Golden Sun 2 (Game Boy Advance) - Review by Andrew



The first Golden Sun title released was something of a sleeper hit with sales driven largely by good word of mouth reviews. It was all a bit of a surprise; while the GBA was flooded with RPGs that had previously appeared on other platforms, Golden Sun took the more original route creating a land that was new to the gaming community. It also brought some rather original gaming concepts to the RPG genre so in a market that appears to be driven by sequels and conversions it was clearly going to do well. The only problem was that it felt like half a game so if you?d seen the original animated Lord of the Rings (which only tells half the story) the whole exercise simply left you wanting more. That's not entirely a bad thing of course and film studios have been doing this king of thing for years but with the first outing being so enjoyable can developers Camelot really improve things with The Lost Age?


If you've played the original you'll know what to expect but if you're new to the Golden Sun series then you're in for a bit of a treat. You play the role of Felix who's rather handy with the old magic thing, which isn't to say he hasn't got a lot to learn and with a whole adventure in front of you it's clear that you'll have more than a few opportunities to hone those mystic skills. Before you start I must warn you that there is a fair amount of text in The Lost Age but for a change it's actually worth reading. The story is really rather good and rather than spelling out everything in the first paragraph it unfolds as you move from one location to another. As you'd expect there are lots of puzzles and interaction with other inhabitants but the one gameplay aspect that separates The Golden Sun series from its rivals is the ability to collect and utilize the Djinn.

The Djinn are Elemental Spirits that can be used in battle and are at the core of The Lost Age's gameplay. These creatures are your first line of defense but before you can even contemplate using them in battle you'll have to capture them. This can be incredibly challenging with the Djinn, seeming infinitely more intelligent in this second outing, employing a range of avoidance tactics. Once acquired however they can be used in battle with combinations of Djinn proving to be quite powerful against some of the more stubborn enemies you'll encounter. Whilst the adventure is strictly a single player affair you can transfer a lot of data via the link cable. You can also use this feature to port data from the original Golden Sun which is one of the many reasons that you should probably consider investing in 'book one' especially as you're likely to pick it up for a rather reasonable price now.


Opening up the manual reveals a double page spread of available controls but while this may appear quite daunting at first remember this is a Nintendo game and dropping you in at the deep end simply isn't the way they do things. The learning curve is actually incredibly gentle and whenever you do have to pull off a new move or cast a complicated spell you're generally already armed with the skills and knowledge to do so. The whole system is also very tight whilst remaining suitable responsive so no complaints there then.


Although the GBA has been around for some time now there are few developers that have truly embraced the extra processing power the hardware provides. Camelot have and The Lost Age is arguably the best looking RPG on the system. This runs throughout the game from the beautiful cut screens to the rendered characters and backgrounds. The animation is very smooth and the whole thing runs along at an impressive frame rate with absolutely no evidence of slowdown regardless of how much is happening on screen. The highlight though is undoubtedly the variety of spells that you can pull off which can transform the screen into what looks like a very expensive firework display and which are always incredibly satisfying to watch.


Camelot have done a truly wonderful job here and the soundtrack is quite simply outstanding. This is most noticeable in the incredible orchestral score which plays throughout the game making the whole quest appear larger than the tiny GBA generally allows. The sound effects are also top notch especially when a spell is cast. Once you've sampled the audio in The Lost Age it's going to be difficult to accept anything less pleasing on the ears. As usual with RPGs there are no sampled voices though with the amount of dialogue contained in the average RPG this does appear like an impossible task. It would also most likely be at the expense of the gameplay with a huge amount of cart space taken up for audio alone so we can?t complain.

Final comments

The Lost Age isn't a true sequel but more of a continuation of the story set up in the first outing. Even the intro subtitles the game as 'book two' meaning that if you haven't played the original it's probably a good idea to do so. That's not to suggest that this game doesn't stand alone though and as with the equally impressive Final Fantasy Tactics, I?d suggest that you might have a problem getting anything else done as long once this is inserted into your GBA. The game is challenging and well paced with some devious puzzles that will have you banging your head against a wall before your solution becomes apparent. It has everything that you enjoyed in the original with some impressive enhancements to boot. Nintendo have done it again. The Lost Age really is an RPG that every serious GBA owner should have in his or her collection so if it's not in yours what are you waiting for?

Pro: Looks Fantastic
Con: Nothing Really New
Final score: 8.4


  • test

    Dennis, 02-02-2021 at 23:29

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Boxart of Golden Sun 2 (Game Boy Advance)
Platform: Game Boy Advance
Genre: RPG
Developer: Camelot
Publisher: Nintendo