Golden Sun: Dark Dawn DS

User Score
8.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 91 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 70 out of 91
  2. Negative: 4 out of 91
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  1. May 9, 2014
    5
    It's fine up until the end. The final boss is way too hard. I was going to go back to get some stuff I missed as well as some more health items, but it locks you out after a certain point. You have to make sure you get absolutely everything in an area before moving on even if that means grinding money for that revival water. First time players will get totally screwed over if they justIt's fine up until the end. The final boss is way too hard. I was going to go back to get some stuff I missed as well as some more health items, but it locks you out after a certain point. You have to make sure you get absolutely everything in an area before moving on even if that means grinding money for that revival water. First time players will get totally screwed over if they just can't figure out how to get some of the djinn on the map and decide to come back to it later, which is easy to think about doing because of all the skills you get in the game. Why wouldn't you think that you can go back? They probably missed out on that kind of thing because they wanted to dodge all the complaints that back tracking gets.

    Also, the story is super boring and the inventory system blows. The game could be better, but it's okay.
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  2. Dec 26, 2013
    5
    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 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
    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 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.
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  3. Mar 2, 2011
    7
    The original Golden Sun games were two of the best made for the GBA, if you ask me. This game has a lot in common with those greats as far as style is concerned but as much as I enjoyed playing it Dark Dawn feels more like a children's versions of the games than anything else. When even the optional boss fights are easy (and I didn't grind at all) you know there's a problem with theThe original Golden Sun games were two of the best made for the GBA, if you ask me. This game has a lot in common with those greats as far as style is concerned but as much as I enjoyed playing it Dark Dawn feels more like a children's versions of the games than anything else. When even the optional boss fights are easy (and I didn't grind at all) you know there's a problem with the game. The other main problem is that the game doesn't seem to have a real strong grasp of the story and at the end, ultimately, nothing is accomplished. Overall a fun game to breeze through but nothing to sink your teeth into. Expand
  4. Feb 8, 2011
    7
    Golden Sun: Dark Dawn is, in my opinion, not as good as the first two for the GBA. That may be a little unfair in comparison, afterall, since the first two were probably about as good of a GBA game could get. However, this is a sequel, and as a sequel, GSDD is an excellent choice for RPG fans who are looking for a good 30+ hours to invest their cash in on the DS. The graphics are ratherGolden Sun: Dark Dawn is, in my opinion, not as good as the first two for the GBA. That may be a little unfair in comparison, afterall, since the first two were probably about as good of a GBA game could get. However, this is a sequel, and as a sequel, GSDD is an excellent choice for RPG fans who are looking for a good 30+ hours to invest their cash in on the DS. The graphics are rather impressive, especially for the DS, and the battle animations are remarkable. The sound quality isn't as great as it should be, but I do rather enjoy some of the new scores for various towns as well as remakes from the first two titles. To be fair, the battles are about as straightforward as a turn-based RPG can get, with the occasional Djinn or Summon thrown in. All of the battles were quite easy throughout the game, including bosses. The only boss (excluding secret dungeon bosses) that ever posed a challenge was the final boss. The puzzles throughout the game were also extremely easy, save for a few that took me a little extra time, but never hindered me for long. That being said, the game is very easy and welcomes novice RPG fans. The story is much more bland this time around, with the main quest consisting of "In order to make this thing work, we have to go there and get this item!" All of the playable characters are likable and have personality except for the alternate Earth Adept, who really sounds like a robot in much of the dialogue. There's a decent level of customization based on what combination and how many Djinn you assign to each character, so it's worth it to tinker around a little bit. One thing that irritated me tremendously was the fact that there are passable Djinn and Summons. There were also passable Djinn in the first two Golden Sun games, but I somehow managed to collect all of them anyways. In Dark Dawn, that is not the case, since I completely neglected an entire Summon and the last Earth Djinn. I recommend looking up a Djinn and Summon guide if you can't stand passing one of them. Overall, Golden Sun: Dark Dawn can be called a worthy predecessor. Is it revolutionary? No. Is it one of the greatest RPG's for the DS of this generation? No. But is it a good title and one that is essential if you're a fan? Yes. Recommended to fans and novice RPG gamers, but to those who desire a more challenging RPG for the DS, look elsewhere. Expand
  5. Jan 28, 2011
    6
    After 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
    After 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.
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Awards & Rankings

17
7
#7 Most Discussed DS Game of 2010
6
#6 Most Shared DS Game of 2010
Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 63 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 51 out of 63
  2. Negative: 0 out of 63
  1. Jun 5, 2011
    90
    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.
  2. Apr 4, 2011
    75
    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.
  3. Feb 25, 2011
    85
    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.