Started Fire Emblem Awakening last night. First hour impressions: very good. Never have been big into the SRPG genre so we'll see how this goes.
It is the most accessible Fire Emblem game since the series came stateside. The mechanics have always been simple to grasp, and Awakening threw in some nice surprises with the pairing system and the ability to customize unit classes. The previous games in the series tended to be very rigid in that regard.
I finished Golden Sun: Dark Dawn. I was glad to find the final boss was at least somewhat challenging considering the lack of difficulty throughout the rest of the game. The climax was kind of abrupt, and of course there is the hint of a sequel. That kind of made the ending feel a little less than satisfying as there was no real closure to many of the plot threads introduced at the beginning of the game. Hopefully something new will be coming before long.
I don't think I'm going to do any of the post-game content at this time. Maybe when/if news of the next game comes around then I'll revisit it, but I'm done for now.
Next up will either be Xenoblade Chronicles, or Chrono Trigger DS. Just need to catch up on some reading before I start those though.
FE:Awakening is very much the most accessible game in the series on both sides of the Pacific. Optional Permadeath, Grinding, a Player Insert character, and Reclassing for skills and such, not to mention Waifu Wars, a Ridiculously Easy Normal Mode, and Modern Character Designs (even if they generally suck) really opened the doors compared to earlier games in the series.
I hate to say it, but if you remove the Dark Dawn part of your Golden Sun review, you could easily use it for the original game wholesale.
And my two suggestions for Xenoblade is to not worry about going out of your way to complete sidequests since you'll have plenty of time to do them over the course of the game, and to make sure to talk to NPCs twice whenever you see them.