In 2001 a relatively unknown JRPG was released called Golden Sun. A sequel which was technically the second half came out in 2003. It became a cult hit and was way better then most JRPGs that had come out in the same decade. Now at the end of 2010, a new sun has risen and it's blinding light is awesome! Ok over dramatic but hey, I'm trying to set the scene. It's been 7 LONG years since the last game and we finally get a new Golden Sun game. Here's my review of Golden Sun: Dark Dawn and to save time for those who skim reviews it's a great JRPG and you don't really need to play the previous games, but it helps.
The story of Golden Sun: Dark Dawn is based 30 years after the previous games after the Golden Sun event that returned alchemy to the world.Since the Golden Sun was released the world has dramatically changed. Both the land and some of the people and strange vortexes have appeared that are absorbing elemental psynergy from the surroundings and people who come near them. The children of the Warriors of Vale are sent into the world originally to find a Mountain Roc feather to fix a flying device called a Soarwing but end up being entangled in a strange groups evil plan. Unfortunately I am having problems condensing the story to a basic form so this is the best I can do without spoiling anything. Sorry if you wanted more.
It's a JRPG so most of you have already worked out it's turn-based combat. People returning from the previous Golden Suns need not worry since nothing has really change outside of some of the locations and characters so if you remember how everything works then you'll be able to get back into the groove in no time. For those new to the series the characters get powers called Psynergy, which is essentially magic but you use some of the psynergy to solve puzzles throughout the game and the combat psynergy has different elements. Throughout the game you'll find these creatures called Djinn, who power up the characters and can change the class and psynergy the characters are using depending on what element the Djinn is and which element adept they are equip to. Don't worry it's not as confusing as it may sound, you'll get used to it and learn to exploit it to suit yourself in no time. You can summon Djinn in battle to use there special effects and if you've used enough of them you can use a summon that will drain the power of the summoned Djinns required for it and summon a large summon monster to battle to do heavy damage to the enemy, depending on how many were required and elemental weakness.
To be honest there really isn't anything new in the game so if you are expecting to see something new outside of Djinn and psynergy then you'll be disappointed. There are a boat load of Djinns to collect in the game and like in the previous game there are summon tablets to look for throughout the world and there is a lot of stuff you can permanently miss which you won't find out until you miss it or if your using a play guide. There isn't many sidequests in the game and they don't last long either. They usually are just for Djinn so they are beneficial. Like in the other games forgeable items can be found and you can forge some really good stuff but here's some fair warning. Save before handing over any forgeable material because if you don't like what you get, you can soft reset the game and do it again and again until you get what you want and if you want Excalibur for example you will need to do this method continually until you get it.
Is Golden Sun: Dark Dawn worth your money. Short answer, YES. Long answer, it has a great story worthy of it's predecessors and even though not much has change it proves that if it ain't broke, don't fix it! It will last you 30 hours if you rush and forever if you look for everything and try to max your levels. For a JRPG it's not very difficult and easily approachable so anyone can play it but you will feel a little confused if you haven't played the previous games, but lucky for newcomers there a 5 books to find in the game with a basic recap of the last games story, although I highly recommend playing the previous ones. I give it a 4/5, it's a good game that is easy to play and the story is great. You won't regret buying it unless you hate JRPGs and if you do, why are you reading this?