The Return of Talking Time

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Old 10-19-2016, 03:48 PM
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Kalir Kalir is offline
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Golden Sun time.


Okay. Ignore that we can teleport, or that Retreat is not a plot power and Felix also has it. I did not omit a screenshot here, Camelot jumps from "we'll never escape the Golden Sun event in time!" to "thank you brave heroes you have saved us all and not been totally disintegrated in the process".

Have we mentioned the ending is bad yet?

<Isaac> I honestly have no idea how we made it with our parents in tow.
<Puelle> You must be relieved you got them to us when you did. How they've returned, I can't say, but they were only just barely alive.
<Elder> Our healers did a fine job, though.
<Felix> But Mia, our own healer, tried to exhaustion at the aerie and nothing happened. What could've changed?
<Kraden> I think it was the lighthouse itself. The light of the Golden Sun is very strong, too strong for living things to survive for very long. But for one who is near death, maybe that's just the thing one needs to rekindle their spirit.
<Isaac> Maybe you're right. I'm just glad they're all okay now.

<Elder> It was an incredible sight. That red arc of light flying over Prox and banishing the storm... I'll remember that image for the rest of my life.
<Isaac> I did see some arcs of light far off in the distance. Blue to the east, purple to the west, and yellow to the south. I guess that was the other lighthouses.
<Felix> And that light has converged on Mt. Aleph by now, hasn't it?
<Puelle> With how unsafe the wilderness north of Prox is now, I must admit I am concerned for your homeland. Perhaps you ought to stay in Prox awhile until things calm down?
<Felix> I'd love to, Puelle, but we have to make sure our friends and family are all safe.
<Isaac> Not to mention, we have to track down Alex and figure out where he went.
<Puelle> Of course. You are always welcome to return to Prox at any time.

Two things. First, yeah the parents totally lived all that eulogizing after killing them was pointless. Whee. I'll have more to say on that in a bit, though.

Second: guess who doesn't normally get mentioned in this post-victory scene? Is it Alex? It's totally Alex. Everyone just flat out forgets about him the second the Doom Dragon rolls in. The writers didn't forget about Alex, far from it, but they didn't want our protagonists to stop and ask "hey what are we gonna do now that Alex has the Stone of Sages, isn't this like the exact thing we were hoping to prevent when we did this?", so they didn't.

<Isaac> We're almost done, Jenna, we'll be out there soon!
<Jenna> Seriously, hurry up! You don't want to have to walk from here to Vale, do you?
<Elder> Sounds like you'll have a lively journey back home.
<Felix> I'd like an uneventful one, myself. It'd be nice to just relax for a while before we have to deal with Alex.
<Kraden> Of course. You have all done incredible things today. You deserve some rest.
<Isaac> Let's not keep them waiting any longer. Thank you again, elder, Puelle.
<Puelle> Safe travels to you.

He says this like it's a bad thing, but spoilers, their lifespans have all been extended to a pretty ridiculous degree! Thirty years later in Dark Dawn, Isaac and Garet look barely to their thirties, and Kraden looks completely unchanged. "What about the other characters?" you ask. Hahahaha. You are a silly person. There are no other characters in Dark Dawn.

Like the last game, we can go around and talk to everyone in Prox. D'awwwww far northern Felix grandma.

All of the town is basically seized with hope and wonder for the future, although there's a touch of apprehension in the air about how immediately dangerous this seems. Still, it beats the alternative of death by stagnation.

There's also a few people mourning the Proxian warriors that died in the process of completing this task. I'll give you Agatio, but Saturos, Menardi, and Karst were all basically terrible people.

Over here, Holly is admonishing Jenna for saying they'd have left without us.

<Felix> Cut me a little slack, Jenna. These people WERE my family for three years.
<Jenna> Yeah, well, we need to go get our family safely back home now!
<Sheba> Glad to see you're feeling better, Jenna.
<Piers> You were weeping so mournfully after that last battle...
<Jenna> WHAT? As if! You can't prove anything!
<Mia> Go easy on her. That was a really hard time for her AND Felix.
<Piers> My apologies. I'm just glad to see that everything's better now. I'm sure my mother, wherever she is, is proud of us all.

<Isaac> All the more reason to get back to Vale as soon as we can, right?
<Garet> Yeah, no kidding! Can't wait for some of my mom's cooking!
<Ivan> We'll all accompany you, of course. Even if our homelands are elsewhere, we still need to track down Alex first.
<Sheba> And honestly, I wouldn't mind just visiting in Vale for a while. Some of us live very far apart, so that might be the last time we'll ever get to see each other.
<Felix> Sure. You'll all love Vale. The waterfalls are my favorite part there, very relaxing to just sit by.
<Sheba> That sounds nice.

<Kyle> I'm sure Dora will be fine, son. She's a strong woman.
<Isaac> I know, I know. But I just can't help but worry.
<Holly> Kyle's right. I bet Kyle and us showing up on her doorstep will be worse for her health than you being away, haha!
<Jenna> Mom! Don't say things like that!
<Greg> She'll be fine, Isaac. Now then, shall we be off?


I skip past the last bit of the scene, in which they talk about how comfy flying boats are. Also: it's not mentioned that even the not-Vale people are going back to Vale. I almost considered Sheba asking to stay with Felix and the rest in Vale since her whole journey was about trying to find her home, but then I forgot that Lalivero existed and is no longer under the thumb of Babi. WHOOPS!

<Felix> No, I'm just a bit nervous is all.
<Isaac> I hear that. I just hope Vale came out of this as safely as Prox did.
<Kraden> We won't know until we get there.
<Felix> I guess you're right.
<Isaac> Hey, Kraden. I have a question.
<Kraden> Of course, Isaac. What is it?
<Isaac> And don't worry if you can't answer it, but I just can't get the question out of my head...

<Kraden> Is that your question? From the way you spoke atop the lighthouse, it seemed like you already knew the answer.
<Isaac> What do you mean?
<Kraden> Well, before you reached Mars Lighthouse, your father, and Felix's parents, were dead. Nothing would change that. The Wise One clearly possesses the power to resurrect them, otherwise it wouldn't have gone to the trouble of doing that instead of just summoning an ordinary monster. Or, perhaps, placing Karst and Agatio as your obstacle at the aerie.
<Felix> That still doesn't make sense. Why revive our parents, then, just for us to fight them?
<Kraden> I don't think it WAS just for you to fight them. Your goal was never to save your parents, but to restore Alchemy, was it not? And what was our chief concern the whole time about Alchemy's revival?
<Isaac> It was that people would abuse its power to cause humanity more harm than good out of self-interest, like Alex would.
<Kraden> Perhaps the Wise One was hoping to test your strength, to see if you had the resolve to keep monsters, physical or metaphorical, from abusing the power of alchemy. Should you fail, then you would have all perished, and your parents would've stayed dead.
<Felix> ...But since we won, and swore to do what was best for the world when we unsealed Alchemy, then our parents were in the right spot at the right time to be saved.
<Kraden> This is only a guess, of course. Something as alien as the Wise One can be hard to really understand. But that's my take on it, at least.

So yeah, there's the new improved reason for why the Wise One thought to make us fight a dragon made of our dead parents. It's still not GREAT, because there is no great reason to make us fight a dragon made of our dead parents (especially not of our parents who we thought were dead but were actually secret hostages). But this, at least, halfway spins the Wise One's stupid plan into a reward if we succeeded. It's still a really stupid "test your strength at the carnival of justice" cliché going on, mind you.


"Wait, what happened to Alex? Wasn't he kind of the overarching series antagonist?" you might ask, being a reasonable person with a concept of object permanence?

Oh, we'll address that.


The sky turns gold as Alex climbs, and he frantically asks the forces of Alchemy to wait for five more minutes. I'm guessing he already exhausted all his flying and teleporting Psynergy that he canonically has.

The four lighthouses shine more brilliantly than they have yet...
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Old 10-19-2016, 03:50 PM
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Kalir Kalir is offline
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Their light converges on a single point...

The combined raw power of fire, water, earth, and wind is as one...

And at the very peak of Mt. Aleph...

The Stone of Sages begins to form.

And with it, the Golden Sun.

