When GOLDEN SUN came out for the Game Boy Advance over a year and a half ago, the gaming world was pleasantly surprised. GOLDEN SUN presented gamers with an engaging challenge on the portable system, while sporting some great graphics and fun gameplay. Now, developer Camelot gives gamers more of what made the first game great, with the "sequel" GOLDEN SUN: THE LOST AGE.
THE LOST AGE is really an extension of where the first game left off, storyline and all. And when I say "extension", that is exactly what I mean - Camelot has made no huge efforts to top all of the visual goodness that the first GOLDEN SUN offered. This is merely the second chapter of the series. So if you're looking for something brand new, you might not find what you're looking for here. If you're looking for another great RPG, keep reading.
While it isn't necessary to have played the first game to understand what THE LOST AGE is about, it is recommended. Yes, there is an introduction at the beginning that explains the original game, but you'll be doing yourself a disservice if you don't play through the first game. One advantage of playing through the first game is, by way of link-up, you can transfer your data from the first game to the second, with that data coming into play later on in the game.
Much like the first game, THE LOST AGE is an extremely wordy game. Be sure to go into this game anticipating a lot of reading on your part, because there will be plenty. While most of the text explains the storyline, some parts of it just don't make sense to me. A lot of times you'll be talking to someone about something that is completely off-topic from the storyline, and the reason this is there is to make you "feel" like you're in the game. It's a good intention, but it really gets annoying at times.
To be perfectly honest, not a lot has changed from the first incarnation of the game, which is not a bad thing at all. The graphics still have that dazzling look that the first game brought about, and aside from a few new mini-games and puzzles, the gameplay is about the same.
One thing that I thought the original GOLDEN SUN did well was the inclusion of Djinn, creatures that can be summoned during battles. But first, you must catch them (all - blatant Pokemon reference). After catching them, you can summon them during battle to perform powerful attacks. It is possible to beat the game without the Djinn, but one thing they bring is some nice battle special effects. So, if you want to see all the game has to offer, you may want to try to catch these things.
While there hasn't been a lot of change between the first GOLDEN SUN and THE LOST AGE, there wasn't much that could be changed for the better. Camelot made a great game engine, and until someone can come along with something better, this is the game to beat. While it may not be particularly "new", this is the best RPG on the Game Boy Advance.