Review – Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution

Man, I used to love Yu-Gi-Oh back in fourth grade. I had all the decks. I had tons of Game Boy Advance games, with the tactical RPG spin-off, Dungeondice Monsters, being my favorite. My parents would buy me a booster pack a week and I’d take my decks to school where I’d play against my friends during recess. Then I would get home and watch the anime religiously on Nickelodeon. Everybody my age was into Yu-Gi-Oh like crazy… for that one single year.

The moment I got into fifth grade, I don’t know how else to explain it, but it seemed like the magic had ended. We stopped caring about the show. We definitely stopped caring about the new card types and rulesets. Yu-Gi-Oh was no longer in my life, until now. Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution is a brand new game in the long-lasting franchise released exclusively for the Nintendo Switch and the first time I’m playing Yu-Gi-Oh in literally fifteen years. I’m getting old…

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Bringing back memories from when I used to rule the playground as the undisputed king of fourth grade.

Gameplay-wise, there’s not a lot you can say about this game that hasn’t been said about basically every other Yu-Gi-Oh game released over the years. It perfectly recreates the card game’s rules with a mind-boggling nine thousand cards for you to choose from. It’s safe to say that the deck creation possibilities are basically endless.

You can partake on various campaigns which recreate the most famous battles from all iterations of the anime (I never knew there were so many of them). You can do this either with your unique deck or the same deck the show’s character would have used at the time. You can also partake in other duels outside of the show’s canon, all in order to get points which you will spend on booster packs. Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution has no microtransactions whatsoever, so in true old-school digital card game fashion, you’ll need to obtain the cards you want through hard work.

As previously mentioned, the amount of cards at your disposal is immense. It’s actually overwhelming. Trying to make a deck of your choosing becomes a challenge once you collect too many cards, as the game doesn’t provide you with proper search tools in order for you to find them. In order to remedy the situation, there is a neat feature that lists all cards in your collection that work well with any given card you select, as well as deck presets and recipes you can unlock throughout the game.

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There it is, he said it…

Things were off to a great start and I was actually having a lot of fun at first. It was clearly reminding me of why I used to love Yu-Gi-Oh back in the day, but it didn’t take long for the game to bum me out. It was until I started learning about all of the different types of cards added throughout the years, as well as some new rulesets. Synchro cards, Pendulum cards, Link cards, XYZ cards… I was so happy with only Normal, Effect, Ritual, and Fusion. I quickly realized that Yu-Gi-Oh suffered from the same thing that the Pokémon Trading Card Game has been dealing with over the past years: adding new rules and card types for the sake of it. Thankfully, unlike the Pokémon TCG, you can still create a deck and play a decent round of Yu-Gi-Oh with old-school cards. But since every single campaign besides the first one focuses so heavily on these different types of cards, it didn’t take me long to realize why I stopped caring about Yu-Gi-Oh fifteen years ago.

Another thing that bothered me was how lazy the game’s overall production values are. Granted, card games aren’t known for featuring flashy graphics or animations, but this one takes the cake when it comes to laziness. At the very least, when you play a virtual card game, you should be able to take a look at a big zoomed-in scan of the game’s cards. It isn’t possible here. Be it on portable or docked mode, cards are limited to small scans on the left side of the screen. All the game has in terms of flashy visuals is a handful of summoning animations for the more famous cards, such as the Dark Magician and everybody’s favorite, the Blue-Eyes White Dragon.

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Hey dude, do you mind zooming the artwork a lil’ bit?

There’s not much else that needs to be said about Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution. It’s a Yu-Gi-Oh game for the Switch, with below passable visuals and more cards that you could ever imagine. If you’re a fan of the card game, I’m pretty sure you have already bought it. If you have never cared about it, this game won’t help you change your mind. If you’re someone who, like me, used to love Yu-Gi-Oh as a kid and stopped caring about it for any given reason, this game isn’t exactly a bad idea, as it will remind of what made the franchise so popular in the early 2000’s. But be aware that you will probably not enjoy the dozens of convoluted additions to the card game’s rules introduced over the years.

Furthermore, if you decide to buy this game, make sure to purchase it from the Japanese eShop. It’s cheaper than the American version and it’s also in English.

 

Graphics: 4.5

While I do understand that card games usually don’t feature flashy graphics, this game just looks lazy. Incredibly simplistic animations, bland backgrounds, and the worst offender of all, really small card artworks.

Gameplay: 9.0

A great recreation of the Yu-Gi-Oh card game. The UI is slick, the turns are fast-paced, and the touchscreen support is a welcome addition.

Sound: 5.0

The kind of soundtrack that is here solely for the developers to say that there is a soundtrack in here. It’s as forgettable as it can be.

Fun Factor: 7.0

Playing the original storyline with classic rules reminded me why I used to love Yu-Gi-Oh when I was a kid. Playing the game with more recent rules and convoluted card types reminded me OF why I stopped caring about Yu-Gi-Oh as well.

Final Verdict: 6.5

Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution is available now on Switch.

Reviewed on Switch.

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