Quovak argues that Alex would've been able to just sit atop Mt. Aleph for the entirety of all two games, barring MAYBE getting into Mercury Lighthouse, and this would've done the same thing as all the behind-the-scenes healery shenanigans he was doing during the game. I disagree, because I know exactly how easy it is for some people to forget to do things if not constantly reminded "do this thing", and Alex couldn't be sure that everyone he was working with would stick to it without his assistance.

But whatever, minor issue. Alex is at the focal point of the Golden Sun.


<Alex> The Stone of Sages in my hand... such a tiny thing, but it throbs with power! All of nature is at my beck and call! Now, what would be an adequate test of my new abilities? Hm... perhaps we can change it from day to night? That sounds simple enough.

And... nothing.

In the original, Alex tries calling up a storm to crash over Vale, which fits him not caring about others at all but should also be well within the grasp of any sufficiently experienced Adept. More a Jupiter than a Mercury thing, but we've seen Mia and Piers throw around glaciers before, Alex should be able to launch a snowstorm without the Stone of Sages.

I wonder if this guy has something to say about it.

<TheWiseOne> Hello, Alex. Even back in Sol Sanctum, I could sense your megalomania.
<Alex> Watch who you're speaking to! I bear the Stone of Sages! I have drunk deep of the Golden Sun! I have unlimited power and endless life!
<TheWiseOne> You have... improved power, and somewhat extended life.
<Alex> Do not undersell what I have just obtained!
<TheWiseOne> It is still day above us, and not night. Unlimited power would surely let you do such a thing, but that seems to have eluded you.

Alex doesn't have time for this!

Alex unleashes much more than just a "taste" of his power at the Wise One, who responds by wavering in place a bit. Clearly affected, just not THAT much.

The Wise One rudely interrupts Alex's victory gloating.

<TheWiseOne> The Stone of Sages is powerful indeed. Too powerful for any one human to bear its full might. So I did not let you get its full might.
<Alex> How? How could you have done this?
<TheWiseOne> If only you had cared for others a bit more, you might have saved Isaac back in Sol Sanctum, when he still had the Mars Star. But there, I was able to shift the balance of the elements ever so slightly. You still have much of the Stone of Sages power, but the Golden Sun was split between here and Mars Lighthouse, due to the changes of the Mars Star.
<Alex> Then... who has the rest of my power?
<TheWiseOne> It is obvious. The people who risked everything to save Weyard bear that power now, and you shall never claim it as your own.

Remember that bit of foreshadowing WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AY back in Sol Sanctum, when the Wise One gave the Mars Star the Retreat property? That's what the Wise One is talking about here. In the original text, it says that the Mars Star "rests even now in the hands of young Isaac" which is, of course, a lie. It's a reasonable precaution for the Wise One to take, and rather karmic to capitalize on Alex's willingness to discard people no longer useful to him.

Of course, quite a few people might be miffed that the series' main antagonist gets defeated by a comparative bit character during the credits, but eh.

Earthquakes occur!

<Alex> Flee? But... I can hardly move!
<TheWiseOne> Ah. Now you see the limits of your power. If you are swallowed by the earth, your life might not be as endless as you expected.
<Alex> You can't be serious! After all I've done, this is what awaits me?
<TheWiseOne> If you survive, we will meet again. Farewell, Alex.
<Alex> No! Come back! Give me back the power you stole! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

The Wise One vanishes as Mt. Aleph sinks into the earth.

Oh, one post-mid-credits scene wasn't enough, let's have another!

NOPE. I've rewritten all I can, and this one has some still images in it. So let's just fast forward to those.

For the record, that IS Mt. Aleph, glowing with way too much Alchemical energy. I do kind of like that they kind of treat the Golden Sun as a nuclear fission reaction.

Oh no, Isaac and Garet have lost their families! This seems so tragic! I hope that their friends will move to comfort them!

Nope. Because it is Garet suffering this time, Sheba and Mia make fun of him, calling him "poor baby".

They try searching the surroundings for everyone but clearly can't find them all day, and all the while Isaac, Garet, and Kyle are just Gatsbying.

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Old 10-19-2016, 03:51 PM
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Kalir Kalir is offline
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Everyone lived, including Isaac's mom.

