This Game Should Be Dealt With
It’s Yu-Gi-Oh all over again, and over and over and over. Fortunately, it’s never the same game twice. This version features more than 4,000 cards, translating to incalculable combinations, or at least incalculable for me since I’d rather spend my time playing the game than mathematically determining odds. But there is always some calculating required in a Yu-Gi-Oh game, and 5D’s Duel Transer is no exception. There’s a great deal of luck involved, to be sure, but there’s also plenty of strategy to implement.
Along with thousand of cards Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s Duel Transer features more than twenty characters, exclusive packs of cards, and online play. The game is incredibly accessible. There’s an instructional narrative running through the game explaining the basic rules of play. According to one of the characters at the beginning of the Story mode, the only rule is to make it to the top floor of the tower. Of course this a card game, and that means it thrives on rules. Trust me, there’s more than just one rule in this game.
If you’re new to the whole Yu-Gi-Oh world, it’s beyond the scope of this review to give you a comprehensive understanding. Suffice to say this version will help you out with some text-based tutoring. As notoriously challenging as the single-player mode has been in past games, it’s been programmed to play fair this time around. Things do ramp up later, but it’s refreshing to become immersed with the new features of this game while earning some confidence at the outset.
To give you a basic understanding of the concept of the gameplay, Yu-Gi-Oh is played like a board game. The object of the game is to get your character through the path that is littered with enemies and pitfalls. The main component in the game is cards. These cards control virtually every element in the game. They give your character new abilities, weapons, attacks, defenses, healing, and the ability to summon powerful monsters to unleash on your enemy. Cards can also be combined to create new and more potent hybrids. Knowing what card to play at any given time is a matter of luck and strategy, and more often than not a combination of the two.
In Duel Transer, the objective is to reach the goal panel at the end of the board, with various panels arranged in a honeycomb formation. In order to move you have to spin the roulette wheel to receive points. If you land on a panel with a duelist, you may be engaged to fight as your opponent may want to add you to his or her collection. Winning a battle results in a form of currency called Duelist Points that can be used to purchase new packs of cards and recipes. You will also receive such items randomly by landing on a specific panel.
When challenged to a fight, you’ll be whisked to the battle arena. It consists of another board, not unlike a chessboard but with fewer squares. Here the cards come into play. You’ll begin with a deck of five cards, with the ability to draw more cards into play as required. Battles are turn-based, with each player determining the best way to play the cards. Collecting cards in Yu-Gi-Oh is always important since you want to literally stack the deck in your favor. Beginning with a starter deck, you’re at the mercy of the CPU, but as I mentioned, it plays fair, allowing you to earn a good amount of points early on. You’ll also find more rare cards early in the game, allowing you to start a favorable collection almost immediately.
Accessing menus is easy, as most of this game is played by such actions. You’ll constantly be opening windows, checking boxes, and reading text. There’s very little voiceover work, and that’s a little disappointing. I would expect that in a DS version, but not for the Wii. The cards are easy to read and understand. You’ll instantly know what they are capable of, but the results will vary depending on your opponent’s defenses. Although it makes use of the remote and Nunchuk as controllers, a few buttons and a D-pad are all that’s required to play this game.
The Story mode has a decent amount of depth to it. You get to know the characters well, even though they are largely one-dimensional. It’s interesting to watch the story unfold as it informs you of your upcoming challenges. There’s an online mode where you can play single matches against another Yu-Gi-Oh enthusiast. The games are muted, but they’re a nice change from playing against the CPU. Humans do tend to make mistakes, and that’s a variable you don’t get too often in the single-player mode.
Another disappointment is the lack of animation. The characters’ images move left to right like they’re being dragged by a magnet. Their mouths will move once or twice and spit out a few text-based sentences. It looks cheap, but then again, I believe the word anime is Japanese for crappy cartoon. The battles are a tad more exciting. There are some good sound effects to embellish the occasional visual explosion and special attack. I do realize this is a card game, and the lack of animation does in no way detract from the gameplay, but would it have killed the developers to make an effort to include some imaginative cutscenes and some exciting battle graphics?
I did really like the music, although it is generic. It’s not distracting, and that’s important for concentration. Nor does it sound repetitive, although it is. Fortunately the gameplay changes scenes often so you don’t get sick of any particular element.
Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s Duel Transer doesn’t set the bar too high for the series, but it’s unlikely future games can improve the gameplay. But better production values such as voiceovers and animation should be a prerequisite for the next game, because after all this is a video game, not a card game.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 2.2 Graphics
Graphics fit for a cell phone. 3.0 Control
Menus are easy to navigate, but there’s not much else to access. 3.2 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Music is cool, somewhat subdued. Few voiceovers. 4.5 Play Value
Lots of card combinations. Solid Yu-Gi-Oh gameplay. 3.8 Overall Rating – Good
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
|Review Rating Legend|
|0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid||2.5 – 2.9 = Average||3.5 – 3.9 = Good||4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy|
|2.0 – 2.4 = Poor||3.0 – 3.4 = Fair||4.0 – 4.4 = Great||5.0 = The Best|