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Yu-Gi-Oh!  Reshef of Destruction Package Art
GENRE
Collectible Card Game
DEVELOPER
Konami
PUBLISHER
Konami
NUMBER OF PLAYERS
1-2
CONNECTIVITY
No
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Yu-Gi-Oh! Reshef of Destruction

I have a love/hate relationship with collectible card games. I love the strategy involved in building a custom deck and playing, but I hate the idea of funneling my money into booster packs and rare cards. So thank goodness for video game CCGs like Yu-Gi-Oh! Reshef of Destruction, the latest GBA game in the Yu-Gi-Oh! line which combines RPG and collectible card elements into one solid package.

visuals

The game uses an effective mix of handdrawn sprites and prerendered backgrounds. The cards themselves have been scanned at very high quality and look quite good.

audio

The music is well-composed, but not particularly noteworthy. Voicework has been added sparingly, mostly for Yugi and Joey. It's not too bad, but it seems sort of peculiar to only voice two characters in the game.

gameplay

If you're not a fan of the Yu-Gi-Oh universe, you're likely to find yourself a little lost at the beginning of the game. The storyline boils down to the familiar old "gather the mystical items to stop the end of the world" bit. To do this, you must team up with your best friends Yugi and Joey and defeat everyone you meet at the Yu-Gi-Oh collectible card game. Although you're given the opportunity to explore some rather modest locations, talk to various people, and participate in little sub-plots, your focus is going to be on the card game itself.

As far as CCGs go, Yu-Gi-Oh is impressive in its depth and simplicity. Although you're thrown into the game without the benefit of a tutorial, it's simple enough to catch on to how the game works after a few hands.

Every monster has two stats relating to the two positions they can have in combat: Attack and defense. A monster is generally stronger in attack position and is capable of dealing damage to an opponent, but it leaves you vulnerable. A defending monster can only damage the opponent indirectly, but it completely protects you from attack. Every monster also has an elemental class, called its "Summon," which sets monsters up in the usual "Rock-Paper-Scissors" hierarchy; a low-level fire monster can instantly vanquish a high-level forest monster, for example. Moreover, the more powerful monsters often require a "tribute" in order to bring them into play; you can stack your deck with high-powered monsters, but you'll never get to use them unless you have some low-powered monsters to build off of. Special cards -- spells, traps, and rituals -- help to throw a little unpredictability into each match. In all, it's a game that plays very intuitively and allows for a great deal of strategy in both deck-building and actual play.

The game features some interesting RPG elements. Your Deck Capacity and Duelist Level work as a sort of experience point system to regulate how powerful your deck can be. Every card comes with a "cost" relating to how useful it is. The total cost of your deck can't exceed your Deck Capacity, and no single card can cost more than your overall Duelist Level. Every time you win a duel, your capacity and level increase slightly, allowing you to build more powerful decks. Also, your character starts with 8000 Life Points to battle with. The only way to regenerate them is to go home and rest; you don't get to start over fresh with the next battle. Although you're generally given enough opportunity to go home and recharge between battles, there will be occasions where you'll have to fight several duelists in a row without the benefit of a breather. It makes the game more interesting than just a straight-up CCG tournament.

Unfortunately, the game has a few flaws that keep it from being really great. The most important one is pacing. Leveling up is slow. You only get one new card from each duel you win, and how good it is depends on how good of a card you use to "ante in" at the beginning of a match. Unfortunately, you aren't allowed to ante in with a card unless you have two of them on hand, so you can't really get the best cards until you get doubles of one of the really good cards. Individual cards are available for purchase from the Game store, but when you make 100 dominoes from a good match and the best cards cost over 4000 dominoes apiece, building up your collection can seem like an exercise in futility. Even when you get something good, there's no guarantee that you'll be able to use it right away; deck capacity and duel level increase very slowly, and you'll have to face dozens of matches to bring them up to respectable levels. In contrast, the opponents that you face become very tough very quickly. Even with a good elementally-balanced deck, the early opponents can still mop the floor with you. You can level up as much as you want by facing off with Yugi and Joey in the Game store, but it's still a very slow process to build yourself up. Fortunately, the matches themselves are a lot of fun to play. I honestly don't mind replaying them over and over because the nature of the card game makes every match different. Still, this is not a game for the impatient.

Another problem is with the deck-building system. Perhaps I've been spoiled by the Pokemon Trading Card Game on Game Boy Color, but a few more options would have been welcome. You can sort your collection of cards by just about any sort of criteria you'd care to use, which is nice. Unfortunately, there are no options to quickly disassemble a deck or save a deck for quick reassembly later. So if you need a custom "light and dream" themed deck, you'll have to take out each card from your deck one at a time, then put your old deck back together one card at a time again when you want it again. Another oversight, which is really unforgivable because of the importance it has on deck-building strategy, is that there's no way to tell how many tributes a monster needs to be summoned until you've actually got it in your hand while you're playing. It's not printed on the card, and it's not listed among the card's stats. Very annoying.

There is one clever feature that needs to be noted, however. A password machine in the game allows you to bring any of your real-life Yu-Gi-Oh cards into the game (for a substantial price) by entering the serial number printed on the card. And Konami didn't even have to invent a giant useless doorstop of a card-scanning peripheral to do it.

multiplayer

Linked play and card-trading are available, naturally. One rather nice feature, obviously designed to bring friends together to play the game, is that you increase your deck capacity with every game you play, whether you win or lose. A handicap feature is available to make sure both players have roughly equal-powered decks. Not bad at all.

overall

Although it stumbles a bit and it seems to be geered toward people who are already initiated in the Yu-Gi-Oh world, this is an easy game to recommend to any collectible card game fan. It's easy enough to get into and fun enough to play for hours at a time, even when you aren't advancing the main story. Very nicely done.

final score 8.0/10





WRITER INFORMATION
Staff Avatar Ed Griffiths
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"Nothing can kill the Grimace!"


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