So, the homecoming scene here is really touching and nice, but did we REALLY need the fakeout bad ending? Or rather, did we need to treat it as a punchline for laughing at Garet, while the EARLIER FAKEOUT BAD ENDING was treated with all the seriousness losing your entire family would afford?

Oh well. Have a splash screen!

And that's it. I've rewritten the first two Golden Sun games. And man, was that exhausting. I'll do one last follow-up post, but for now, I've earned a bit of a break.

Next Time: Albus Severus Potter and the Concept of Object Permanence
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Old 10-19-2016, 03:53 PM
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Kalir Kalir is offline
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Man, can you believe I did this? Cuz I still can't. These games have a LOT of text in them, and I still have no idea if my editing decreased the word count on them or not! The word count for the first Golden Sun game is around 70k, the second has 90k, and these numbers aren't counting optional NPC chatter. By comparison, Metal Gear Solid 2 has about 47k words in its main plot. And a lot of people like to say that for all these words, Golden Sun doesn't say anything a-tall. Well... as you can see, that's about half right.

The big problem with Camelot's writing is that they provide a pretty okay framework for a story, complete with isolated, very striking scenes that are pretty decent on their own. But they prioritize all the wrong things to focus on, absolutely fail to connect anything to anything else despite it being really easy, and constantly misgauge the player's intentions for where they want to go. If you played the original game, you could be halfway through and not really be sure if Saturos or Menardi were villains, but be so well-versed in the differences between ki and chi it would make any Eastern mystic proud. Characters forget their own motivations half the time, and play ball for the other team half of THAT time.

That said, there IS still a pretty decent story under there. Really all I did was cut out the dumbest parts, glue a few bits and pieces of story together where it seemed appropriate, play up the character archetypes ever so slightly more, and bam, done. It was still hard, but mostly by volume, since I effectively had to realign over 150k words' worth of plot stew. For the first game, as mentioned, I largely shot from the hip and just made most of my changes, like Isaac forcing the bargain in Sol Sanctum with terrain advantage, because they seemed good and intuitive given the scenario. For the second I wanted to plan out a bit more, largely to get around Camelot flubbing the perspective switch and ending. In the end, I think the product here is about what rose-tinted viewers of the first two games wanted people to experience from these games in the first place, but which the games were never themselves able to communicate.

A good, honest question! And to be honest, my answer is "no". Story aside, the dungeon and puzzle design is tedious, the fights are Dragon Quest but with less to do, and the Djinn/summon mechanic wasn't given nearly enough consideration given the changes it brings to the game. The graphics are pretty and the music is nice, but as any GameFAQs reviewer at the time should've sworn up and down (and didn't), this is no excuse for a bad game.


I don't do Let's Plays of games I don't, to at least some small degree, like. And I sure as hell wouldn't go to the trouble of rewriting two of the wordiest games ever known simply to make fun of them. Golden Sun and its sequel were among my favorite games in my dumb high school kid days, and there's no denying they had a lot of charm and novelty to them. In particular, using your Psynergy outside of combat to affect puzzles and find secrets? That's legit clever. I should hope more games take a page out of that book.

And again, the graphics and music are great. Here, have a list of some of my favorite Golden Sun songs (from a remastering project, no less):
  • The First Book: Main theme for the game. It's not really THAT great as far as JRPG title music goes, but hey, it's not bad either.
  • Battle! [Saturos]: Now THAT is a boss fight theme! You pumped? You should be!
  • Set Sail! Through the Karagol Sea: Spoilers, I am a huge sucker for sailing themes in this or any game. It's still good.
  • In the Presence of a Lord: Babi's theme. Does this sound like the theme for one of the most sympathetic characters in the game? Not to me, it doesn't.
  • Battle! [Jenna]: Again, Isaac, Felix, and Jenna all have different random encounter fight music. Jenna's is this more quiet, thoughtful fight theme and I just adore it to bits.
  • Inside the Great Gabomba: I like how they tried to take the pseudo-stereotypical African percussion thing going here and make it sound like clockwork. I stand by my claim that Kibombo is among the best-designed auxiliary areas in the game.
  • Tundaria Tower: Tundaria Tower doesn't get that same distinction, though. Still, gotta love that tense sound!
  • Jupiter Lighthouse: NOW we're talking. If only the rest of the lighthouses could've had themes that fit as PERFECTLY as this one does.
  • Agatio and Karst: That menace! There's so much menace, why can't we hold all this menace?!
  • Battle! [Ship] Have we mentioned that there's unique fight music while sailing? Have I also mentioned I enjoy sailing themes of any kind?

