Golden Sun: Dark Dawn introduced a Psynergy called Insight. Its only use is to highlight any object on the screen that can be manipulated with Psynergy and show you how to manipulate it. It can be used as often as you want and whenever you want to use it. Insight can be helpful when you’re stuck, but, because there is no penalty to using it, you are tempted to use it immediately before giving much thought to the puzzles.
Dark Dawn is already a fairly easy game without Insight Psynergy, and the freedom of using makes it easy to take away what little challenge there is. Recently, Nintendo has begun including “super guides” in some of their games that have similar functions to what Insight already does, but with more limitations. Treating Insight Psynergy more like a “super guide” would have eliminated the problem.
Limiting the Usage of Insight
When Nintendo introduced the Super Guide in Super Mario Bros. Wii, you could only use it if you died eight times on the same stage before you could activate the Guide. Once the Super Guide is activated, you could use it only on the stage you have trouble with. Once the stage is completed, you cannot use the Guide again until you die eight more times on a different stage.
Insight Psynergy should have required a form of activation before it could be used. However, it would need to work differently than the Insight Psynergy currently in the game, and it would need to be activated in a very different way (because dying in Dark Dawn just once requires more effort than dying eight times in Super Mario).
I believe the best requirement would be a certain amount of time without progress. It’s not a perfect solution because some players would still simply choose to sit and wait for Insight to activate, but restricting access to Insight until you have made no progress for ten minutes would encourage most players to keep looking for a solution.
I believe requiring ten minutes of no progress is a fair requirement. Dark Dawn can definitely leave you stumped momentarily, but if you keep examining your surroundings and experimenting with Psynergy you can usually find the solution. Regardless, there needs to be a consistent system for measuring progress if this new type of Super Guide is going to work correctly. Fortunately, the game provides two easy ways to measure progress: Psynergy and the map.
Most of the puzzles in the game require using some form of Psynergy. If you are able to determine what Psynergy needs to be used and what object is needs to be used on then you are making progress and do not need help from Insight Psynergy to continue. Furthermore, the player map continually tracks where you are in each dungeon. If you are successfully trekking through a dungeon and entering new areas regularly then you do not need help from Insight Psynergy to continue.
Only after this requirement is met should the game offer help.
Activating and Using Insight Psynergy
Because it will not always be available, you should not have to guess when it does become available. Instead of opening the Psynergy menu, an icon should be placed on the touch screen that tells you Insight is available and that activates Insight when touched.
Furthermore, the current way Insight works only shows you how to manipulate items currently on your screen for a few seconds, but this isn’t practical if you can only use Insight once. Instead, it should highlight all the items you can manipulate in the room until you solve the puzzle in that room. You are trading a weak Insight ability that can be used all the time for a more useful ability that can be used only when you really need it.
An Imperfect Solution to a Minor Problem
Insight Psynergy is not a huge problem in Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, but I do believe it was handled incorrectly. Creating a character that knows what to do in every situation may sound good on paper, but it doesn’t work as well when you are trying to develop a challenging game.
My solution to treat Insight more like a Super Guide and less like “just another Psynergy ability” is easy to get around (e.g. just look up the solution online), but it would have shown a bit more care in the way people interact with the game. I hope that in the future (Golden Sun 4?) the developers take more care when handling an ability that shows you what to do next.