3DS Friend Code: 5327-0886-7930
Nintendo Network ID: ChainALM
Preferred Music: Rock, Punk, Victoriandustrial
Personal Quote: "Genibus Nitito Canus", "Vocare ad Regnum"
So, first thing's first, this is not a review in the purest sense, more just me rambling about the game, things I've noticed compared to other games and whether or not the price tag is justified.
I've sunk about 3.5 hours into the game and... my feelings are mixed.
First off, the game is pretty much Digital Only here, and while I'm not pushed about losing the cards packed in per se, I prefer physical media, so this was almost a deal-breaker. But, with BushiRoad not bringing the CardFight!! Vanguard games to the west, I wanted a card fighter I was familiar with, and YGO hasn't seen DS love since, WC2012 Over The Nexus.
I like the game, or at least I want to like it.
It's a serviceable card fight simulator, with it's only real flaws being that the lack of a player character driven story mode is really weird to me given past games, World Championship and Tag Force for example.
The story mode is more play as any of the in-series characters, play through a tournament and unlock cards to use in Free Play, which is Single Player for your Player Character only vs the in-series characters. This sounds fun in theory, but there's no online or even local multiplayer, so it's obviously not going to be the relaunch of the World Championship brand, but why should I bother with Free Play and building my own deck, when I can't even play against my friends? It's the first Yu-Gi-Oh! game on 3DS and Konami nerfed the one thing that makes dueling fun, the very thing their own franchise promotes extensively - playing with friends and making friends through play.
And I should mention "in-series" here refers STRICTLY to ZeXal. It is not like the game on X-Box Live or PSN where you can fight Yugi, Judai, Yusei and Yuma. World Duel Carnival's 40 character roster is limited to just Yuma and his friends.
You CAN edit character decks during each character's story mode, but you're still playing as that character. Changing Yuma's deck doesn't swap Yuma out for the Konami PC, so it's pointless to do so.
Oh, and because Japan has had this for the last year, May 2013 to be precise, the game is already out of date card wise and I'll need to wait until the next one before using anything from Dragons of Legend. But, that last point may just be bias on my part.
An out of date card pool, a game of forced solitude, and graphically very basic. Does anyone remember those 3D monster models that would appear on top of cards and battle in DS versions of the game? Yeah, they got nixed here, and the in-game cards look closer to their 4Kids style than anything I've seen previously - they don't even pretend to have effect/flavour text.
So, what do I like about the game? It has a charm to it, I guess. The characters are bright and cheerful some outfit designs are ridiculous, and the in-game AI is smarter and faster than anything prior to this. Also, there is a BAD-ASS piece of music that kicks in when your opponent drops below 3000 Life Points.
The potential for a great Yu-Gi-Oh! game is there, rather than just a serviceable one. It's a real shame Konami nerfed a lot of the things that made the DS versions memorable, like having a character that you design and whose deck you build interacting on a storyline level with the main cast. Having to buy packs rather than the game just throwing cards into your Trunk as you win is also a mixed bag, the former being how the older games did it, but the new way just let's just jump into the deep-end, so it balances out, or it would if jumping into the deep-end helped you build a greater deck to combat against your friends.
Oh, and I may need to go back and check, but I swear the Japanese commercials for this promoted Augmented Reality features using real cards from the card game proper. There is none of that here.
On the 3DS eShop, the game is €39.95. It's not worth it at that price, and I wish I knew that going in. If it were maybe 10 or 15 euro cheaper I'd recommend it just for those looking to get a portable card fighter fix. There are some games that should never be single player only. This is one of them.
Maybe Konami will get it right next time.