This project was really fun to work on basically throughout, even if it was exhausting, and I really hope I brought either new people to appreciate it through my edits, or old hands to look at the story through a new lens.

Hell no.

Dark Dawn improved over its predecessors in a number of ways. Graphically, you'd be hard pressed to accept the game as a DS game instead of a 3DS game, it really stretches the 3D model capabilities to their limits. The overworld and puzzle design is miles ahead of either prior entry, both in terms of quality of life changes and puzzle difficulty. The combat gameplay they tried to improve, but there's only so much you can do there without a full overhaul. Still, it's inoffensive enough.

But, as my journal entries may have indicated, the story is beyond salvaging. The story of the first two games might've been disconnected, misprioritized, and bad at intuiting the player's motivations. Dark Dawn is worse, to the point where you start wondering exactly how much contempt the writers might've had for the players. Y'know how Persona 4's worst parts are the parts where Yosuke does something terrible, and you as the player want to (and often do) tell him to back up and stop being a dick, and then the game punishes both of you for it anyway? That is the overarching plot of Golden Sun: Dark Dawn.

You accomplish nothing of worth over the entire story, and in fact endanger countless lives across Angara. Your goal is not to investigate the clear plot hook of the Psynergy Vortexes, but to fix the soarwing your dumbass friend Tyrell (who is awful) broke, and you take forever to even do this. Almost every character is written to be as unlikable as possible, and Camelot has gotten arguably worse at understanding how to create silent protagonists. The cliffhanger plot twist after the credits relies on the player forgetting about the Psynergy Vortexes that were dangled in front of them at the very start, and then completely railroaded away from investigating. If I ever was to fix the story of Dark Dawn, the end result would look so completely different, it would be no more similar than Dr. Frankenstein's monster would be to you or I.

But hey, the first two games were all right, in comparison.


Quovak: Original SA LP writer, hated the hell out of the games. Without his endless criticism I wouldn't have had the framework to even get this off of the ground.
Asema: Helped me throughout the entire project. We've both legit liked Golden Sun for as long as I can remember, and it's good to have someone on hand who can appreciate the stuff happening back here.
dtsund: Helped me out with a few places where I ran out of ideas, like the Lemurian draught crisis, Agatio's attitude, and just skipping the slideshow.
Satonakaja: The last historian and grammar-checker of the Cham people.

aturtledoesbite: Tried to tackle this game themselves a while ago, and one of the most frequent posters in both threads! Considers Faran and Iodem to be friends!
Torzelbaum: Doesn't know if this is a good game!
R^2: Pay no attention to the Earth behind the curtain.
SolarLune: Kraden WASN'T the final boss, or even a villain, to boot!
Mightyblue: Wonder if this edited version has more text than the Holy Bible.
BEAT: Genuinely friendly and appreciative throughou-- SMOAK WEED ERRYDAY.
Awkward Grunt: Only played the second game for some strange reason? But hey, good on you!
Bunk Moreland: The number one Yepp superfan!


YOU: You got this far, so presumably you read or skimmed enough of this to find it interesting. Good work!

Last edited by Kalir; 10-19-2016 at 04:13 PM.
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Old 10-19-2016, 03:55 PM
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Mightyblue Mightyblue is offline
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Oh, right I forgot Lost Age's final boss was an extended Shining Force reference.
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Old 10-19-2016, 05:41 PM
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Bravo! Bravo!
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Old 10-19-2016, 07:29 PM
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Gerad Gerad is offline
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That was great! Thanks for doing it!
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Old 10-19-2016, 11:10 PM
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Falselogic Falselogic is offline
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You did it! I don't know why you subjected yourself to that but we all thank you!
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Old 10-20-2016, 02:37 AM
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Awkward Grunt Awkward Grunt is offline
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Originally Posted by Kalir View Post
I am honestly curious what most of the game must've felt like for someone who's never played the first entry, honestly.
A little backstory. I got this game when I was about 11 in 2004 during my second year in japan. (I think.) I had been struggling to enjoy RPGs as a whole because I only kept replaying the FF games and didn't actually understand what I was doing. While I was in japan due to trying to speak and learn another language, being depressed about not being around my extended family and best friend, and feeling like an outsider (Kids and adults were still very openly xenophobic about white Americans at this point, I couldn't really speak the language that well, and I have autism, which they simply did not understand at that point.) my reading comprehension tanked. Finally, my name is Felix, so I was real fuckin' into there being a video game character that had my name.

