Golden Sun: Dark Dawn DS


Generally favorable reviews - based on 63 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 51 out of 63
  2. Negative: 0 out of 63
Buy On
  1. Dec 13, 2010
    It's got some interesting mechanics to it, but the game ultimately feels somewhat dated.
  2. Dec 13, 2010
    While it may never be considered a classic, Golden Sun: Dark Dawn is certainly a DS RPG worth playing.
  3. Jan 3, 2011
    Strictly as an RPG though, Dark Down is a worthwhile endeavor.
  4. Dec 13, 2010
    If you're searching for a first-class RPG with great writing and complex combat, Golden Sun: Dark Dawn shouldn't even be on your radar. But if you can handle an unhealthy dose of JRPG stereotypes and don't mind breezing through encounters, some fun is waiting to be unearthed here.
  5. Dec 13, 2010
    If we haven't stressed this enough, this is not a game for everyone. Its glacial pace and text-heavy gameplay will put most gamers to sleep. But those looking for a deep combat system, a complex story, and a long-awaited new entry in a beloved franchise will absolutely love the many hours they spend working through Golden Sun: Dark Dawn.
  6. Dec 13, 2010
    It's definitely worth checking out, but I'd probably temper any nostalgia-based excitement for it.
  7. Dec 21, 2010
    With a lengthy central quest and plenty of side missions, there's enough Golden Sun here to illuminate many a long winter evening.
  8. Dec 13, 2010
    Are you willing to put up with a particularly long opening that's nearly devoid of tactics, challenging puzzles, or meaningful plot developments? Because if you are, a pretty fantastic fantasy role-playing game awaits. If not, well, there are plenty of other RPG alternatives on the DS.
  9. Dec 13, 2010
    But if you don't expect this sequel to do anything other than continue the same story and gameplay that turned a few heads years ago, Dark Dawn is one of the better RPGs to hit the DS this late in 2010.
  10. Jan 31, 2011
    Golden Sun: Dark Dawn is an excellent JRPG. Surprisingly, gameplay is extremely close to previous installments in the franchise and it's quite baffling Camelot did not dare to do more with this third episode. Despite this flaw in originality, Golden Sun: Dark Dawn is a well done and refined lengthy adventure but it does not win over Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Sky as the DS game of the year.
  11. Dec 30, 2010
    The third Golden Sun follows a classic approach to RPG which might disappoint some, but will please those who love japanese style games.
  12. Dec 13, 2010
    The DS does great RPGs and great Zeldas. Now it does both at once. Essential.
  13. Dec 13, 2010
    Dark Dawn may not be a great game, but it's striving to become something better. Despite its flaws, it has charm enough to be worth a look -- even on a platform glutted with RPGs.
  14. Dec 21, 2010
    Still! It's impossible not to love Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, because even despite the ridiculous easiness and the stereotypically meandering adventure, it still has a ton of heart (both the lighthearted and heartwarming varieties), and doesn't take itself too seriously.
  15. Dec 21, 2010
    Camelot doesn't risk and create a game not so memorable as its predecessors but still very suitable for fans of the Golden Sun series.
  16. Dec 21, 2010
    Golden Sun is a very enjoyable game and one that remains true to the series. Despite the game's shortcomings when it comes to dialogue and pacing, Dark Dawn is fun while it lasts and a worthy addition to the series. Here's to hoping the wait for the next Golden Sun game won't be nearly as long.
  17. Jan 7, 2011
    With the 3DS set to take over the handheld world in a few months, Golden Sun: Dark Dawn may just be the last great RPG for the legendary Nintendo DS.
  18. Dec 13, 2010
    For all its complexity, this is a game that remains virtually open-armed in its inviting accessibility.
  19. Jan 12, 2011
    Even if it won't be remembered neither as the best one in the trilogy, nor as one of the best JRPG in the rich DS line up, Golden Sun Dark Dawn is nonetheless a well above average game, imbued with a deep combat system and nice puzzles.
  20. Edge Magazine
    Dec 23, 2010
    Bar a handful of bosses, Dark Dawn is a pushover, never requiring you to brave the combat's depths. Yes, it grants breathing room for testing unlikely combinations, but we'd have liked to put our mastery to the test. [Jan 2011, p.101]
  21. Dec 13, 2010
