Ah…Golden Sun. You know, if you were to ask someone to list off some of the best RPGs available on portable systems, this game series would likely make a lot of lists. In fact, even today a lot of people say that the two Golden Sun games on the Game Boy Advance were perhaps the best RPGs available on the platform. This actually is saying a good deal because there were some pretty nice RPGs that were ported over or developed for the GBA, but I can see why some folks would say this.
Of course, I was very much aware of this game and its follow-up on the platform, but they were games that I just never actually got into for some reason. It’s a shame, because after reading a lot about the series it seems like it’s really great. And, since I really had not done anything from the GBA on The Retro Play Show, I figured this was a good opportunity to give this game a shot.
Well, Golden Sun (released in 2001) is a very solid JRPG with a good story to it. The graphics are very nice, especially up-scaled and filtered to HD quality in Visual Boy Advance M, and the overall delivery is nice. It reminds me of a game from the mid-1990s on the SNES and has that sense of wonder and fun associated with it. You meet some really neat characters even in the first hour or so of gameplay, and you already get drawn in. There’s some good goofiness and fun to it, but you also know that there is a deeper story brewing and that things won’t all be sunshine and rainbows along the way. Also, upon digging a bit into Camelot Software Planning’s other games, I saw that the battle system and overall art style in Golden Sun is very reminiscent of their 1995 RPG Beyond the Beyond for the original PlayStation. The battle sprites (that appear semi-3D in a way) look almost identical, really.
Anyway, this video represents the first hour or so of the game. I do hope you enjoy it! I also hope that if you like it, you’ll let me know so that I can consider revisiting it in its own little series one day. :)
As always, enjoy, and stay tuned for more awesome fun!
Echoes of Aetheria is a brand new indie RPG from Dancing Dragon Games, released on January 15, 2016. If you follow the indie RPG scene, it’s possible that you may know Dancing Dragons through their previous games – Deadly Sin, Deadly Sin 2, and Skyborn – all of which are highly-rated titles. Echoes is certainly no exception.
What I love about this new game from them is that its world is deep and filled with lore. At one point in the video linked here, I spend several minutes reading from the in-game journal about all the characters and nations of the main game world. It’s obvious that an attention to detail went into this whole thing, and that’s actually really a great thing. So many RPGs these days forget the minor details, but this game feels like a living and breathing world, which is impressive for a title made on the RPG Maker engine.
I find that the game, while using a fair number of stock assets, actually puts the engine to good use with original music, custom graphics (especially sprite artwork), and a unique isometric battle system that reminds me of the Breath of Fire games. I really dig it, and honestly the videos showing off the battle system are what sold me on giving the game a fair play for you all.
I will say that I’ve only put in just over an hour into the main storyline, so one concern I do have is whether or not the game is a very linear story like it has been so far, or if we will get to a world map and get to open up our abilities to explore and complete side-quests and such. I don’t want to say one way or the other, but I’m really hoping that it isn’t incredibly linear in the long haul.
In either case, this game is a good example of what can be achieved with the engine. It’s a solid JRPG experience, and one I’d certainly recommend. :)
After dueling it out with Chester in the Illburns Ruins, Adol received a rather rude run-in with the Count which led to him getting kicked off a ledge and dropped deep within a new area called “Lava Zone.” With no way out (at least not through the way he came in), he’s got no other choice than to brave the heat and try and find a way back to the surface world.
The Lava Zone is not walk in the park. Enemies here start out rather tough, and thus it takes a little grinding to catch up with them and be able to take them down. It’s also not very straight-forward. We have to explore quite a bit to find the items we need to press deeper, such as a pendant that allows us to withstand walking in shallow lava (somehow…Yeah, not sure how that one works!). We eventually have another run in with the sorcerer we met down in the mines that leads us into a fight with Guillen, and it takes me a while to get rid of him. He’s a strange centipede-like creature that emits powerful burning spells and poses a decent threat, but once I figure out his pattern I manage to take him out.
The big boss of the area though is a bird-like creature called Gyalva, and I take him on and quickly get defeated, LOL. As a result, you’ll have to wait for Episode 4 to see how I manage to take that guy down!
As always, I hope you are enjoying Ys: The Oath in Felghana and stay tuned – more fun is on the way!