Anyway, The game starts with a text scroll, and it does not bring up anything about how stupid and contradictory Issac's quest is, how evil Saturos and Menardi are, or that Felix in any way acted like an asshole or even spoke in the first game. So out the gate there were several things that uniquely allowed me to identify with Felix. (Shared name, worrying about others maybe a little too much, and not talking [because I was having a lot of language issues at the time.]) Since I was bad at RPGs, how easy and simple the game was probably helped, and I also just thought that the djinn system was super cool like whoa man.

Anyway, the meandering first half in no way seemed out of place or strange to me, as I have some sort term memory issues and had no capacity to really get why nothing was fitting together, so the entire game whenever something didn't match up or make sense, I had probably already forgotten why it wouldn't work, and my head filled in the blanks. I was also just childish and lonely enough to have all the otherwise ineffective children's humor be exactly what I needed.

So quick plot points and why they worked for me
1.I imagined that Agato and Karst were implying that they would head over and murder your parents themselves if you didn't co-operate
2.I didn't really think about how dumb needing specific key like spells to get places was because if you needed it of course you needed it.
3.Conservato is a grumpy old man and doesn't accept he's wrong even when proven objectively so, just like real people!
4.Issac is rude because he's annoyed that you won't tell him why you're on the bad side, but you saved him so he'll at least listen.(also he might just a bit of a jerk without being able to help it, just like real people. Also at this point the only thing Felix ever said that I knew of was "What" and everything else was nodding or shaking his head, so I imagined the lighthouse scene basically being him silently going up to help Sheba, getting yelled at and being unable to talk back, and then jumping off to save Sheba. So Jenna and Kraden explained everything in the cutscene where they actually talk, and Felix has not ever said anything except for "What" since leaving Vale.)
5.Kraden being a grown person and acting like a child when things don't go his way is just like real people, that I know!
6. The reason the Wise One does anything is because he's just an asshole.

So all in all, I could still tell that the story was probably not great, but I already re imagined all media I experienced as I was experiencing it anyway, so I came up with my own reason as to why things happened, and I don't think any of the things I came up with while playing were actually challenged by the second game in any way.
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Old 10-21-2016, 09:40 AM
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Kalir Kalir is offline
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Interesting viewpoints! I especially like that you took personal meaning away from the silent protagonist thing.

On Conservato and Kraden, I can admit that part of my rewrite in minimizing those characteristics (and Garet having basically zero social awareness) is on account of my complete aversion to people being unreasonable. Which is silly, because as you said, people are unreasonable in real life all the time! People refuse to acknowledge truths in front of them, act like spoiled children when they don't get their way, and brashly act as though they were right all along! But either I didn't think that would make for a better story, or I just couldn't adequately write characters to maintain those traits for whatever reason.

But honestly, I think at least in Conservato and Garet's cases, it's better this way. (I could've stood to have Kraden act more like a spoiled child, but then the Sol Sanctum scenes would've been even harder to write given the established stakes.)
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Old 10-21-2016, 09:59 PM
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Torzelbaum Torzelbaum is offline
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Originally Posted by Kalir View Post
Torzelbaum: Doesn't know if this is a good game!
Now I know! ... That's it's not a good game.

But this was an interesting read. So thanks Kalir.
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Old 10-23-2016, 03:44 AM
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Bunk Moreland Bunk Moreland is offline
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Yeah, congratulations on finishing these games and thanks for the rewrites. It couldn't fix all of the problems with Golden Sun, but it sure as hell was better to read than the original scripts are.
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golden sun , i guess

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