Yu-Gi-Oh! Spikey hair, cards, Blue-Eyes White Dragon, The Heart of the Cards, ridiculous plots involving pharaohs? Really?! Like Stargate? Not like Stargate? Ok then.

It’s Yu-Gi-Oh everyone.

I’ll be honest, I’ve not played much Yu-Gi-Oh. My fiancée used to play the collectible card game years ago, and we’ve played a few games in the past, but I don’t really get it and I’m not super keen. It may be that the closest I got to a CCG was collecting Magic: The Gathering cards, but never playing because I didn’t have any friends as a kid.

As I got older I did eventually get to play with various partners, but I started to think it might be cursed. This was due to the fact that all it took was a couple of games of MTG and a week or so later and our relationships were over. As such, I’d become a little weary of it. That was all unfounded and now I play MTG, Pokémon, and occasionally Yu-Gi-Oh with my fiancée whenever we have a free weekend.

Now, we mostly play with fairly old cards, and we’re well aware that there are a lot of new rules in the modern game. The thing is, neither of us is willing to get sucked back into buying hundreds of cards until we can’t afford to eat.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution is here to for people like us, who want to try more of the game, but aren’t willing to throw an entire paycheck at Konami for the privilege. You want more cards? Just play the campaign game and gain points and cards, along with unlocking booster packs which you can purchase with in-game currency, from the shop.

No microtransactions, no DLC, just play more to get more. Simple.

The main part of the game is the campaign mode. Here you can play through each of the TV series, reliving great moments from the show. The stories are told through a series of vignettes like an anime powerpoint presentation. You’ll watch (or after the first few, skip) through the plot before being thrown into a duel as you would have seen it on screen.

Here comes my major gripe with the game. the decks being played are all about those moments in the show. They’re not super balanced, there isn’t a huge amount of synergy, and you don’t even get a chance to see what’s in your character’s deck until you draw the cards. I feel like if you’re supposed to be playing the characters, they’d know what you’re playing with. Perhaps I should just trust in the Heart of the Cards *rolls eyes*.

Too often I found that victory or crushing defeat was simply a matter of luck. If my first hand was good, I could be finished if a few minutes. If not I could either waste my time trying to block and hope I’d draw something to help with a come back (that would never come). More often than not, I’d look at my first hand, maybe my next 1-2 cards and surrender if it was already precarious, because the game beat the idea that recovery was even the vaguest speculation of a possibility. The only exception was playing the reverse match (play as an antagonist against one of the good characters in a duel you’ve already won from the other side) as Wendle, with an insect deck. This was the first time I saw a deck that even vaguely turned a game around.

As you play through, the game does a really good job of explaining each new mechanic in a fairly simple manner. This has definitely given me a much better understanding of how to play the decks we have at home along with the newer rules for things like pendulum or XYZ summons. The way you’re taught is very much just “here’s the instructions, do the thing”. It’s up to you to take a moment and read each of the cards in your own time. Thankfully, the tutorial doesn’t stop that. If you want to learn Yu-Gi-Oh, you could do a lot worse than play through the campaign tutorials in this.

Once you win a duel, you’ll be awarded a couple of signature cards for your opponent, some points (which you can use as currency in the in-game shop), the reverse match I mentioned earlier, and a blueprint for recreating the deck you played with.

After you’ve had enough of the campaign (and heck me there’s a lot to play through) you can try other modes. Play online in various modes (including local wireless, online, sealed play, draft play, and ranked matches), and build your own decks with the cards you’ve unlocked or purchased in-game.

This is where I feel the game really shines. Suddenly, you have the chance to put together some really good decks and try them out. The deck builder even has an option to select a card you like and then have the game suggest cards that will work well with it. This feature works really well and you can put together some really devastating decks on the advise of these suggestions.

The online mode seems well populated and and runs just fine. Which is really all you need to know.

Overall, Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution is as good a digital version of a collectable card game as I’ve seen for any of them. The graphics are nice during duels (though the animations of high level creatures being summoned looks a little bit early 00s era CG if I’m honest), the sound design is good enough, the selection of cards to use is great, the deck builder is really user friendly, the tutorials are very good, and the controls are simple. If you want an affordable way to play, or a way to play online because you can’t get anyone more local into Yu-Gi-Oh, this is the perfect way to do it.

Pros:

  • Lots of cards to win/unlock with no additional cash outlay once you’ve bought the game.
  • Good tutorials.
  • Excellent deck builder.

Cons:

  • Summoning high level creatures will play some ropey looking 00s era CG animations.
  • The vignettes make each series of the show look dull as heck.
  • Pre-built decks are poorly designed.

Final Score: 6.5/10

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