    It doesn't reach the same heights as some of the truly great JRPG's available on the DS but it still provides plenty of solid role playing action and introduces a new generation of handheld gamers to the world of Golden Sun.
  22. Dec 29, 2010
    Golden Sun: Dark Dawn is a traditional RPG with a great technical value. The graphic is sharp and the soundtrack is perfect for every kind of situation on the screen. The lack of new ideas, anyway, is quite a problem for everyone who is looking for new emotions.
  23. Dec 13, 2010
    Dark Dawn might not be the major upgrade many were hoping for, but it is yet another solid DS role-playing adventure and a golden opportunity to revisit yet another classic RPG series.
  24. Dec 21, 2010
    Series and genre fans are well provided for but it's a shame the technical achievements aren't in service of a more adventurous game.
  25. Jan 6, 2011
    Dark Dawn is a good RPG, mainly thanks to the refined combat system and the intelligent puzzles. The game lacks a bit of originality and challenge, though. The end also comes very unexpected.
  26. Apr 4, 2011
    It's like RPG comfort food. You've been here before, you know what to expect, so sit down – grab your stylus, and prepare for another journey.
  27. Nintendo Power
    Dec 13, 2010
    "Quotation Forthcoming"
  28. Dec 21, 2010
    The vastly improved graphics offer a kind of detail you normally wouldn't find on the DS.
  29. 75
    People new to the franchise will appreciate the efforts taken to acclimate them to the mythology and mechanics of Wayard, but the lack of nostalgia might diminish the title's overall appeal.
  30. Jan 26, 2011
    It may be handsomely made, but that doesn't save Golden Sun: Dark Dawn from being a disappointment.
  31. Dec 21, 2010
    One of the best japanese RPGs that we've played this season, probably the most complete Golden Sun so far - we expected something more from its script, not just the plain and simple story that we've suffered several times, but still, it's a must-have no doubt.
  32. Dec 21, 2010
    No doubt about it, you'll definitely get your money's worth here. It may not be the most memorable or challenging RPG you'll play, and is definitely not without its frustrations, but Golden Sun: Dark Dawn is a respectable package - with sufficient character and quality to hold your interest right through to the end. It's a good game for younger players to cut their RPG teeth on… and for the fans, of course.
  33. Dec 30, 2010
    The new Golden Sun is a nice sequel, but there is nothing special or unique in this game.
  34. Jan 4, 2011
    A fine addition to the roleplaying game lineup on the DS, Golden Sun: Dark Dawn is excellent proof that Nintendo can continue to build their franchises and aim for bigger and better things.
  35. Dec 13, 2010
    It's taken a long time for this sun to rise again, but Dark Dawn is a substantial RPG that will appeal to both newcomers and veterans.
  36. Dec 21, 2010
    Undoubtedly, Camelot has faithfully reproduced the GBA episodes' formula, and that includes its old-school narrative approach. With the exception of the brilliant transposition of this universe in 3D, the actual changes are not so numerous. Of course we can find some nice adjustments, but they fail to balance out a lack of personality. We still think all the qualities of a Golden Sun game are still there : a solid RPG with an excellent combat system, good puzzles, and of course an army of oh-so-useful Djinns to collect.
  37. LEVEL (Czech Republic)
    Feb 24, 2011
    Golden Sun is one of the games you think you've already played... and more than once. If you are not familiar with JRPGs or you suffer from Alzheimer it may entertain you much more. [Issue#200]
  38. Dec 13, 2010
    Once again, this is easily my favourite RPG title of the year and if you're looking for good old fashioned action and adventuring than this game is for you.
  39. An astounding return for the prodigal Sun.
  40. Nintendo Gamer
    Dec 23, 2010
    RPG smarts and exploration thrills combine into a brilliantly driven adventure. [Issue#56, p.51]
  41. Dec 13, 2010
    Golden Sun: Dark Dawn is mostly what we were waiting for in a sequel to the classic original titles. With just about everything you can expect from the series brought over onto the DS, this game features the high production values and classic jRPG gameplay coupled with the rewarding puzzles and unique Djinn battle system.
  42. Jan 5, 2011
    The sequel takes everything loved about the original games and updates it for new hardware.
