The Good, Bad & Ugly in this Ultimate Golden Sun Review

When I first got my Nintendo Game Boy Advance, Golden Sun was one of my very first GBA games I played on the system. My younger brother told me it was a GBA-exclusive RPG that I would really enjoy. I fired it up, felt like the intro was a little slow, got distracted As is the case with many RPGs—lost steam and didn’t come back to it for years. I returned to Golden Sun a few months ago and, while I’m happy that I saw the game through, the problems that turned me off to it the first time around remained sticking points throughout my 30+ hour playthrough. Golden Sun is a solid RPG but requires patience Because its story ends with an annoying “To Be Continued” that leaves everything to be resolved in the sequel, Golden Sun: The Lost Age (2002). Golden Sun is a game that feels at home on...

Continue reading
Tags:

Fire Emblem Game Boy Advance Review - GBA

Fire Emblem for the Game Boy Advance has proven itself one of those rare games well able to stand the test of time. The graphics have been surpassed, of course, but Fire Emblem was never primarily about the graphics. Story and Gameplay that Build on Each Other Keep Fire Emblem Fun Fire Emblem is a fun turn-based strategy RPG set in a relatively typical fantasy world of magic and dragons, heroes and villains. The turn-based gameplay is relatively easy for a fan of the genre to pick up – different terrain types affect movement and defensibility, there is a paper-rock-scissors-like triangle that determines which weapon and magic types do well or poorly against other weapons and magic, and your party is made up of easily understood fantasy classes. Weapons (and spell books) degrade over time and must be replaced, which makes cost management and judicious use of irreplaceable powerful weapons/spells an...

Continue reading
Tags:

Game Boy Advance Final Fantasy VI Review - GBA

I became a Final Fantasy fan in 1997 with Final Fantasy Vii, and have played every (non-MMO) game in the series since. I only just now went back to the game in the series most likely to give Final Fantasy Vii a run for its money as best Final Fantasy ever Final Fantasy VI (originally released in 1994 for the SNES). I was skeptical that an SNES-era game could be as compelling as the technologically and narratively groundbreaking Final Fantasy Vii, but despite a somewhat slow first half. Final Fantasy VI is well worth playing, even 20 + years after its original release. The core of the Final Fantasy RPG experience is definitely here – you assemble a team of adventurers to save the world from an overpowered menace. You visit towns, traverse a world map, meet a guy named Cid (one of the better Cids in the series), get an...

Continue reading
Tags:

Final Fantasy IV Review for the Nintendo GameBoy Advance, GBA

The original game was published by square enix for the Super NES with an American Release in 1991 as Final Fantasy II, Final Fantasy IV Advance (for the Game Boy Advance). Playing Final Fantasy IV again for the first time in a while, it seems I've forgotten a lot about the story.  The world we live in has moved on, and indeed, so has the game, with 3D graphics ports released for the Nintendo DS, mobile translation, and PC platforms (and updated 2D graphics for the PSP). Still, though the old 2D sprite's version shows its age in many ways, it's a game that any old-school Final Fantasy fans of the series or of RPG history should play, and it remains surprisingly fun years after its release. Fans of modern RPG storytelling owe a debt of gratitude to Final Fantasy IV.  Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy III had bare-bones stories, the cast...

Continue reading
Tags:

Shining Force Resurrection of the Dark Dragon GBA Review

Shining Force: Resurrection of the Dark Dragon has had a fantastic shelf life. The 2004 Game Boy Advance strategy RPG is, in fact, itself a remake of a 1992 Sega Genesis game.  That adds new characters, battles, plot, and gameplay revisions, and since 2004, the original has been re-released as part of Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection for the PS3 and 360 and as a downloadable title on the Switch, Steam, and iOS. So the game has fans. Getting Lost all over Again, with Shining Force Shining Force was one of the first turn-based tactical RPGs, following the original Fire Emblem (never released outside Japan) by two years, though its developers deny being influenced by Fire Emblem. I came to Shining Force looking for a game similar to the GBA Fire Emblem titles, and though I like the Fire Emblem games a bit more, I didn’t walk away from my first Shining Force play through...

Continue reading
Tags:

Advance Wars Game Boy Advance Review, GBA

Advance Wars for the Game Boy Advance has an unusual release history. Originally intended as a Japanese exclusive because Nintendo didn’t think Westerners would be into turn-based strategy (TBS), this classic game eventually released first in North America…on September 10, 2001. Advance Wars Is as Accessible, Challenging, and Fun as Ever: In the aftermath of the next day’s terrorist attacks, European and Japanese releases were postponed. Advance Wars launched in Europe a few months later in January of ’02, but the game originally meant for Japanese only didn’t come out in Japan at all for another three years, first appearing in a compilation with Advance Wars 2 in November 2004. Advance Wars was part of a larger series already established in Japan known as Famicom Wars, Famicom being the Japanese name for the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). The overall, series which is now sometimes called Nintendo Wars includes 12 titles in...

Continue reading
Tags: