Fans of classic Game Boy Advance RPGs, get excited. Nintendo has announced that Golden Sun: Dark Dawn--the long-awaited followup to the two excellent Golden Sun games on the GBA--will be rising in retail stores on November 29th for the Nintendo DS.
Dark Dawn begins 30 years after the events of The Lost Age and puts you in control of a new party of warriors. The world of Golden Sun was radically altered after the lighting of the Elemental Lighthouses, and the world has become harsher than ever before. Players will guide their party on a quest to stop a new magical apocalypse, once again seeking the aid of over 70 Djinn sprites for assistance in battle and in puzzles.
I've always held the Golden Sun franchise in particularly high esteem, and with good reason: Both Golden Sun and Golden Sun: The Lost Age were loving throwbacks to the JRPGs of the Super Nintendo and Genesis, featuring a long, dense quest in a world brimming with secret weapons, powerful spells, and ridiculous sprite-based summons (all of which developer Camelot has in their blood, given that they created Shining Force). Best of all, the Golden Sun games melded that classic JRPG formula with a couple of neat twists that made the series more than just a Final Fantasy also-ran. I always appreciated that the techniques you were learning in combat could also be used out of battle to solve the game's various environmental puzzles.
Of course, as good as those first two Golden Sun games were, they were still pretty traditional, especially in comparison to some of the other, more radical RPGs being released on the GBA at the time, like Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga and Fire Emblem. And now, seven years after the release of Golden Sun: The Lost Age (you read that right. Seven years since the last Golden Sun. I couldn't feel older.), the RPG landscape has shifted even more dramatically, with a prioritization of action-oriented combat in favor of turn-based combat.
I've got enough nostalgia for this franchise that I'll buy this game on day one, but what about the rest of you? Does your familiarity with the Golden Sun franchise make this game appealing, or has it simply been too long since the series was relevant? Are you DS players who consumed all of Dragon Quest IX's content ready for more traditional RPG action? Or would you rather Camelot made another good Mario sports game?