  43. Jan 10, 2011
    By comparison with DQ IX, Golden Dawn Dark Sun is an experience that brings together less and remains close to tradition. By then, some fans of the series will feel too girded with a familiar atmosphere, despite the visible efforts to raise the quality levels of the series.
  44. Jan 28, 2011
    Way to simple and some boring dialogue, but awesome graphics and a smart leveling system makes up for it.
  45. Dec 13, 2010
    With just about everything you can expect from the series brought over onto the DS, this game features the high production values and classic JRPG gameplay coupled with the rewarding puzzles and unique Djinn battle system.
  46. Dec 13, 2010
    End of the day, it's a must for fans of Golden Sun or indeed any fan of portable RPG games.
  47. Dec 13, 2010
    Golden Sun is great franchise, and Dark Dawn can comfortably stand next to its excellent prequels. The world set in place here is intersting and fun to explore.
  48. Jan 4, 2011
    In the third part of the Golden Sun saga much is the same. The Djinn system is very entertaining and gives the game that extra something that lifts it above many other turn based RPGs.
  49. Jun 5, 2011
    It was a long wait, but Golden Sun fans can breathe easy; Camelot have still got it. More of a tranquil sunset and one of the finest swansongs the DS could ever have asked for, Golden Sun: Dark Dawn provides gamers the full package; interesting overworld and story, challenging puzzles, and fun combat, with ease of play no matter what the player's experience.
  50. Jan 3, 2011
    There's not a whole lot to say about Dark Dawn. It's a polished, visually-appealing, cliché-filled, trope-ridden jRPG that is seemingly made exclusively for the fans of the previous games.
  51. Jan 28, 2011
    An accessible RPG with fantastic dungeon design and charming graphics, but light on story.
  52. Dec 21, 2010
    The difficulty is too low, with virtually no challenge until the very end of the game, when it suddenly ramps up to interesting levels.
  53. Feb 8, 2011
    A good RPG, but visually it seems more a Gameboy Advance game than one published for the Nintendo DS.
  54. Dec 21, 2010
    Having waited seven years for another helping of Golden Sun, cozy is exactly what I was looking for.
  55. Dec 21, 2010
    Golden Sun: Dark Dawn has plenty of great spells, enjoyable environmental puzzles, and enemies whose heads desperately need caving in. The magical djinn are its only remarkable feature, but unfortunately turn the combat into child's play. Dark Dawn is a perfectly serviceable JRPG, and fans of the two previous Golden Sun titles will undoubtedly enjoy it. But it could be far, far better.
  56. Jan 18, 2011
    From the simple but colorful and dynamic polygons of this new Golden Sun DS, it's pretty much the Sega Saturn that stares at us. If only she knew how much we miss her.
  57. Feb 23, 2011
    Golden Sun: Dark Dawn delivers many hours of fun for role playing game lovers out there, and both the main story and the sidequests get better as the game progresses. The story may be a little jumbled at times, but the combat mechanics more than make up for it.
  58. Feb 25, 2011
    There is something for every RPG fan in Golden Sun: Dark Dawn: a superior blend of puzzle-solving and gameplay for newcomers and the same charm from the original GBA games for series veterans. The battles are fun, the puzzles are rewarding, and the overall game is addicting, all ingredients needed for a stellar RPG.
  59. Dec 13, 2010
    All things considered, Dark Dawn is still the game series fans have been waiting seven years for.
  60. Feb 18, 2011
    As part of a saga, however, Dark Dawn leaves a lot to be desired, even more considering all the commotion regarding the series' new rise. And no matter it's quality or commendable status as an RPG, the game is inevitably a dark dawn to Golden Sun fans.
  61. Dec 15, 2010
    A perfect continuation of the Golden Sun series which will appeal to all, even if seasoned players will find it a little too easy.
  62. Dec 21, 2010
    The obscure names and redundant dialog can reach levels of absurdity, and sometimes you'll want to yell at your characters to just shut up and get on with the adventuring, but the puzzles and presentation make the complex plot worth slogging through.
  63. 87
    The story of Golden Sun DS is wonderful. The game feels like the GBA version with all the positive aspects. Never change a running system.

