E3 10: Golden Sun: Dark Dawn hands-on

June 21, 2010

Camelot’s Golden Sun series was gone for a while, and thought dead until last year’s E3, when the game was revealed. It was only marginally playable then, though, with no puzzles or combat. Everything’s falling into place now, and we looked at how it’s coming.

Battle seems familiar, and sticks to the original formula. You can attack, use Psynergies, special moves of varying ranges, and summon special creatures that you collect through the course of the game. Managing range and power is the dynamic of the series, and it seems intact. The djinn work similarly to how they did before, and though the game no longer pushes the graphical envelope, it stays faithful to the visual style of the original. 

Overworld puzzles were also on display, and this part takes advantage of the touch-screen for controls. When using the Move action to shift objects, you use the screen to gesture in which direction it should go. This seemed a bit wonky in practice, and Camelot’s unfamiliarity with the DS may be to blame; it feels like a game from mid-2006.

The true fun in an RPG comes from the progression in the game and the building of mechanics, and you just can’t experience that on the show floor. For now, it looks like a solid, if unspectacular, title for genre fans, and a welcome return for those who missed the GBA originals. We’ll find out more later this year.