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The revival to the classic franchise plays it too safe, but is solid enough for fans of the genre regardless.

7.0

Great
Difficulty:
Easy
Time Spent:
20 to 40 Hours
The Bottom Line:
"Old-school"

Summary

If there is one word that sums up the Golden Sun series in its entirety, it is "Traditional". From its start as an early Game Boy Advance RPG, this franchise has never been about redefining what it is to be an RPG with radical new mechanics or groundbreaking storytelling. Instead, it takes the tried-and-tested formulas and tropes of its genre and uses them to make simple-yet-satisfying fantasy games. Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, the first installment to the series in over seven years, follows in its predecessor's footsteps to an earnest degree. What this leads to is a cozy RPG that is sure to please fans of the series. However, it's certainly not the grand return that it could've been.

At the end of the previous Golden Sun, the original heroes had lit the four Elemental Lighthouses and restored Alchemy to the world, thus saving it from dying a slow death…or did they? In the thirty years since the fabled Golden Sun shone, all of Weyard has been wracked with disasters both natural and unnatural due to the Psynergy's violent return, and the heroes have received both praise and blame for their efforts. Players take control of Matthew, the son of former protagonist Isaac, and are soon tasked with plucking a feather off a rare bird so that his friend Karis can repair a device necessary for their parents to continue studying the after-effects of the Golden Sun event. Unfortunately for him, things are never that simple in the Golden Sun universe, as a group of shady individuals soon force Matthew and his ragtag band of heroes into a series of adventures across the continent for their own mysterious goals.

Dark Dawn's storytelling follows the same general pattern as the previous two games, which is both good and bad. It's good in that there is plenty of time to get acquainted with each character and their quirks, and while some of them lack personality, the cast for the most part is likable in their own right, or at least not worth making any "Worst Character Ever" rants over. With that said, the storytelling can also be quite frustrating. Like its predecessors, the plot likes to throw several detours and obstacles into the main story that the heroes must first work around before any real plot development can happen. This can lead to quite a bit of frustration in the first leg of the game, where the initial quests keep getting more convoluted by broken bridges and other contrivances. Even worse is the generally slow speed at which cutscenes unfold. Characters have a bad tendency to draw out plot expositions with a lot of filler, occasionally going so far as to repeat information the player already knows with a different choice of words. It's a shame, as whenever the plot gets moving, it's actually quite engaging. It just requires having to wade through a lot of dialogue and detours to get to the good parts.

One part that is all good about Dark Dawn is its presentation. Just like the first two games, Dark Dawn makes good use of the hardware it's on to create some impressive visuals. The graphics in both battles and the world map are pleasant to look at thanks to bright colors and a fair amount of detail in the polygons and textures. The battles take the cake, however, with well-animated models and a nice variety of monster and area designs. The best-looking part of these battles are the Djinn summons (more on those later), which have the most visual effort put into them and are just plain fun to watch when they launch their hilariously over-the-top attacks. Also quite enjoyable is the sound design. Golden Sun's soundtrack has always been good at evoking the genre's retro roots, and Dark Dawn is no exception. Despite being composed using MIDI (or rather because of it), Dark Dawn's music is generally well-composed and good at creating a sense of nostalgia and adventure. It's not as memorable as the soundtracks in the previous games, but it remains pleasant to listen to while exploring new territory.

The nostalgic charm also carries over into the gameplay itself. Dark Dawn is a traditional RPG through and through. You will travel across the continent battling an assortment of monsters and baddies, buying and selling new items and equipment in each town, staying at inns to fully recharge your party's health and Psynergy points, and exploring a series of elaborate ruins to find treasures and advance the plot. In addition to this, you'll also solve puzzles using your party's Psynergy (the game's word for magic). These puzzles generally revolve around moving pillars and manipulating objects to create pathways to the next room or treasure. They're not particularly big head-scratchers, but they do make for a nice break between fighting and roaming the countryside.

