The Dawn of a Golden Age: The Golden Sun Series

This is an article about my favorite video game franchise: Golden Sun. The article provides a history of the series, and then gives a brief overview of the basic story within the games. Afterward, it closes with a call for a fourth entry to the series.


Here is a list of the games within the Golden Sun series:

  1. Golden Sun (released in 2001 for the Game Boy Advance)
  2. Golden Sun: The Lost Age (released in 2003 for the Game Boy Advance)
  3. Golden Sun: Dark Dawn (released in 2010 for the Nintendo DS)

I own all rights to this article and I do not allow the publication of any part of it without my permission. If you would like to use it, in whole or in part, please contact me to ask for this permission. From there, I will decide whether or not to license the use of it to you. Thank you.


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The Dawn of a Golden Age: The Golden Sun Series

By Ammon Hansen     November 26, 2016

 

For RPG (role playing game) lovers, there is nothing better than an entire series of satisfying games to play. There are hundreds of RPGs on the market, but there is one series that has faded into the background over the years: Golden Sun.

Golden Sun is often stated to have set the standard for Game Boy Advance RPGs. Released in 2001 by Camelot; this beautiful GBA game is still a fond favorite, with a large fan base. Although there are currently only three games released, there are many loose ends from each game, leaving the series wide open for a fourth game.

 

History of the Golden Sun Franchise

Every installment of Golden Sun creates an in-depth chronological story, each building upon the events and characters in the previous games. Starting in 2001 with Golden Sun, it was quickly followed with Golden Sun: The Lost Age, which was released in 2003. After giving players a spectacular sequel with a cliff-hanger, Camelot then waited a long seven years before releasing the third chapter of the franchise. In 2010, Golden Sun: Dark Dawn was released, this time on the Nintendo DS.

Unfortunately for the Golden Sun series, Camelot had waited far too long before delivering to its fan base. Those who had grown up with the game were now seven years older, and many were simply too busy to play. Of those who did find the time, seven years of fantasies, fan fiction, and high hopes had spoiled them. They felt that Dark Dawn didn’t live up to their expectations, and they left the game feeling disappointed. Introduced into a generation where gamers preferred shooter, action, and sports genres over RPG games, Golden Sun quietly began to fade away.

But this may not be the end. Although Dark Dawn was introduced to a new era of gamers, it still found a place in the loving hearts of many RPG players. There were still many of the series’ original players who received the third installment eagerly, and were very pleased with the game. In addition, many of the new generation of gamers gave Dark Dawn a fair chance, and fell in love with the series. A large number of these newly converted players hungrily obtained copies of the old GBA games, Golden Sun and The Lost Age, excitedly learning more about the vast world of Weyard.

Although it has been over six years since the release of Dark Dawn, many players continue to hope for the release of a fourth installment. In fact, a large number of these gamers watch game news updates (such as Nintendo Direct) for a single reason: the announcement of Golden Sun 4.

 

Overview of the Series

Weyard

The Golden Sun franchise exists within the fictional world of Weyard. Weyard is a flat world, with seven continents and several smaller land masses. The four oceans all flow to Gaia Falls, which refers to the collective waterfall that drops from the edge of the world, flowing into oblivion. The geography of the continents closely resembles planet Earth, although many millennia ago. Additionally, the flat world design is likely taken from the pre-Columbus belief that Earth was flat, rather than round.

 

Characters and Plot

The first game, Golden Sun, is played entirely from the perspective of the main character, Isaac. Isaac and his best friend Garet are Adepts, with the ability to command and harness the elemental powers of Psynergy. The pair race across Weyard, fighting and using their abilities in an attempt to prevent the release of the power of Alchemy, which will destroy the world. Along the way, they meet others with abilities much like their own, two of whom join their quest: Ivan and Mia.

Throughout the game, they repeatedly fail to thwart the plans of the antagonists: Saturos, Menardi, Alex, and Felix. For an unknown reason, this group is attempting to light the four Elemental Lighthouses, which will unlock the forbidden power of Alchemy.

In The Lost Age, the game picks up right where Golden Sun left off, with one difference: this time, the main character is the antagonist, Felix. Aided by his younger sister, Jenna (whom he kidnapped in the first game), and Sheba (whom he also kidnapped), the characters meet and recruit a mysterious fourth member to their party, Piers.

Without revealing any spoilers, it can be said that there is much to learn, several things to find, and a large number of tough battles to wage. The Lost Age is full of surprises, tragedies, and victories.

Thirty years later the epic continues in Dark Dawn, where Isaac’s son Matthew sets out on a quest of his own. Accompanied by his friends Tyrell and Karis, they are soon swept into a greater adventure than they ever expected to find. The three team up with five other Adepts: Reif, Amiti, Sveta, Eoleo, and Himi.

As the group forms, they travel throughout Weyard, which is once again faced with the threat of destruction. Uncovering long-forgotten secrets and facing extraordinary new powers, they fight to save the world. Upon completion, Dark Dawn provides the player with an immense cliff-hanger ending, leaving many possibilities wide open and ready to be explored in a sequel.

 

Gameplay

The battles are turn-based, and there are three ways to fight:

First, there are weapons. Characters can discover and purchase weapons and armor throughout the game, and can use them to deal impressive levels of damage to enemies.

Second, there is Psynergy. Psynergy is elemental power, and every Adept can learn to use one of the four elements: Earth, Fire, Water, and Wind. These abilities are used throughout dungeons to move forward, and are used in battle to fight.

Third, there are Djinn. Djinn are elemental entities, capable of boosting elemental power. In each of the games, there are dozens of Djinn to be discovered. Many of them can be difficult to find, but the small creatures are invaluable in a fight. The greater the number of Djinn a character holds, the more damage that can be dealt with them. They are used to summon elemental forces, magical creatures such as dragons, gods such as Thor, and many other beings and powers. By summoning, the characters are capable of defeating several enemies at once. Additionally, summoning can often be the only chance a character has at defeating powerful enemies.

 

A Dark End…Or a Golden Beginning?

Golden Sun is arguably the greatest RPG of all time. With an engaging plot and in-depth characters, a strategic battle system, countless dungeons to wander, and an entire world to explore, it offers everything that an RPG needs, and more.

Although it has been six years since the release of Dark Dawn, there is still great hope for the future of the Golden Sun franchise. In fact, Camelot acknowledges the desire for a fourth game, but they want to verify the size of the fan base, before deciding if it is worth creating.

For those who have never played Golden Sun, you’re in for a real treat. Check it out, and discover why it has become the golden standard for RPGs. The world of Weyard holds many secrets, and is quietly waiting for the chance to tell them. The potential within the series is limitless. The beacon is still lit, and the dawn of this franchise has only just begun. But it needs help to get there. So it’s up to the gamers and left to the players, to stand up and call for the light of a Golden Sun to shine once more.


The above image is taken from GoldenSunRealm.com:

http://www.goldensunrealm.com/gs/general/

The cover image is taken from Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Sun

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