Game Review: Yu-Gi-Oh!: Duel Links
Well… I never thought I’d live to see the day where I’d even think about writing a review on a game meant for mobile devices. But… this one had a release on Steam. So no… it’s not exactly CARD GAMES ON CELL PHONES!!!
I’ve downloaded this game to my phone more than once… only to delete it again due to the amount to space it took. I didn’t know it, but there was a release on Steam late last year (as in 2017). Meaning that people with a PC (that have Windows, freaking Linux hating bastards) could finally play it without having to look at a tiny screen.
When you start out the game, you can either start as Yami Yugi or Seto Kaiba. It doesn’t really matter, you can unlock the other later. The main goal is to level up your duelist to unlock new cards or “skills”. Skills were also introduced in the Yu-Gi-Oh!: VRAINS anime. So was the format used, the Speed Dueling Format.
Before the Speed Format, there were only three formats (as explained in the Coy and Yuki theater short I made before). These formats were the OCG (Original Card Game, the Asian format), the TCG Advanced (Trading Card Game, the western format we’re familiar with), and the TCG Traditional (A version of the TCG with no ban list, but limited cards). Speed Duels are special for a few reasons. Starters, you only get three Monster Zones and Spell/Trap Zones as opposed to the regular five. The decks have literally been cut in half, you can only have twenty to thirty cards in a deck rather than the regular forty to sixty. And only five monsters in your Extra Deck. I don’t know about side decks as I only played Speed Duels in Duel Links. Also, you start your hand with only four cards instead of five. The last thing is that you only have four-thousand life points like in the anime. And yes, I’ve seen in many threads about Duel Links with people whining for five zones and other stuff like in the Master Rules.
In case your wondering, the Master Rules refers to the regular rules. Thus making the OCG, TCG Advanced, and TCG Traditional formats the Master Rules. Don’t ask too much about why they did this, it’s just how they are. So yeah, those who watched me play Yu-Gi-Oh!: Legacy of the Duelist in my live streams saw me playing under the Master Rules. Or Master Duel as it’s known as. Master Duel is just a way of saying that we’re dueling under the Master Rules, it’s just it being shortened.
Anyway, Duel Links is more or less the first two Yu-Gi-Oh series. You can either play Duel Monsters or GX. The game takes place in a virtual world called “Duel World”. Seto Kaiba made it as a place for duelists all over the world to play the card game with each other. But there’s a twist, it’s basically like most online games. To be at the top, and being at the top means you’re “Duel World King”. So basically… Kaiba made a virtual world to be the best. And yeah, he wants to even beat Yugi.
There’s no overall story in Duel Links, just dueling. When I first played the game, you were restricted to characters from the Duel Monsters anime. And cards as well. It brought me nostalgia, I loved how things were in both the Duel Monsters anime and the actual TCG. It wasn’t about which archetype was the meta, it was about having fun. These days, there’s too many archetypes out there. And hell, most of them got nerfed when Link Summoning came out. Mainly the ones that depend on the Extra Deck. It’s just Konami trying to control the meta so they can sell new cards. Crap, I ranted.
Anywho, Duel Links is actually more or less similar to the VRAINS anime, despite taking place in Duel Monsters (and also GX now). Other than Speed Duels, each Duelist has their own “Skill”. Skills are just extra abilities that can be used. For example, there’s ones that let you start off the duel with a card that’s not even in your deck on the field. Mostly it’s field spells, though there are some with Continuous Spell Cards. Other skills let you draw a card that’s not in your deck after losing so many life points or just being under a certain amount. Same with automatically putting Spells on the field. For example, Jaden from GX has the skill “Where the Heroes Dwell”. It allows you to put the Field Spell Card “Skyscraper” on the field when you have 3000 or less life points remaining. There’s also skills that start you off with extra LP in the beginning of the duel. Though some of my favorite skills belong to Bandit Keith, like “Switcheroo” and “Restart”. Switcheroo lets you pick one card to shuffle back into the deck and draw another after losing 1900 LP. “Restart” lets you put your opening hand back into the deck and draw a whole new hand. Each duelist can have multiple Skills, but only one can be selected at a time. The skills are also selected for your individual decks, meaning that your skill changes if you use a different deck set to a different skill.
That’s where the similarities to the VRAINS anime ends. As Link Summoning isn’t in the game (yet), you can have multiple Extra Deck monsters out at the same time. But as it only goes as far as GX, the only ones are Fusion Monsters. So no Syncro, Xyz, or Pendulum monsters at all. But we all know that those will be released in time. Right now… we just gotta suffer with the lack of certain cards that were around and not in the game during the eras like Mystical Space Typhoon. Bright side, the game still has Ritual Summoning.
Look, overall the game is still pre-CARD GAMES ON MOTORCYCLES. It’s not a bad game, but it’s one hell of a grind for a F2P (free to play) player like myself. Right now, I’m using 30 card decks that are nowhere near “perfectly balanced”. One of them is an Elemental HERO deck that I made from a starter deck you can buy with in-game currency and Jaden’s beginning deck. And those are not even mid-tier. When it comes to PVP, it stinks. You face people from other countries and home that neither of you lag out or it’s a double loss. And a lot of the people I faced in a “Casual Duel” use the same try-hard decks they use in ranked matches, so it isn’t really fun unless you have a friend to duel. The only reason I like the game other than the fact it’s free is the fact that it’s Yu-Gi-Oh. It’s my favorite card game.
Do I recommend this game? Well… yes and no. Yes because it’s free and can be played on the PC. No because if you get the mobile game, it takes almost 2 gigs of your phone’s (or other device’s) memory. Even after moving it to the SD card it still takes too much internal storage. And it will only play on PC if you have Windows as your OS. I’m not sure if a Chromebook or a Macbook can play the same apps as mobile devices. Another reason I don’t recommend is because you have to be connected to the internet to play it. It’s due to “cloud saving”. It allows you to keep your save data as long as you have a Konami ID to play on other devices. It’s what allowed me to continue where I left off when I played the PC game. But yeah, it’s a game that you should only play if able.