Golden Sun: Dark Dawn Review

It’s been almost a decade since the last Golden Sun game was released on the Gameboy Advance. Since then, a lot of avid fans of the series have been anticipating for a third game to be made. After almost eight years of waiting, Camelot Software Planning has finally released the third game in the series entitled, Golden Sun: Dark Dawn. A new threat is coming to Weyard and this time, it’s no longer Isaac, Mia, Ivan, and Garett that will be saving the world. It’s time for the heir to take over the responsibility of their parents to save the world…

The Golden Sun series is one of the most highly rated RPG games of all time on any format. With Dark Dawn now on the Nintendo DS, should fans expect the same quality the first two games offered to the gamers when they were released? Let’s take a look in the HOTs and NOTs.


Dark Dawn will please its fan’s due to the improved presentation it has to offer. From the 2D environments of the game, Dark Dawn will offer players a 3D treatment equipped with cel-shaded graphics. For a handheld game, Dark Dawn has one of the most prettiest looking graphics on the Nintendo DS as it possesses very colorful environments. There are no voice overs in Dark Dawn but players can look forward to reading a lot of text boxes to fully understand how the story unfolds.

Pretty Much the Same Battle System
For those of you who played the past two Golden Sun games on the Gameboy Advance, the battle system of Dark Dawn is pretty much the same. Expect it to be more of a turned-based battle system where players will have to command characters to choose whether to attack or defend. As the player progresses, magic called Psynergy can be used to summon a Spirit. Similar to the past two games, players will have to collect this mysterious Djini, a creature the represents the element of Earth, Fire, Water, and Wind, that gives the players power and ability. The only difference between Dark Dawn and the past two games is that Dark Dawn offers more Djini to collect.

Finally! A Sequel to Lost Age
Golden Sun: Dark Dawn takes place thirty years after the Golden Sun event in Weyard. Isaac, and the Warriors of Vale have retired from saving the world and decides to watch the effects of the Golden Sun, which is the Psynergy Vortex that keeps on appearing. With Isaac’s son, Matthew, and the children of the three warriors of Vale, they must embark on an adventure that will unlock the secrets that surround the Vortex. Expect to see familiar characters from the past two games! For players who haven’t played the Golden Sun series, a long introduction to what has happened in both games will be available at the beginning of the game. Throughout the game, players can unlock pieces of the encyclopedia which tells the meaning of each of the important keywords in the game.

Gotta Catch ‘Em All
As aforementioned, the Djinni that can be found throughout Dark Dawn will be pretty beneficial for the four heroes of Vale; especially during battle. There are over seventy Djinn that are scattered throughout Weyard and the only way to get them is either encounter them in battle or search for them in the vast land of Weyard. When a player spots a Djinn, approach it and the player will enter battle. Simply defeat the Djinn and it will join the party. When a Djinn joins the party, it’s very important to set it to the character appropriate for it as it will increase their stats, in addition to just aiding them in battle. Please remember that Djinns are needed to summon powerful Spirits.

Using DS Technology
Thanks to the technology of the Nintendo DS, getting through Dark Dawn is much easier. Players will be playing the game on the bottom screen as the top screen will act as a status or a map screen. The bottom screen is pretty much usable as players can either use the stylus to move Matthew or the D-Pad will do the job. When solving certain puzzles, the player will have to use the the touch screen.

Expect a lot Puzzles
For players who played the past two Golden Sun games, it is to be expected that the game will contain a lot of puzzles. At almost every location the player will be going through, there will be puzzles to solve and it will require to use the Psynergy in order to move forward. The puzzles are really not that hard to figure out as it varies from simply moving the logs to open up a pathway or simply figure out the right Psynergy to use.


Confusing Feedback System
Throughout Matthew’s adventure, he will be asked for feedback on a certain situation. A set of four emotions will appear whenever a NPC requires Matthew’s response. The four emotions varies from a very happy, to a very angry. What makes this feature so annoying as it really doesn’t tell the player what each of the emotions will do. There is a situation in the game that players will think that it’s a happy response but in the end, it will end up being the wrong feedback to give to the player. It will be much better if the emotions are replaced to the actual response that Matthew will give. Since Matthew is a silent character, I guess all he can do is be happy, sad, or angry.


Editor's Choice AwardAfter the long break that players had with the Golden Sun series, Dark Dawn makes a huge comeback impressing the fans with its superb visuals and another engaging story. While the feedback system is a little bit of a let down, this will not deter the overall quality of this game. For RPG fans looking forward to a solid RPG this year you should definitely pick this game up. If you’re a fan of Golden Sun, Dark Dawn will even make you love the series even more. Bring on another sequel please!

[Editor’s Note: Golden Sun: Dark Dawn was reviewed on a Nintendo DS. The game was provided to us by the publisher and the game was completed in twenty seven hours.]

One thought on “Golden Sun: Dark Dawn Review

  1. Huh, wierd about the feedback system.

    But Im not tracking as I havent experienced the game, so Im not sure what ‘wrong’ means.

    From my experience with Golden sun, wih rare game ending exceptions (Refuse to take the quest at the beginning of GS, lol.) typically player feedback was little more than an ability to pick a side between your on party characters, with the end result being nothing more than a dialog change for the next line or two.

    So with the info I have right now I wasnt expect anything else out of this other than a enlargement of this, now multiple characters can have multiple feelings other than just yay or nay, one party member can be happy about something someone said, while another angry and another sad…. Resulting in a few dialog change options, like, say, if someone was dogging you and you chose ‘happy’ one of your party members might wonder why you are happy when someone was calling you a terd, they felt you should have been angry.

    I only expect amusing diversions for replays…

    But is it actually an issue? Will choosing the wrong feeling cause me to miss a djinni? A special item?

    Anyways, great review, Cant wait to find the secret dungeon in this one. Will get tomorrow

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