Yu-gi-oh! 5D’s – Review

Release Date: Out now (Xbox Live Arcade)
Developer: Konami
Publisher: Konami
Singleplayer: Yes
Splitscreen: No
Multiplayer: Yes

(Xbox Live Arcade release)

I can fondly recall my Yu-gi-oh! days, I was playing with the very first decks when they hit and I kept playing for years. Hell, I’ve still got the cards somewhere.

So I was pretty please when it hit Xbox Live Arcade, allowing me to get back into the game and batter my friends around online.

Yu-gi-oh! 5D’s is based around the latest TV outing for the brand, and as such you’ll be taking on the shows lead character, Yusei Fudo, as well as Jack Atlas. This is what forms the games core singleplayer, you enter in a tournement where you face off against a total 6 opponents and unlocking cards to customise your deck with along the way.

You’d be forgiven for getting pretty frustrated with the game at first, whether veteren or new player. The game starts you off with a terrible deck that I wouldn’t even give my two year old niece to play with and the AI are armed with well built decks nd a vicious AI.
Once again both veteren and new players are going to be surprised with the combinations the AI play and the game lacks any means to slow down these moves so you can learn them yourself, instead you’re expected to be able to follow a 10-card play made in five seconds flat.

Happily the game does have a fairly large tutorial to get new players going, and while you’ll still get your ass handed to you at least you’ll understand how the rules allowed it all.

For every lose of victory you’ll be handed a random selection of cards – more for a win and less for a lose. This comes out the games one thousand card database and they can all be used to create your dream deck. The bad news is the random nature of the cards means it can take a hell of a long time to build a specific themed deck, but it’s still gratifying to build up a massive collection to whoop your friends with. Oddly though you can’t trade cards with friends or gift them. It’s an odd thing not to include in a trading card game.

Get into the actual gameplay and the addictive nature of Yu-gi-oh! is present and correct. Timing and strategy are all key area’s in this game, and learning how different cards can work together is as rewarding as ever. The AI will certainly challenge you though I did note the difficulty sometimes fluctuated oddly.
The singleplayer will take a while to beat initially as you’ll need some semi-decent cards to be competivie, but once you get going it’s fairly short and you can run through the tournement quickly. The real replay value comes from wanting to get more cards as you can only unlock a maximuim of 15 per game – depending on your performance.
The interface is decent enough, but setting a trap down will result in a box popping up every few seconds asking whether you’d like to activate it. While it’s a required part of the game, it’s still bloody annoying.

The bad news is you can’t just set up a single duel against a specific opponent, you need to start the entire tournement again and have no choice in who you face off against making it impossible to test your new creation against a specific deck.

But who needs AI when you can play against real people. The full range of ranked or player matches are here, and you can tweak lifepoints and whether it’s a single-round or full match. It all works well and you’ll quickly find a game. However reports have already hit the net that cheating has been encountered.

A couple of other things feel less polished in the game that they should be. The graphics feel rather drab with simple backgrounds and no animations for attack or effects. Instead an attack is simply described via a “swish” sound and a few red numbers popping up which show the damage done. While I hardly expected graphics that would blow me away, it would have still been nice to see some interesting playing fields or even something a bit more impressive than a few red numbers.

The sound certainly isn’t going to impress either. The soundtrack is generic and feels like somebody just threw it together using a basic program and the game doesn’t have a single piece of voice acting either.

Yu-gi-oh! Decade Duels is a great game for lovers of the cards, and new-comers as well can enjoy it, but it does feel like it’s missing certain features and lacking in other area’s. If you love the card game then this should be an immediate purchase, but for everyone else give this a shot and see what you think.

The Good:
+ Discovering a game winning combo in your deck.
+ Pwning somebody over Live.
+ Unlocking cards is addictive.

The Bad:
– It lacks any sort of visual presentation bar the basics.
– Ok, shut the damn music off please.
– How the hell did the AI do that!?


Graphics: 6
The only thing that really saves it is the card designs, the artwork is still great, other than that this is a pretty bare game in terms of visuals.

Sound: 4
The dance music may appeal to some, but it’s generic, basic and repeats itself almost every game. Oh, and zero voice acting.

Story: 3
Enter tournement and win it. Done.

Gameplay: 9
Classic stuff. Sometimes confusing, other times frustrating but very addictive.

Lifespan: 7
Unlocking all the cards will take you a good while, as will building different decks and playing online.

Overall: 8
It may feel like it’s missing things, but the gameplay brought back great memories and is great fun, especially when you get a few friends together with wildy different play-styles and decks.

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