Speaking of fighting, the battle system is the same system used in many a famous RPG: You take turns giving commands to your party members such as basic attacking, defending, or using Psynergy or items. The unique feature to Golden Sun's fighting system is the Djinn. Djinn are small creatures scattered throughout Weyard and are equipped to each fighter to boost their stats much like regular equipment. In battle, you can unleash a Djinn's special ability – Powers like raising your team's stats or damaging and setting debilitating status-ailments on the enemies – but doing so comes at the temporary cost of losing the boosted stats. If enough Djinn have been used, you can also perform a summon, which calls forth a large entity capable of doing devastating damage, but this will force the Djinn on standby to go into an unusable recovery phase for a few turns. Djinn can also be mixed and matched to change a character's class, which comes with drastic changes to their stats and even Psynergy spells.

But the problem here is that there is almost no need to experiment with this. As far as RPG's go, Dark Dawn is pretty easy. Most common enemies can be taken down in one or two turns by just spamming the party's strongest Psynergy attacks, and while a few optional late-game bosses are legitimately tough, the fights required to finish the main quest and see the end credits don't take that much trouble to win. It ends up causing a lot of potential strategies and spells to go to waste; most status-ailment spells are nearly worthless, and just stacking all Djinn of one type onto each fighter raises their stats high enough to eliminate the need for strategic mixing anyway. The difficulty settings from Golden Sun: The Lost Age are also curiously absent, which would have helped to alleviate this issue. Once again, it's a shame that this has to get in the way, since the mechanics to Dark Dawn's battle system are well-tuned and generally fun to play with.

Overall, the problems with Golden Sun: Dark Dawn do hold the franchise's revival back quite a bit, but the game still turns out a solid traditional RPG at the end of the day. Fans of the franchise or cozy RPG's in general are sure to get a good kick out of it, but at the same time anyone who isn't interested in the series won't find any reason to start now. Golden Sun is what it is and isn't what it isn't, after all, but at the same time it does raise the question of what would happen if the series was a little bolder with its take on the traditional turn-based RPG.





Fantastic sequel with something for everybody. The multiplayer mode goes beyond duets, offering more variety than ever.

8.5

Superb
Difficulty:
Just Right
Time Spent:
20 to 40 Hours
The Bottom Line:
"Rocks"

Summary

This is definitely a sequel worthy of its predecessor. It offers pretty much the same gameplay, but with even nicer graphics, more songs to choose from, and 4+ player choreography that is so damn fun.

It also added a rewards feature, where you earn medals, as well as new dances and options, by performing well. Complete an entire song without getting any X's, you get a medal. Get Yeah!'s on all of the gold moves, another medal. It really gives you a sense of accomplishment.

Although, even better than that sense of accomplishment are the unlockable Dance Mash-Ups! This is a cool feature where you play songs from the current game with a new dancer, along with various dance segments from Just Dance 1 & 2 all mixed up in it, creating this awesome hybrid of new and old. For instance, they've got the devil girl from Sympathy for the Devil, and the Cleopatra girl from Walk Like an Egyptian, among others, dancing to Baby One More Time. Not only does it add even more variety, it's also a special treat for us who played the previous games. Seeing those familiar dancers come on, I was like 'hell yeah, I kick butt at this one!'.

Stand-out solo tracks: Pump It - Black Eyed Peas, She's Got Me Dancing - Tommy Sparks, What You Waiting For - Gwen Stefani

The Best Duets: Promiscuous - Nelly Furtado ft. Timbaland, Da Funk - Daft Punk, Something Stupid - Nicole Kidman & Robbie Williams (just because its a good one to make your non-dancing boyfriend do with you).

Funnest Dances with 4 or more: Spectronizer - Sentai Express (SO FUN, you're like Power Rangers dancing around!), I Was Made For Loving You - KISS (this one is AWESOME! One player is the lead singer, two play guitar, one is the drummer, with each having their own little solo performances). Baby One More Time - The Girly Team (really cute feminine routine, teen girls will love this one, as well as guys who wanna put on a funny show for their girlfriends).
Best Mash-Up: Promiscuous Girl. I love the mix of hip hop routines from games past. Its fun and not too hard.

The Bad News: There's always a few clunkers in these kinds of games, and this one is no different. The dance track to Lenny Kravits's Are You Gonna Go My Way is very uninspired and painfully repetitive. I'm sure its supposed to be a simple easy one for the least coordinated of players, but it could've been done better. I also was disappointed in the Party Rock Anthem track. The guy dancer is rather oddly effeminate, the routine is overly simple and not very attractive. Such a cool song deserves better.
And why do they keep getting cover songs, instead of the real thing? Its a problem that goes back to Just Dance 1. There's like 4 or 5 covers in this one, not as many as the others, but Ubisoft can afford to pay for the originals. I wonder what the deal is?

