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SummaryNice try, but sadly not what the card-game deserves
The GoodI have been searching for a good Yu-Gi-Oh game for quite a few years now, often stumbling on something mildly decent, but ultimately lacking in quality. World Championship 2007 met quite a few of my criteria though:
There are a lot of cards and almost all of them were the real playing-cards from the card-game and anime. This is a very basic criteria, people who'd play this game, play it because they want to play the actual card-game with the cards they know, but without the hassle and costs that surrounds buying card-packages and maintaining a proper deck. I saw quite a few cards that I didn't recognize and that might have been made up just for this game, but I couldn't find a single card that I owned in real-life that wasn't in this game.
One of the biggest visual-problems with most Yu-Gi-Oh games was the lack of, well, visuals. You'd see the cards, that much is true, but the most awesome part of the show was the visual-representations of the monsters that were called to life. Calling cards to life is probably another big reason that somebody would want a videogame instead of a card-game, so you'd be surprised how many Yu-Gi-Oh games are just plain cards with the images on them. Not only do the cards come to live in this game though, but they also have short animation loops that keep them moving, a small touch, but a nice one.
In this game you receive money when you beat an opponent and that money you can spend on changing your avatar or, more importantly, upgrading your deck. I especially like how close to real-life the shop-system is in this game is. You can select a certain collection of cards (Dark Magician set, Blue Eyes White Dragon set, etc.) and then select a number of random card-packages. When you finish your purchase, you get a number of random cards that you can then add to your deck. I like the random touch here, it's much more better than picking which cards you want yourself and keeps the game more challenging.
If you are not too confident in your own deck-assembling-skills than there is still hope for you. Unlike some other versions of this card-game that I have played, this one actually starts you off with a very balanced deck. You always have the monsters you need for specific spell-cards and fusions, there is a fusion-card present and you got a good balance of traps, spells and monsters of various levels.
Finally, and this is the most important criteria, the game allows you to play against other players, as well as against computer-controlled AI. Many version of this card-game only have AI-matches, which I personally find madness. The whole appeal of playing a card-game is beating your best friends and family (like that smart-ass cousin of yours!) at a game of pure strategy and skill. Why would you take out the feature that allows that? Not here though, if you are lucky enough to find somebody who owns this game too, the both of you can go one-on-one anytime you want!
On a side-note: the game also expands the original game-board with some new fields. There is a separate deck for fusion cards, which is very convenient because normally I wouldn't use fusions as they require you to have up to five cards in your hand at the same time. There is also a separate field for area cards, which was also pretty sweet because normally area cards would take up a slot on the spell/trap-card fields.
The BadOkay, let's go through this in the order that I ran into these problems myself:
After booting the game I decided to try out the tutorial, so that I could refresh my memory of the rules. About an hour later I was close to committing suicide. Why you ask? Well because throughout the entire tutorial the game would play the same, obnoxious theme song. Same goes for the matches and menus, there are a handful of themes that are looped ENDLESSLY. Worst of all: none of these songs match the game it's about. Yu-Gi-Oh was a series about a dangerous card-game, players would often have to put their lives on the line and the cards were rumored to have been used in Egyptian wars. With that in mind: why are all the songs generic and cheerful?
After the tutorial I decided to take a look at my deck and get started with customizing it (removing cards that didn't fit my favorite strategies), but this proved to be more challenging than any duel the game contains. The interface is HORRIBLE and I am not even exaggerating. There is no description for any of the windows, you are supposed to figure out what each window is all on your own. Pop-up menus occasionally refuse to come out and it's not very well explained what all the options do.
Okay, so I gave up on that for a while and tried my hand at some of the duels. I picked the easiest opponent that the game provided and got started, I made my first move and waited for the opponent to react to it. Reacting he did, but what he did was impossible to make out. The opponents are lightning-fast, they make their moves as fast as the game can process and it gives you no time to keep up. If they activate a trap-card, you are not given any time to read the exact effect of the trap and it just happens to you. Part of the joy of the card-game is playing against different players and learn from their strategies, but if they move this fast, there is nothing to learn and you just feel cheated and helpless.
Another problem with the AI is that most of them use a strategy I call "tactic-spamming". This strategy means that the player has a deck that is constructed entirely around one monster, one that is immensely strong and hard to beat. To achieve this, the player usually has many copies of the cards that are required to summon this monster. The use of this tactic is very rare because in a realistic situation it would be very hard to gather so many copies of the same cards, but yet these opponents seem to be doing a pretty good job at it. It's also very annoying because it renders most tactics useless, why kill that strong monster when he probably has the requirements to summon him ready again?
There is also no option to modify the rules of the duels, which is a bit annoying. One of the standard rules that bothered me was the one that made one of the losing-conditions "Running out of cards in your deck". It doesn't sound too bad, but in a friendly competition it would be usual to shuffle the graveyard if a player runs out of cards. This rule gives an unfair advantage to players who stuff their decks to the maximum, as they will always win from somebody who has a small, but well-crafted deck. I wanted to turn it off, but sadly there is no way to do such a thing.
After playing this game for a while, I managed to beat all 6 of the opponents that were available to me. I wanted to move on after that, but the game wouldn't give me any new people to duel and I have no idea why. I beat all of my opponents, yet my rank is still 0. Normally I'd guess that it had something to do with me playing Free Duels instead of something like "Official Duels", but there is no official mode. Are there only six enemies to fight? Well that sucks.
The Bottom LineYu-Gi-Oh! World Championship 2007 hit it off really well: it contained the official card-game, with the official rules and the official cards, it even had visual representations of the monsters, AWESOME! However, as I continued playing one issue after another just started stacking up on me, until finally I collapsed and found myself been really sad. A good Yu-Gi-Oh game is bound to be somewhere out there and this one seemed to be it, but sloppy and unprofessional design ultimately killed it for me. If you know a good version of this card-game, then please contact me, I'd be most grateful.
I am not really sure who to recommend this game to: The anime has disappeared ages ago to my knowledge, so it's probably not a fresh hype for the kids anymore. I think there are still tournaments been held in Japan and the States, so if you're a fan, then this might be mildly interesting to you. However, I imagine the rushed look this game has will turn off most of those people.