Well, after the craziness of Chapter 6 and how it was that the threat of the Enders came to a close, I wasn’t sure how things would wrap up for Celestian Tales: Old North. It’s one of those games where sometimes I’m just not exactly sure where the story will take us (probably a good thing), but I definitely didn’t expect the turn of events that happens during the knighting ceremony that makes up the bulk of Chapter 7.
At the end, we get into a difficult boss fight that really embarasses me because as a result, I understand some of the combat mechanics that I had been missing the whole time, namely that you could equip new skills gained as you level. Silly, I know, but we needed one of them for one of our characters so that she could issue an interrupt some important skills of the final boss which in turn made the battle much easier. In any event, we finally prevail and things are quite crazy.
Yet, you really need to stick around past the credits to see what really happened as in the final scene it all sort of makes sense. And, with all that said, since this is supposed to be the first in a three-part saga, I’m assuming this is all leading up to the sequel, which I’m not sure yet when is due out.
Anyway, thanks for sticking around for this one – I hope you enjoyed it!
Tomorrow, I’ll be releasing the first video in a new Retro Play series, focusing on Ys IV: Mask of the Sun. Stay tuned!
Chapter 6 has proven to be a very pivotal part of the game. Here, we actually learn that the Enders are far more complex than the people of the Old North were giving them credit for. While they are very deadly on the battlefield, the squires come to the realization that the way to defeat them may be through some sort of diplomacy, and they find a special means of communication: music. As for what actually happens in the final bits of the chapter, though, I’ll choose not to spoil here – just watch the video!
Chapter 7 is supposed to be the final part of the game, and I intend to put it into one longer video so that the game wraps up nicely. I’ve enjoyed Celestian Tales: Old North so far, and I hope you enjoy both this and the final episode! :)
So, our party recently had to deal with Sir Astori saving them by using arcane magic and having to go to trial for his actions. With the decision of the Lord General being to exile him from the Old North, our next task is to escort him down to Levantine Castle where he will board a ship bound for the realms beyond the North. This is a simple task (and the majority of Chapter 5), and Astori parts ways with us on a good note. He says that he hopes one day the North becomes more open minded and that he can share some of the wealth of knowledge from the lands outside, but for now he only wishes us the best.
With that out of the way, it’s back to the front lines to help the army with the Enders. When we fight our way through hordes of them and finally arrive at the new staging area, things aren’t going too well. Our armies are experiencing heavy losses and plenty of Enders remain for them to fight. To complicate things, one of the nobles runs off into the woods and our party is sent to save him.
That’ll be a task for next time, though. Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy this episode! :)
I was disappointed recently when a review I stumbled across of Celestian Tales: Old North noted that one of the game’s chief weaknesses was that it only took around ten hours to complete. I find this sad, because the game seems to have so much more promise to it. It dances around and plays with certain themes (fighting the dark ages by actually learning from other cultures, the class structures of society, and more) and promises to offer strong moral decisions that affect the game, but at the same time it feels so far like these things are only explored, but never fully teased out. Perhaps Old North was planned to be part of a wider series of games (they do talk about other lands beyond the region we see in the game), but so far, even though I’ve enjoyed the game a fair bit, I tend to find it lacking in some other ways.
Last time, though, we left off with our heroes being assigned guard duty over the supplies at the war camp. Well, the Enders attack with a small scouting party, and once they are defeated and the main forces return after a small victory, we are forced to seek shelter in a nearby city. Yet, when we get there, the town is in ruins and most of the people are either dead or have fled to neighboring villages for safety. The rulers of the city, too, are feared gone. To top it all off, someone remains who is taking the Enders and performing unholy experiments on them in order to turn them into mindless slaves, and when our lives are threatened in the end, one of the leading knights performs arcane magic to save the group. Thus, we are forced to see the law play itself out, which is clear about the use of unholy magic no matter what the intent is, and it appears that Chapter 5 is going to build off of this in an important way that I don’t want to spoil just yet.
Well, even if we are nearly halfway (or more?) through the game, I’ve enjoyed it so far. It does offer fun combat and a good story, even if some of the other themes are played down a little bit throughout the journey.
Stick around – Chapter 5 is on the horizon!