about a year ago i played through a decent amount of yu-gi-oh! world championship 2007 (as recounted here). at that time i set the game aside because i got fed up with how long it took to build up a decent deck. to quickly recap, the game requires you to duel to earn duel points (DP) which you then use to buy packs of cards, but since you’re limited to only 1 rare, super rare, or “ultra” rare card per pack, many of which aren’t even that useful, it takes ages to develop a deck that contains a decent amount of the better cards.
this time around i passed a threshold and finally my deck had enough of these better cards, so much so that duels were significantly easier to win than before, even against the computer-controlled opponents at the higher level i had reached. but perhaps unsurprisingly, as my percentage of good cards increased and the difficulty of the duels decreased, the game’s interest started to wane for me. it became apparent to me that the game was significantly less deep than i had originally thought: duels seem to be less about strategy and building up decks that have a lot of cards supporting each other (e.g. “elemental hero” cards) and more about just having good individual cards. maybe at higher levels still or against human players the strategy becomes more important, but as it is once i got to this point i didn’t have much motivation to continue.
this time around i did end up exploring a bit more of the other modes. i had enough breadth of cards that i felt up to tackling the limited duels (e.g. limiting your deck to only dark monsters, or no trap cards in your deck), and those provided entertaining-enough diversions. still didn’t bother with the “theme” duels, though, (e.g. win after fusion summoning at least five times) as most of the themes just seemed pointless.
i also tried out the online matches, an area i hadn’t spent much time on before. i quickly ran into the problem that is so pervasive in online games in general, namely people who drop out as soon as it becomes clear they’re going to lose. this was extremely frustrating, especially since the game doesn’t include any sort of punishment for people who drop out. your ranking only increases based on winning online matches, and my partners were ill-matched anyway since i kept getting matched with newbies who dropped out and there wasn’t any way to increase my rank by playing more dedicated players (although the game does have an option to be matched with someone with a random rank, i still ended up being paired with newbies the few times i tried it).
one of the interesting features of the online mode is that you can get a list of the top-ranked players in the country and the world and download a copy of their decks, and then play against that deck on your own. this provided some interesting games, although i inadvertently discovered that you win duel points based on the rank of your opponent, even when playing him/her as a ghost. this turned out to be a big surprise because i played the ghost of the highest-ranking player in the world, and perhaps because of poor AI i beat him easily and suddenly found myself with thousands of DPs. this made buying packs of cards in the game trivially easy, but once i realized i could get pretty much whatever rare cards i wanted and thus fill my deck with the best cards, the game completely lost any sense of balance it had (which was already in short supply as it was). that ended up being the last straw for me, and for now i’ve put the game aside indefinitely. it’s too bad that the game didn’t have better pacing and more strategy, but i enjoyed the time i spent enough that i’d be willing to try out another game in the series. i don’t expect there to be any differences in the gameplay, but i’m somewhat interested in seeing if the pacing is any better. i doubt it will be, but i have a copy of the next game in the series, yu-gi-oh! world championship 2008, so i’ll try it out eventually. i’m leery of the fact that there are 2000+ unique cards in that game, compared to ~1640 in this game, since even in this game the majority of the cards felt fairly useless, but we’ll see.
you need yu-gi links!
– i actually don’t have any links to add to my original list in my original post on the game here. but the two essential FAQs are still these two from gamefaqs: guide to all the cards with their text and the list of cards available in each series of packs.