Yu-Gi-Oh has been around since the mid-nineties and started life out in paper form as a popular children’s manga. With growing success it spawned an anime series and a card game and as technology grew a few video games. Yu-Gi-Oh 5D’s Decade Duels is the latest game and the first to allow Xbox 360 owners to have a go at this crazy card game. Is this a game for everyone or just fans of the series? Let’s find out!
The story takes place in the Fortune Cup arc of the series and upon booting the game up for the first time sees your character, an unrelated player with your gamertag as their name, greeted by Rex Goodwin who informs you of the upcoming tournament you are about to take part in. Story wise, very little goes on and the game is more focused around the card battles, with a few cut scenes thrown in between which are not voiced and are quite boring. Skipping through them won’t ruin anything unless you are seriously interested in Yu-Gi-Oh.
With each tournament you start out in the preliminaries, which see you battle three other AI characters that you must beat in order to continue onto the next round of the tournament, naturally. Once you have successfully played through the preliminaries you will be in a knockout tournament that continues to cut the competitors down until there are only two of you fighting for the final. If you fail at any point during the tournament you will be sent back to the beginning and must do it all over again. This is everything the game has to offer and just sees your character repeating tournaments over and over to gain more cards to flesh out your decks.
To begin with, your deck is very weak and only contains a few decent cards, so expect to lose quite a few battles unless you are familiar with the Yu-Gi-Oh card game. Every time you win or lose a battle you will gain a selection of cards and card recipes, depending on how well you performed, which can be added to your deck in the deck edit menu. If you have Microsoft Points to spare, there are a number of different card packs that you can purchase from the Xbox Marketplace, but at 160 points per pack it’s quite a steep price to pay just to help you out in the beginning of the game, even more so considering you will be unlocking more powerful cards when you lose games.
The matches themselves can be as slow or fast paced as you like as there is no time limit. This is a good thing, as sometimes when trying to figure out whether or not to put a card into defensive mode or place a new attacking card, it can take some time and it’s nice not to be rushed. As previously mentioned the AI characters can be pretty brutal at times, but this isn’t a flaw with the game, it just requires a stronger deck and extensive knowledge of the rules. To help you understand these rules, Konami have implemented a very extensive tutorial system that you can learn everything there is to know about the card game, as long as you have the patience to sit through the seventeen tutorial chapters.
Multiplayer does exist but as with a lot of Arcade titles, finding a partner is not an easy task, and when all the waiting does payoff be prepared for them to leave if the game doesn’t quite go their way. Not only is this frustrating in terms of having a decent game online but when players leave it, you aren’t always awarded the win for the match and will therefore not receive any cards.
Yu-Gi-Oh fans will enjoy the game and those with knowledge of the rules will have an easy ride at the beginning, but as far as trying out a Yu-Gi-Oh game for the first time I wouldn’t recommend spending your hard earned cash here. The blurry cards, repetitive music and steep learning curve won’t make for an enjoyable experience and the lack of players online means the game will be very short lived unless you enjoy repeating the same style tournaments against AI characters over and over.