another DS game, although quite a bit different than the previous two. i’d never played a card-based game before and frankly hadn’t had much interest in them despite their apparent popularity among the more “hardcore” otaku crowd, but after playing baten kaitos and quite enjoying the card-based battle mechanics i thought i’d try out one i had lying around: yu-gi-oh! world championship 2007.
my previous exposure to the yu-gi-oh! franchise had been limited to catching bits of the cartoon on TV, so it turns out this was a good one to start with b/c apparently this was the first yu-gi-oh! game that included a tutorial. and if you’ve never played the game you’re definitely going to need it. there’s no question that the card game has a steep learning curve (easily seen just by perusing the arcane details discussed in the beginner and advanced gameplay FAQ’s on the official site), but the dense tutorial does a pretty decent job of going over the basics. once that was out of the way i was ready to jump into the game itself. i was surprised that there wasn’t any sort of story, just battling, but the card mechanics are easily deep enough that a story is pretty unnecessary (esp. since it would’ve prob. been pretty flimsy anyway).
so how did i fare? well, perhaps unsurprisingly, the game sucked away huge amounts of time. i spent way too much time obsessing over my deck as i battled my way through the computer opponents, and before too long i was making my way through the game fairly respectably. i was enjoying the card mechanics for the most part, and overall the presentation feels very polished with good use of the DS touch screen and good artwork, including all of the card artwork and 3D models for all of the monsters (although the menus feel very GBA era).
but as i played more and more, the game’s shortcomings became increasingly apparent. the main problem i had was that the game’s built-in progression of difficulty is designed so that you’re always at a significant disadvantage. to explain: your deck of cards in the game is derived from a pool of cards that you get to start with, plus cards you “buy” in the game. the game is designed so that you only have access to more powerful cards after you beat all six opponents in a particular tier five times each. the enemies are ranked as levels 1-6, and the higher tiers are only unlocked one at a time. this would all be fine, and at the first level the difficulty is challenging but manageable, but then at the second level i just got fed up with the fact that the computer opponents always have more powerful cards than you b/c they have cards that aren’t available to you. even the good cards that are available to you to buy are hard to get, b/c the “rare”, “super rare”, and “ultra rare” cards require you to buy tons of useless cards (which come in packs of 6) in the hopes that you’ll get one really good one. of course this baseball cards-like setup is how the game works in the real world and it’s how the company makes so much money (although of course in the real world the “advanced” cards aren’t grouped separately and aren’t off-limits to beginners), but as a video game mechanic the elements of surprise and chance in buying cards just don’t outweigh the frustration of how slow it is to build up a decent deck that will get you through the game.
well, that was quite a rant. after spending so much time playing the game, though, i was disappointed in how it came up short since there was so much in its favor. ah well. i’ll definitely be picking this up again at some point to play through it some more, but all in all my yu-gi-oh! obsession ended up being fairly short-lived. which is just as well, b/c i can just imagine how much dough some people spend buying those cards!
if ya need some yu-gi links:
– gamefaqs has a load of essential FAQ’s, in particular a guide to all the cards with their text and the list of cards available in each series of packs. there’s also this FAQ which covers limited and theme duels, two modes which were mildly entertaining but which i didn’t find myself getting into much.
– game entry at yugioh.wikia.com
– entry at wikipedia and a list of all yu-gi-oh! video games
– list of unlockables at gamespot
– this game piqued my interest in magic: the gathering, although there don’t seem to be that many video games of it. this video on youtube of the finals of the san diego pro tour is kind of entertaining.