When I was growing up I lived and breathed two things: Yu-Gi-Oh! and Pokémon. I'd watch cartoons, collect the cards, and — in Pokémon's case — play the video games. Yu-Gi-Oh! never really had a great video game I could go to. At least not one that could replace my physical deck of cards. The Pokémon video game and card game are completely different, whereas Yu-Gi-Oh! is mostly the same experience no matter how you play it.
I haven't collected Yu-Gi-Oh! cards in several years, and haven't watched the show in even longer. I dropped off around the middle of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's, so I'm a little unfamiliar with the new series and ruleset. Still, it'll always hold a special place in my heart. Getting to experience the series again with Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution was a treat. It's an incredible way to revisit my childhood without spending thousands and thousands on new Yu-Gi-Oh! cards (shamefully, I have probably spent well over $1,000 on my collection in real life).
Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution What I like
If you're a hardcore Yu-Gi-Oh! fan, there is a lot to love here. It features over 150 iconic battles across several generations of Yu-Gi-Oh!, with 10,000 cards at your disposal (many of which need to be unlocked first). It's every kid's dream for anyone who grew up watching the show and collecting the cards.
If you're a hardcore Yu-Gi-Oh! fan, there is a lot to love here.
While you need to play the duels in a specific series chronologically and can't skip around until you beat the previous opponent, you can choose between each series without needing to completely beat the previous one. Should you get tired of the original series, you can jump right on ahead to Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal, Arc-V or VRAINS. The first match in each series is a tutorial match that is impossible to lose as it's predetermined which cards you and your opponent will draw. The game then walks you through the duel by telling you which cards to play and explains the rules that you'll need to know.
Those who want to take a spin and duel as the villain can do so in reverse duels. This essentially adds double the amount of content to the game because you're using an entirely different deck of cards. You'll need to strategize differently and no two duels will ever play the same way.
By participating in duels, you'll win Duel Points that can be redeemed for new cards. Collecting cards is a huge element to any Yu-Gi-Oh! game, whether it be digital or physical. Opening up the packs and seeing which cards you've received scratches that itch of opening up a loot box without actually needing to spend any money. There are no microtransactions in Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution.
Once you have these cards, you're also free to customize your deck as you see fit — though you need to have a minimum of 40 and maximum of 60 cards per deck, not accounting for any extra cards like Fusion or Xyz monsters. One of my favorite things to do as a kid was build my own deck from scratch, and I still have several of them to this day. In Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution, you're limited to 32 different decks that can be saved at any one time.
Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution also supports local and online multiplayer in ranked or random matches. Because I had an early code for the game before it's release, I couldn't effectively test its multiplayer servers.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution What I don't like
Link Evolution is an updated version of Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist that was released in 2015. It adds, like the name implies, Link Monster cards along with an increased roster and about another 2,000 or so cards. On paper, this seems like a lot. In practice, it doesn't make for a drastically different game. More is always better in this regard, I just don't think it changes the game enough — though I realize there's only so much you can change a Yu-Gi-Oh! game while retaining the series' core mechanics.
When I used legacy decks — the same that were used in the show during specific battles — instead of my own custom deck, it was frustrating to see so many repeating cards. It can be useful to have double of one card or another, but most of the time I found that it hurt me rather than helped me. I could draw a card and realize it was the exact same useless spell card that's already in my hand and that doesn't do anything in the situation I'm in.
This is a bit of a double-edged sword, but I also don't think it can replace the feeling of using physical cards. I know this can be said for any simulator, and people decry how sports games aren't a replacement for playing the actual sport — and that's true — but Yu-Gi-Oh!'s a bit of a special case. The video game and card game in real life are nearly identical. What you lose when playing a video game is that personal interaction with another person, and no, multiplayer does not make up for this. At the same time, it being a video game and giving players access to several thousand cards makes it so much more accessible.
Should you buy Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution? Probably not
I know what you're thinking. "But you gave it such a good score, why not buy it?" I did give it a good score because it's a good game. That doesn't change the fact that nothing substantial was added from Legacy of the Duelist, and you're probably better off buying that instead since it's much cheaper.
For those who only want the best game possible, however, Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution is for you. It does an incredible job at recreating the experience and taking players through the shows' storylines. Collecting cards is as satisfying as ever, and the game is sure to keep you occupied for a while.
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