Although I love strategic card games like Magic: The Gathering, I’ve somehow never been exposed a lot of Yu-Gi-Oh! Maybe it’s a generational thing; maybe it’s because I was in my teens when the cartoon launched here in the UK and it seemed pretty goofy, or maybe I just never had time until now. Whatever the reason for my past disinterest, the titular hero’s first outing on Xbox One may well have just got me hooked.
In truth, there has never been a better introduction to Yugi and his pals than that which Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist offers. This is a game which I’ve played for almost a solid month, and the amount of content on offer therein is just astonishing. New players will benefit from a fairly decent tutorial and an extremely forgiving difficulty curve, whilst experienced players will make swift progress through four lengthy campaigns and a range of both on and offline sealed play options.
Here’s what I liked:
Card kingdom — The most striking thing about Legacy of the Duelist is how generous it is, and how hard it is to reel players in and keep them there with a huge range of modes and options. The core of the single player experience are the four campaigns, each of which features a bizarre and surprisingly complex story about missing relatives, lost souls, ancient artifacts, Egyptian gods, ninjas, robots, golems, fairies, dinosaurs (or sometimes all of the above) which then take place across approximately 25 battles each. Once complete, each battle can be replayed using the opposing deck, essentially doubling the amount of gameplay. There are also two modes of sealed play (sealed and draft) which involve the player building a scratch deck from a limited pool of cards, and then pitting it against either AI or online opponents. Then there are about another million modes. And more than 6,500 cards in total. This game is massive. Really.
It’s a long story — I wrote previously that I used to find the Yu-Gi-Oh! cartoons fairly goofy, but having spent literally hours and hours of my life getting to know Yugi and his cute little pals, I can’t help but feel my heart warming towards them. Although the card battles are undoubtedly the highlight in Legacy of the Duelist, as a total newcomer to the series, I also appreciated the many reams of text and lovingly created cartoon panels featured within the game. Lore can be a defining factor in committing to one trading card game or another in real life, and Legacy of the Duelist undoubtedly provides more than enough material for players to make an informed choice about whether Yu-Gi-Oh! is the game for them.
Going pro — Even though I’ve played Legacy of the Duelist pretty intensely over the past few weeks, I would hardly call myself an expert. For those of you who are experts however, I am certain this is a game which offers nearly unlimited (and definitely unrivalled) scope for building deck recipes of unlimited scope, or for consuming sealed and draft play in a competitive, online environment at any time. It’s rare that games are this generous, but it’s even less common to find a game which caters so well for both newcomers and experienced hands alike.
Here’s what I didn’t like:
One trick pony — If you fundamentally dislike card games and hate cute, cartoon youths with spiky hair, then Legacy of the Duelist is not for you. This is a game which offers bucketloads of value, but when I say bucketloads, I literally mean actual bucketloads of cards being poured into your Xbox One and filling it up until it overflows. Or explodes.
Legacy of the Duelist is my first Yu-Gi-Oh! game, but I hope it won’t be my last. If anything, the only reason that I wouldn’t consider buying another, later version (if there ever is one) is because this game is in itself so vast, so complete and just so darn comprehensive that I’m not sure what else could be crammed into a potential sequel. Alright, not everyone loves card games and that can’t be helped, but for anyone with even a passing interest in them, or the Yu-Gi-Oh! series in general, I strongly suggest you try it out.
Score: Try it
Yu-Gi-Oh: Legacy of the Duelist was developed by Other Ocean and published by Konami on Xbox One. It was released on July 31, 2015 for $19.99. A copy was provided for review purposes.