Review: Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist

Once upon a time, Yu-Gi-Oh! was a huge cross media property. It’s still quite popular, both in regards to the anime as well as associated card game, albeit dialed down from the fervor of the early aughts. Over the years we’ve seen all number of Yu-Gi-Oh! video game renditions hit tons of platforms. Some of these, in particular the Game Boy Advance games, became beloved, while other attempts (often no longer about the core card-battling gameplay) just proved annoying. It was in 2003 when Konami pushed a Yu-Gi-Oh! game to PC via Power of Chaos: Yugi the Destiny – and it was atrocious. For some reason, these less-than-ideal games continued to plague the PC audience. It eventually became such an issue that fans used unofficial solutions to play their favorite card game via their computer.

With all that history in mind, Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist is a godsend. While it is not a perfect game, it is by far the best attempt at bringing the classic gameplay to PC. It also features an obsessive amount of detail for fans to get excited about. In the simplest sense, this is just a recent push to bring the popular card game to another platform after releasing on PS4 and Xbox One last year. The thing that makes this release so great is that it comes packed with the vast majority of cards ever released. Seriously, you’ll be able to collect over 6,000 cards. It’s not everything – but darn is it an immense selection. With cards spanning all generations of the series, players are more than free to recreate their personal decks or experiment with tons of other custom decks. Those who would rather just be handed a deck are actually also in luck.

There’s a massive campaign mode in this game which is broken up by different seasons of the anime series. As such, you’ll see characters such as the famed Yugi, Kaiba, and many more as they battle out in classic duels. On that same token, you’ll also see representation from the following series’ – GX, 5D’s, ARC-V, and ZEXAL. The fanservice actually goes much further than simply showing off classic characters and plot lines. A huge amount of duels which took place in the show’s multi-year history are represented in game. The level of detail paid to the campaign is tremendously impressive. From brief retellings of the story which use the actual show script to playable decks which accurately recreate what occurred in the anime, there’s ton for fans to be excited about.

If an average of 25 historical duels per series isn’t enough for you, then there is also an option to play each battle in “reverse.” What this means is that you basically flip from playing as one character to the other. That way you can try out the decks of antagonists, among others which effectively doubles the playable stages. Playing with each character’s predefined deck is best, though it’s also possible to bring your own custom deck into the storyline. The only issue there is that many decks from the show (especially early on) are full of nonsense. Some of this results in incredibly weak cards while other times it results in massive unfairness (Exodia the Forbidden One, anyone?). Many of these battles are not actually too difficult with a custom deck – but it’s not recommended to play that way.

You see, in some sense, Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist’s story campaign turns the strategic card game into almost a bit of a puzzler. You must manage to learn the strengths of your character’s deck as well as the weaknesses of the opponent to take them down effectively. Just charging in blindly will actually lead to failure often, even for skilled players. After a losing battle, the game offers up a pretty obvious hint about the enemy’s weakness in case you’re having trouble. No matter the resolution, each fight also rewards players with duelist points. This digital currency cannot be purchased with real money and is the way to collect the vast majority of cards included in the game. Cards are divided into packs by anime series and character. The split of who gets which card doesn’t always make sense. There are guides online which list where to get each card, though. Spending currency results in a randomized pack of eight cards from that character – just like buying a real pack.

Cards are also accrued by simply battling. Wins earn players far more cards, especially the most noteworthy card from a player. There is one other means by which to collect cards in Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist which is a bit controversial with players. This title also launched with a wide set of DLC. At $4.99 a piece, and seventeen DLC packs in all, it’s an easy way to spend $100 total on an otherwise twenty dollar game. Expect to gain access to some exclusive cards as well as new duels with a purchase of a DLC pack. Although it may seem extreme, for most, none of the DLC is a required purchase. There are still thousands upon thousands of cards available with the base game. The extra duels are not the most exciting of their respective shows, either. It all mostly serves as a way to eke even more out of the game for the most diehard Yu-Gi-Oh! players.

Then there’s the online multiplayer mode which is a boon for folks who have made do with unofficial PC solutions in the past. The problem is, despite a large audience playing the game, you’re not likely to find many people in ranked play. Even the other, non-ranked player match option is not typically filled with folks looking to duel. The best bet for online is to either play with a friend or look to a group playing via the Steam Community. Fortunately, there’s so much variety to single player that the game is in no way dependent on its multiplayer mode for longevity.

Not every aspect of Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist is perfect, of course. The UI works pretty well, but leaves a little to be desired. Of note is the alert system which will constantly ask you about using a spell, trap, or effect. Either turn the notifications to “pro” or “simple” to tone down the prompts. The actual issue which appears to have no resolution is that sometimes it is hard to read the effects of a card. For example, if using a spell that brings a card back from the graveyard, you won’t even be able to read graveyard-based card descriptions at that moment. There is also not a way to zoom in on cards or look at the type (normal, fire, etc). You simply must know that based on the symbols on the cards. Sure, most fans know this stuff already, but a newbie would need to look it up externally. With that said, these gripes are minor in contrast to the rest of this massively enjoyable package.

Closing Comments:  

Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist is an absolute dream for fans. This is the exact game we’ve been waiting for since the first disappointing PC release over a decade ago. Never before has the wealth of Yu-Gi-Oh!’s card library been represented so fully nor has the series been treated with such adoration. There’s little doubt that this game was created by other fans looking to make a game they’d truly love to play. If you’ve ever had fun playing Yu-Gi-Oh! over the years, then this is a solid purchase. With easily over forty hours of gameplay just clearing the main campaign mode, tons of cards to unlock and the ability to create tons of decks, this is by far the best Yu-Gi-Oh! game yet.

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Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist