'Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution' Review: It's Time To Duel
To get this out of the way, I'm an old school Yu-Gi-Oh! fan. Bring me a Red Eyes Black Dragon, Pot of Greed or Rigeki any day of the week. When I was a kid you could always find me chilling out with the crew in the schoolyard, playing card games, never working too hard; but classic Yu-Gi-Oh! never taught us this - Xyz, Pendulum and Link summons - now I gotta learn 'em, hit or miss.
I totally get summoning, special summoning, sacrificing, polymerisation and so on - I even know all about the Elemental and Destiny Heroes. All of those, happy days. The issue is, as soon as it all became CARD GAMES ON MOTORCYCLES, I peaced out.
Not just from the anime, but the card game itself.
So here I am now, playing Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution, a far cry from the days of Forbidden Memories on the PS1. I've got some hard times, tough climbs, and in this review we're gonna take them on together.
Okay now that's out of my system, it's time to du-du-du- do the review. Yes, as many of you will have realised, this is an updated version of Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist, which released back in 2015, complete with all the DLC and updated rule-set. It was a full-blown simulator of the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game, that also followed the narrative and duels seen in the original anime.
Not just the classic arc that follows Yugi Mutou, but every generation since - GX, 5D's Zexal, Arc-V and more. But this new release includes the story and fights from VRAINS and with it the associated Link Monsters and "Extra Monster Zones".
There's also an absolutely massive amount of cards in the game - apparently over 10,000 -
and I can't even begin to imagine the weirdly complex coding that's needed to balance and understand the effects and chains associated with every available card combination.
For hardcore fans of the TCG and anime, this is perfect Yu-Gi-Oh! game - but those coming in from the outside, or even returning to the franchise after a long while away, will find the new rules and dynamic ways of summons exceptionally jarring at first. The tutorials do their best to help, but even then the descriptions are so complex (not surprising, if you've ever tried to understand some of the poorly phrased card effects) that a lot of the instructions will just go over the heads of newcomers.
Also, a quick niggle: if you're thinking of placing a tricky little trap card down in preparation for something bigger in the match, or one that's mostly powerless and is only there to dissuade the opponent from commanding an attack, think twice. Every time any event happens - even transitioning between your opponent's draw phase and them actually drawing a card - a notification will pop on screen asking you if you'd like to activate said trap card. Obviously it makes sense to give every available option to the player, but it's incredibly irritating and breaks the flow of the game when you have to close a pop-up every time your opponent does absolutely anything.
There was probably a much more effective way of handling this, but it's not a game destroyer - Yu-Gi-Oh! is still Yu-Gi-Oh!, and it's still as fun and challenging as you remember.
In fact, at times, I'd say it can be very bloody challenging. Even the early duels in each campaign can really beat you up if the cards don't fall in your favour - which happens often when using a story deck you yourself haven't built. But, thankfully, you can build your own deck.
Using the Card Shop you can buy themed booster packs based on every opponent you've defeated, which contain random cards associated with that character. Thankfully, these packs don't cost real money and are purchased using an in-game currency earned from just progressing in the game. You love to see it!
Of course, online multiplayer exists if you want to be absolutely destroyed by those who live and breathe the card game. But for many I can imagine just reliving the duels from their favourite episodes will be enough to feel all nostalgic for the franchise, and make even the most estranged fan believe in the heart of the cards again.
Other than a few issues here and there - incredibly small text being one, which I beg be patched in the future to allow for scaling - Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution is the pinnacle of all the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG video games. It's one that honours each generation in a way that will make fans from across all eras of the franchise feel warmly welcome - if also sometimes a tad overwhelmed.
7/10: Very Good
Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution was tested using PlayStation 4 code supplied by Konami. The game is out now, and is also available on Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC (Steam). Read a guide to our review scores here.