Awards & Rankings

#5 Most Discussed DS Game of 2010
#5 Most Shared DS Game of 2010
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 85 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 24
  2. Negative: 0 out of 24
  1. Dec 1, 2010
    Golden Sun is as good as it ever was. That statement will mean one of two things for people: most fans will appreciate the details which areGolden Sun is as good as it ever was. That statement will mean one of two things for people: most fans will appreciate the details which are remeniscent of the original two GBA games and will smile at the similarities and embrace the nostalgia it brings; others, will likely find that the game is out-dated compared to today's standard of RPG. This should not be a deterrent however, embrace the finely crafted traditional J-RPG style of gaming, appreciate the effort that has went into providing a relatively seamless transition from the GBA to DS, and remember the fun that can be had with Camelot's Golden Sun series. Outstandingly familiar. Full Review »
  2. Dec 26, 2013
    I'm a huge fan of the Golden Sun series. The GBA episodes are two of the best experiences I've had in a video game and I naturally was veryI'm a huge fan of the Golden Sun series. The GBA episodes are two of the best experiences I've had in a video game and I naturally was very excited to finally get this third episode. And what a disappointment my friends...

    It felt like this game had almost nothing from the old ones, except the combat system. The writings and dialogs were atrocious, the design was overall extremely poor and tainted with bad choices, the whole thing felt incredibly bland and tedious.
    Golden Sun 1 & 2 already had a gameplay we could consider as "very classic", but they had this perfect... everything, and captivated until the ending credits. Dark Dawn just simplified everything, made it feel very childish.
    The difficulty is not here anymore and you'll basically rush through the game and its poor-designed maps and villages in something like 20hrs. Coup de grâce the soundtrack from the genius Motoi Sakuraba, who amazed us with the OST of the first two Golden Sun and with many oher games, sounded uninspired and insipid !
    Overall, I got the feeling that the development team was forced to make this game it while they had no good ideas at all and after the first half-hour, I was already praying for the game to finish because of how much it hurt me to see such a fantastic series getting butchered like this. The fact that the ending was obviously rushed in such a way that everyone thought there would be a sequel when there would be none confirms my theory that this game was not finished and that its development probably went through a lot of troubles. I will try not to spoil anything, but none of the real questions were answered and you basically solved... nothing.

    If you have great memories of this fantastic series and if you expect something out of the games you play, make sure to stay far away from this episode. You'll thank me later.
    Full Review »
  3. Jan 28, 2011
    After seven years, the Golden Sun franchise finally gets a much desired sequel. It doesn't disappoint, either, it's exactly what the fans hadAfter seven years, the Golden Sun franchise finally gets a much desired sequel. It doesn't disappoint, either, it's exactly what the fans had been wanting. Though there were pros and cons to the game, just as in the previous games, the cons were things that often times got in the way of the entertainment. I'll get to that later, though.

    First is the pros. In terms of storytelling and characterization, Dark Dawn does a much better job than its predecessors. While the game gets off to a slow and rocky start, the actual storytelling, especially starting about halfway through, really improves, and it begins to become enjoyable. Also unlike the first couple games, this game did a lot of characterization into the first six or so characters, especially Sveta. While the last two characters simply game too late to get a good feel for them, you got to know the first six, and in conversation even got a feel for the silent protagonist's personality.

    However, the game has a few major faults. First is the ease of the game - simply put, you get too powerful too fast, and the rest of the game winds up becoming a joke. While the final boss does a good job in terms of giving a challenging battle, the combination of surprisingly high experience rewards and rapid acquiring of djinn just keep anything else from coming close to being a threat.

    This leads to the second complaint - poor pacing. Some character just plain and simple should have joined up earlier - the last two you get join you in the last hour or so of the game, too late to make any sort of impact. Even worse, one is used as a deus ex machina of sorts, rather jarring considering how well told the story had been up until then.

    The biggest kicker, though, had to be that the game suffered from the exact same flaws as its predecessors, little if any attempt to fix this was made. In fact, it's almost like it got worse - while psynergy is decent early game, with both rapid class upgrades and level ups, it's quickly overpowered by the unleashes. Near the middle of the game, it just stops being worth it to cast anything other than buffs and healing - enemies aren't enough of a threat to need debuffs or ailments, and even mages wind up doing more damage with their physical strikes than with psynergy. To add insult to injury, the only real saving grace psynergy had in The Lost Age, the advantage that it can strike an area, is gone as well.

    However, the negatives, while it may seem in the review to be greater than the positives, really don't outweigh it. The game is still plenty of fun, and while not phenomenal, it definitely above average. It may be easier than some prefer, but you'll quickly find when doing self-imposed challenges that the game can get very difficult if you skip too many djinn, either on purpose or by mistake. All and all, it's very enjoyable.

    However, it should go without saying that the next installment will need to start addressing ome of the problems with the series, as without the 7 year break, fans will be much less forgiving.
    Full Review »