some miscellaneous thoughts ive had about golden sun and jrpgs
i haven't played a ton of all the jrpgs out there but i think ive played through a decent amount in my lifetime. a while ago i replayed some golden sun for nostalgia.
ive seen golden sun get fair criticisms about how lengthy some of the dialogue is and being easy, but the main ideas it has are pretty good imo. one of them being that you actually get to use magic powers to interact with a lot of the world and environments instead of only using magic powers in fighting monsters. the monotony of jrpg turn based battles is broken up by the various puzzles that need your characters' powers in dungeons to find the right path, change something, or find hidden treasure. it's simple but it works and it makes exploration better, the dungeons feel more elaborate and larger in scale (also because they tend to have several floors) even though it's all limited by being a gba game.
the effort golden sun put into that aspect of breaking up the pattern of fighting monsters all the time with environment interaction stood out to me more when i thought about legend of heroes: trails in the sky (only played the first one, not the sequels). it was good enough to get me to finish the game (although i did consider dropping it at points) because there was enough interest in the battle system it has, but man the dungeons could get so monotonous. outside of what the backgrounds are painted to look like, theyre just long empty hallways with monster encounters where sometimes there's a branching path where one is a dead end. i wouldnt say i was really enthusiastic about the game even if i did like the characters and others seemed to rate it highly.
ive played several others that are like this, where basically there's only long hallways and big rooms to serve as dungeons. i remember mario & luigi superstar saga being decent with being able to interact with the world as well, another game on a simpler system like the gba that managed to include that aspect. environment interaction isnt as big of a deal if theres actually lot going on in the way the battle system works to hold attention ig. but i dont think i can go back to basic jrpgs that only do the bare minimum (or nothing at all) with environments and dungeons even if i loved one of them as a kid and they have a lot of nostalgia value.