Golden sun

Never played these games, I think there's two on the GBA and one (or two?) on the DS. From what I can tell they're a bit like Lufia, which I loved (i.e. lots of puzzles and JRPG combat).

Do they still hold up? Is using an emulator with turbo to make grinding less boring ok or is it considered cheating?

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The DS one wasn't that good, you're not missing out on anything if you don't play it

I hear the water looks nice for GBA

The games are pretty verbose (in so far as saying a lot but actually saying little), but I found the GBA ones enjoyable when I first played them some years back. Should note though that some of the Djinn and especially summon-spam can make a rather easy game even easier.

Do note though that you will need to consider how to go about transferring data from the first game to the second, should you choose to. I'm not certain as to what options emulation provides for connecting one rom to another, but the intended methods either required two GBAs and a link cable back in the day (which was an additional expensive but faster and less prone to fucking up), or inputting a password (which could get ridiculously long depending on how much/how specific of content you wanted to load onto TLA). You'll also need all the Djinn from both games to access the bonus dungeon in TLA, so keep that in mind too before deciding to transfer, if able to.

Consider the Wild Arms series as well. Spells don't have non-combat utility for puzzles, but uses non-combat dungeon items for exploration.

Skip the DS one, it's absolute shit and the reason the series is dead. As far as the GBA ones go, they're basically two halves of the full story, so if you just play the first you'll end on something of a major cliffhanger, so plan on being in for none or both. A major complaint about the series is the dialog - there's a lot of it, much of which could have easily been trimmed down to more reasonable amounts, but to the best of my knowledge there are no mods that will fix that. Grinding isn't that important - like I said, there are two halves of the main story and the second game has a significantly easier grinding spot (google it, it involves phoenixes) so don't worry about it unless you really want to later on.

Advice for playing: early on you are told to go to Kolima but can instead go into a cave that leads to Imil. Imil is harder (it assumes you already did Kolima) but if you play carefully in the cave you'll level up quickly and when you beat it you'll have an extra party member and several extra levels for Kolima. Later on, on a boat, you can accidentally, through a couple of choices, end up going to the extra dungeon super early; while neat, I don't recommend it because you'll get flattened pretty much immediately. Make sure to find all the Djinn before creating your password to put into GS2; none of the Djinn in GS1 are missable, but since you transfer your password at the start of GS2, from then on you can't go back and get more (it's not like Oracle of Ages/Seasons). I recommend the longest password (gold, I think) because it transfers your items and such as well. Most of them will be outclassed by the end of GS2, but you'll have your good stuff until then.

Aside from that, everything said is true. Including the Wild Arms recommendation.

It's a non-linear jrpg like link to the past. Sound great but not really when you actually play it because you realize how simplistic the story is.

That is basically it, very little backstory on the character itself or the big boss motivation. This is all due to the fact that the game ends with a cliffhanger. Golden Sun 2, you play as the bad guy for some reason instead of playing as the main character continuing your journey. So yeah, not really a great series in my book, I dont even finished playing golden sun 2 because I lost interest in it.

You don't actually need to play through GS1 or get a perfect save. Some guy made a code generator for the game.

The plot itself is simple but what the series does really well is atmosphere and worldbuilding. Like how distinct some of the dungeons are in terms of feel. Like that one dungeon where you have to change into sand to get through it.

There was a genuine sense when playing it about the world you were exploring and it helped that every dungeon unlike most other jrpgs required you to use spells that your characters knew to overcome obstacles. The fact that no other jrpg does this is really disappointing.
You don't play as a villain in GS2. It's revealed pretty early on that the antagonists of GS1 actually had good intentions in terms of what they were doing.

Specifically they wanted to light the lighthouses because the world was dying due to a lack of alchemy. And you see it in GS2 once you get your ship and you notice that the world is flat and is actually progressively shrinking. (You also see a map of how the world was just a few decades earlier and it's like half the size). And they were lighting the lighthouses because their own town Prox is actually about to be sucked into an abyss that's at the far north of the map.