Over all, I love this game. It's creative, it's fun, and totally stays true to the spirit of dance, and the spirit of making a fool of yourself to amuse your friends.

NOTE: Be wary of totally inaccurate and extremely lazy reviews on this site by its 'staff' reviewers. Their review for Just Dance 3 claims there are no rewards or unlockable in the game. You can't play this game for more than a minute and not know that. At the end of every dance, you see all the medals you've earned and will earn, as it calculates your points and tells you how close you are to the next reward. To not notice that would be like playing Super Mario 3 and then ranting about how there should be little mushroom houses scattered around to supply us with items. Its just not possible for a so-called experienced gamer to be that brainlessly unobservant. Thus, his review must have been copied from someone else's uninformed review, or his manner of reviewing the game consisted of watching those short little gameplay videos on You Tube. I've noticed this lousy kind of review on three other major games this year, and I must say that my confidence in this site's integrity has been shattered.




The 3rd game in Just Dance

9.5

Editors' Choice
Difficulty:
Very Easy
Time Spent:
10 Hours or Less
The Bottom Line:
"Just plain fun"

Summary

Just Dance 3 for the Nintendo Wii is a dance game where you select a song and try to copy the movement off the TV screen. The gameplay in Just Dance 3 uses the wiimote to do varies of moves, like spin around once, move in circle, switching side to side, moving your arms and leg and posed but you have to keep moving as the song goes by to get a score and get a "Yeah" score if you performed almost perfectly. The graphics of Just Dance 3 is just colorful high resolution graphic and also the background, where you just look and follow its movement. The sounds in Just Dance 3 are the soundtrack is the same songs, you hear radios, cd and mp3s. Overall, Just Dance 3 is a great game for those who likes to learn new moves and dance and it is a great way to sweat as you keep on dance and moving your body, I recommend this game or the whole Just Dance video game series for those enjoying dancing and for those, who tried to drop a few pounds.

Gameplay: 9- Just Dance 3 like its predecessor is a dance game where you copy the movement on screen.

Graphics: 10- Great backgrounds and use of color.

Sound: 9- Great soundtrack from some recognizable arts and some foreign.

Value: 10- Great for work out routine, if you keep moving your body while copying the moves from TV screen.




Amazing but not Perfect

8.5

Superb
Difficulty:
Just Right
Time Spent:
40 to 100 Hours
The Bottom Line:
"Highly addictive"

Summary

I loved the songs this game had b.o.b. Katy Perry and lots of others.The dance moves were great but it did get very weird doing a quartet or duet when the other people kept messing it up or you are alone.And this game has tons of genres like pop, country, and rock. You can now get rewards like getting 1 star on every song and things like that. The game was great but alone the game was horrible. So Buy it Now !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! x hehe your still reading wow omg stop reading so much im back grrr rargh Santa Clause is a stalker he sees you when your sleeping he knows when your awake he watches you in the shower so close the curtain for goodness sake




Great game with good movement reception & very good song list. Sweat mode easily replaces any cardio exercise.

9.5

Editors' Choice
Difficulty:
Just Right
Time Spent:
20 to 40 Hours
The Bottom Line:
"Amazing"

Summary

Controls are responsive, great atmosphere and design with dancers that look so "80s/90s cool" and a lot of color. Much better song list and choreography to dance to from what we've seen in Just dance 2. The game has "Let's go to the mall" by Robin Sparkles, for effs sake. You won't even mind dancing to Britney Spears or Beyonce, because it wll be cheesy fun.

I'm glad I didn't renew my gym membership this year, because dancing to "Gonna make you sweat (everybody dance now)" is so much more fun than walking on the treadmill, counting minutes while watching TV show reruns... We pick up this game and by the time we know it, we've been playing for at least over an hour. I also think it can teach you a little dancing when you're alone and no one's there to judge your clumsy piece of wood moves.
7.5

Great
8.1