially in the battles), the controls works perfectly in the games, well, all the "I/O" part of the game is really great. Before seeing this, I was thinking that many "new generation" RPG that have a release date of 1998 or +, would never be as great as some SNES RPGs about this, but this game proves that this is false. The story is somewhat great. I can't really explain why, but even if the usual "go on a journey and save the world" thing repeats itself for many RPGs, the story is really exciting. A thing I liked about the gameplay is that you spend more time in the game to fight monsters than to watch stupid scenes without doing anything, like many "new generation" RPGs. For example in Final Fantasy X, you're always walking, speaking with people, or seeing scenes like in a film, and you're in average not often doing battle. In the other side, in very old RPGs like Dragon Warrior or the first Final Fantasy, you were always in battle and you hardly ever spoke to people. In Golden Sun, the balance is just right, you never spend a big amount of time without speaking to anyone or without advancing in the story, but you also never spend a big amount of time without fighting. The battle system looks plain at the beginning of the game, but it becomes interesting after a while, and actually there is a lot of strategy in it, unlike Final Fantasy games for example. It's also pretty hard to collect all Djins. But, once you got the strategy to defeat very-strong monsters, the game will become pretty easy.

Finally, the great thing in Golden Sun is that there is very challenging enigmas everywhere. One half of the enigmas are optional (to get items, weapons, etc...), and some of them are so hard that you'll give up (this happened to me a couple of times, but I tried them at least one hour !).

The Bad
The thing that disappoint me in the game is the item-quantity limitation. Here you can only carry 15 items per character, and this is pretty frustrating to be unable to collect all the weapons of the game, etc...

Also, there shall be ~10 sound effects in the whole game, and all magics and attacks does just a combination of them. They could input more different sounds effects. However I really like the noise that make someone who is speaking. It's really fun ;-)

Well, I found that the last boss was a bit easy, and the ending shucks. I mean that the game finish just where is should not be finished. I just completed the game several hours ago and I was disappointed by the ending. They just want you to buy Golden Sun 2, just to make themselves twice money, just like Pokemon ruby & sapphire and so on... What a shame. By the way, I'll surely buy Golden Sun 2 someday, but... well this is frustrating to buy a game in those conditions, just to know the sequel of the story. Usually, when I buy a game, its for discovering a new world, a new story, not to know the sequel of another one.

The Bottom Line
Golden Sun is a very great RPG that shows the full-potential of the Game Boy Advance. I would recommend it to anyone who like RPGs. I think it has the good side of old RPGs, and the good side of news ones, and just this stuff make it really great.

Game Boy Advance · by Bregalad (937) · 2006

Like RPG's? This'll cook your bacon.

The Good
For starters, great...everything about this game.

The storyline is pretty original, and really is easy to get into. Everything works out like it should, and you'll meet tons of unique characters which really help define the world itself.

The main quest is easy to follow, but there's some sides you can do as well. For instance, there's a roadblock you get through, and see that there's a bunch of stupid and basically just out-of-place trees. You use Ivan's special ability to mind read, and find out that they're people!!! One of the girls is about to fall in the water, and you need to use an aquired ability to rescue her from certain doom. Come back once everyone is a human again, and they recognize you and give a nice reward! Simple things like that really, really do make games more fun and involving.

The RPG rules and standards hold well in the game, giving you adequate time to beef up characters and buy better equipment. I especially liked the original idea of weapons having unique abilities that come out every so-often. Say if I used a Bandit Sword, on occasion i'd do a move called Rapid Smash which does a ton of more damage.

Another cool thing is the Djinni! There's 6 of each type of Djinni, which are Fire, Water, Earth, and Wind. Using them in battle can either boost your stats, lower your enemies stats, damage the enemy, or remove/alter your status. The coolest part is when you use more than one of the same type, which unleashes a fury of that specific element! On a side note, you can also mix-match the different used Djinni powers to create fusions, which ultimately is a trial-and-error process of finding the right one. And the visuals while doing any of these, or using "psynergy" which is a form of magic, are absolutely splendid to behold. Tons of them to discover by altering your equipment and Djinni placement. Try it out! Music and sound effects are ear-pleasing, and you'll never feel anything repeat. Just overall a great experience.

The Bad
This part will be pretty small, because there's not much to complain about. Well, like some RPG's, the main character NEVER talks, not a word. Sometimes he'll shake his head or jump or emote in some fashion, but all you can really do is make decisions.

Another small, yet large in my eyes negative is that the game is WAY too short. This game seems to be over before you actually are able to fully get into it.

The Bottom Line
An awesome RPG for the Gameboy Advance which you will spend hours playing, and then playing some more after you beat it because the replay value is extremely high. Definite Buy.

Game Boy Advance · by Kain Ceverus (30) · 2007

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by Big John WV, nyccrg, chirinea, Wizo, Alsy, Jeanne, Victor Vance, Riemann80, Sonikku225, mikewwm8, lights out party, Patrick Bregger, Tim Janssen, firefang9212.