The main characters of 1 join up with the party of 2 75% through the game because of this and you play with both parties for the endgame. The Wise One from the start of GS1 even tries to stop the characters at the end entirely because he was told if alchemy was lit something bad would happen and the main characters figure it's better than letting the world die gradually by itself.

This theme of the world dying gradually can be seen throughout the game with just how many ruins related to Psynergy there used to be. Like people speak about it like it's mythical despite the main character's party all mastering it. When you go to Lemuria in 2 they even speak about how great the old world once was and now it's a husk that's slowly dying on it's own.

My post will be filled with nostalgia but fuck it, I loved these games to death when I was in high school. The best part will always be the setting for me, you keep exploring the remains of ancient civilizations, powering up and getting more magic.
The second one is actually much better than the first one because the first one urges you to get on with the plot but suddenly you have time to compete in Tournaments or get into side quests an no one comments.

The second's plot is: Shit has fucked up since the ending so now you need to the other side of the continent, how you do it, it's up to you. So exploring every bit of the continent (which is literally a mix between africa and latin america. In fact, tribalfeather wearing, spear chucking niggers chimping out and stealing an orb that powers up your flying ship is one of the plot points) is encouraged.

I remember a few problems with the game, though: The combat tried to be very difficult but it was just buff, debuff and hit atack. And use summons on the boss. The fucking Poseidon boss battle (you are required to find and forge a weapon to fight him…but then use said weapon as an item from the menu screen). And finally, that TLA would have been much better if your characters had no connection to the characters from GS1 because then all their fucking around would be in stark contrast to their knowlege that the world needs saving.

All in all, it was a very creative game series, with a sequel twice the size of the original some very nice worldbuilding and a bit verbose that got a sequel 10 years too late which killed the franchise.

That part blew my fucking mind when I was a kid. Jesus, this was a freaking GBA game that had a sequel that added 300% more content than the original, when was the last time you saw that recently?

Also, I remember that some time ago that it became hit to call GS a shit game and if you go to the lpachive you can almost smell the fedora from the goon faggot that wrote the "lets play".

The superboss Dullahan was actually really hard because he was able to set all of your djinni on rest with Djinn storm

You also had to 100% complete the first game and import your saved game into 2, and then 100% complete 2 (at least in terms of how many djinni you had) to even get to fight him. And once you beat him you got a super powerful summon that made the final boss trivial

I loved this game as a child, but reading up on how this game got Treehoused has soured any nostalgia I may have had for it.

Still, this game was maximum comfy back in the day.

I don't remember any examples of censorship

I think that the only strategy you needed for Dullahan was to prepare all your Djinns beforehand and unleash the Summons faster than he debuffed you. Use the whole party as cannon fodder until you down him.

Great series, best sounding music ever heard in a GBA game while everyone else's GBA titles sounded like ass, really shitty soundfonts that may as well have been replaced with generic GS synth. Also the DS one doesn't exist, it's just a myth like Invisible War.

Those FUCKING passwords. Never fucking worked. Never. Ever. 100% accurate copy of my perfect playthrough of the first game's password? "Error, password incorrect". No link cable either, so I was stuck with gimped shitty return party in TLA or trying to steal some faggot's shitty password off the internet, which ended up leading to some retard's gay fanfiction page with "funny jokes" about characters getting drunk and making puns about nacho cheese. Disgusting.

Are you sure whiners aren't just goldfish attention span niggerfaggots? There was nothing wrong with the dialogue beyond being made super tame for the E rating.

Kill yourself.

Link/archive/any proof at all?

The writing is awful but they're ok games.

Just checked this on google. 260 characters? That's less than a tweet these days, doesn't seem that long.

Yeah, I remember back on /jrpgg/ on half/vg/, eventually discussing Golden Sun favorably as being anything other than a guilty pleasure became considered bait and/or shitposting, usually citing that Let's Play as reference for it being bad. Worth noting said LP tries to claim that Jupiter Lighthouse has shit design because "the overworld sprite and name is singular but the actual dungeon is three towers", ignoring that even the overworld sprite for it shows it to clearly be a branching tower with a pair of offshoots sticking out of the sides, so he's probably not the best source of information.

