|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Konami||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Konami||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 20, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
Before the review gets underway, there are some essential questions you must ask yourself before continuing: Have you watched the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime in it's entirety? Are you a Duel Master? Do you know what a Duel Master is? Do you attend anime conventions and spend your time in the cardroom playing Yu-Gi-Oh!?
If you answered "no" to one of these questions, you still might be able to play this game. If you answered "no" to two, then you should probably start looking at another game. This game is A+ material if you rock at Yu-Gi-Oh!. However, if you are not a huge fan of the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise (like myself), expect to feel dazed, confused, and otherwise bewildered by this title.
Of course, the game takes into account the possible Yu-Gi-Oh! newbie who may inadvertently pick up the title out of sheer curiosity. Woe to that newbie. There is a tutorial section that is buried in the main menu (the game thrusts you into the Yu-Gi-Oh! universe by helping you to create your own Yu-Gi-Oh!-styled character almost immediately, so you'll have to do some backtracking). The tutorial explains things pretty well, the only problem is the sheer magnitude of information required to play this game. I must say I have newfound respect for the Yu-Gi-Oh! kids I see playing at anime conventions. I never realized how much there was involved. If you decide to go through the tutorial mode, expect to set aside at least two hours of your time. And that's if you're a quick learner (regrettably, I was still completely lost at this stage and probably should have gone through the entire tutorial again).
However, with what information I did have, I started up the CPU duel function of the game. I picked from a handful of pre-made decks (I was definitely not ready to make my own yet), and tested my newfound skills against the computer. And got creamed. However, I found myself learning (albeit incredibly slowly) about some type of strategy and how I could play some of the cards from my deck. Although I was still far from good, I felt at least competent.
Controls are very simple and literally involve picking up cards with the stylus or an on-screen pointer and playing them on the correct spot on the board. The gameplay is exactly the same as playing Yu-Gi-Oh! cards in other settings, so it's really uncomplicated as long as you know what you're doing.
From here I decided to try to make my own deck. I think now would be a good opportunity to mention that the game features 1600 Yu-Gi-Oh! cards to make decks with. Of course, you don't start out with this many, but there are still a lot of cards to choose from. And because decks can contain anywhere between 40-80 cards, it can take quite awhile to create a deck. I'm not gonna lie; I threw in the towel at this stage. Because I was such a newbie, I kept making mistakes and putting things in the wrong places. I decided that the pre-made decks were still the way to go for me.
If you do want to gather all 1600 cards for your deck-making pleasure, expect to do some work. You'll have to earn money via tournaments, and buy packs of Yu-Gi-Oh! cards from the game's store. The store experience is wonderfully realistic because it requires you to buy different packs from different series (just like you would in real life) without knowing what's in them. I bought a few packs from one of the series and was dismayed to see that most of the packs contained duplicate cards that I already had. But it adds to the realism of the whole Yu-Gi-Oh! experience, and that's pretty cool if you ask me.
Another play mode besides the CPU play is the challenge mode. This mode offers the real Yu-Gi-Oh! player a world of choices to challenge themselves to different Yu-Gi-Oh! puzzles, and different handicap modes of play. This mode is really great if you want to hone in on certain skills that you might be lacking in and provides a great practice arena for different modes of specialized play.