Far as I'm aware the western version wasn't censored (I could be wrong though), but NoA did do a number of changes/rewriting to both dialogue and personality at points.

Try inputting them one at a time and having to hunt and peck one character at a time. It's a lot easier/faster to type something out with an actual keyboard as an interface, compared to having to manually navigate a cursor to each character with a d-pad. And you're having to be accurate as to what you're inserting. Assuming you want to copy over as accurate of data as you can, even if it's not hard, it's at the very least tedious, between having to copy down 260 characters from the first game, check that you've got them down accurately, then boot the second game and manually insert all 260, and make sure that's accurate too. Much easier to just borrow a GBA and a link cable back in the day and let it copy the data directly, if you knew anyone with said components anyhow.

Also, a word of advice. Regardless of which method you choose, consider the following: after starting TLA post-transfer, save at the earliest opportunity the game presents, and then copy that save file over to the other two slots. Keeping the third one as a backup, you can then replay the game without needing to transfer again (assuming you had everything you planned on getting/could get in the first game), and will also let you skip a longwinded expository dialogue at the beginning of the game meant to catch up prior players (TLA coming out two years after the first half of Golden Sun) and set the stage for newcomers who hadn't played the first half.

Played Golden Sun 1 back in the day. Plot was meh as hell, but it made for a solid JRPG romp. Git gud and grinding is less necessary. Using turbo mode is fine. If you build up elite djinn combos you can get really OP shit. I think one abusive tactic is to use the dungeon escape ability at a key point to avoid being forced into meeting your fourth party member chick in GS1 and then because you're now splitting djinn 3 ways instead of 4 you were able to get GS2 endgame djinn combinations in GS1. Since Djinn allocation affects your character's classes, you can get some ferociously powerful combinations ahead of time. Not exactly the best way to play it, but it can be done.

GS does keep track of a lot of the shit you do and rewards perfect playthroughs.

I actually only finished the first one since I lost interest during the 2nd one, but I admit that the two games are basically two halves of a single story and that you're clearly not going to reach any conclusion if you just stop after GS1.

It's a ginormous password and you're writing it with a GBA interface to boot.

Why? I rather play a game that I want to play. I Finished GS1 and the cliffhanger ending kinda bullshit.Then at the start of GS2, you play as the bad guy which I have no interest in, who is this faggot and why should I care? I rather play Boktai and shoot vampires all day.

The game was essentially the first half of the story
Did you pay attention to the story at all? The character was in the intro of the first game and his character/motivation is very well explained at the start of 2. It sounds like you didn't play 2 past the intro.

and? it still bullshit

yeah, as the antagonist, but then become the protagonist in 2 for some fucking reason.

He's not really an antagonistic character in 1. The main characters of 1 just never understood why the villains of 1 were lighting the lighthouses
Because as you'd know if you paid attention to the story he wasn't really an antagonist. The main characters of 1 join the main characters of 2 later on in the game because they find this out

What cancer.

I still remember years back that the lparchive Let's Play of Drakengard was being pushed as the best way to "experience" Drakengard. So it hasn't just been Golden Sun that's gotten the "goons play is the final say" treatment by some places.

That's the point: Goons are fucking cancer and they push their smug views on anything and everything. One day they decided that Golden Sun was an aberration on the face of the Earth and anyone that likes it are nothing but small minded children that had to be taught better. It's an emperor's new clothes situation: call them faggots and ask them to show a better RPG for the GBA or ask them how they would fix it and the whole house of cards comes tumbling down.

The lighhouses were the major dungeons in the game and they were trated as such. And 3 floors is fucking projecting because you're constantly using lifts and teleporters to go higher and higher. And the landscape changes every time you go up a level, I remember Venus you being able to see the seaside from the top floor.

And the best music was always from there, take Venus for example:

You just know shit is going down