reviews\ Apr 26, 2005 at 8:00 pm

Yu-Gi-Oh! Online: DUEL EVOLUTION - PC - Review

And even more Yu-Gi-Oh! for those who didn't get quite enough fun with Yu-Gi-Oh! 7 Trials to Glory: World Championship Tournament 2005!  Of course, being the best duelist doesn't mean a whole lot when you're just playing by yourself all the time, glory isn't meant to be solitary.

Konami has recently launched an online version of the popular Yu-Gi-Oh! card game, where duelists can match decks and see who's really the best. After a simple download and sign-on process, users can immediately log into the lobby and find duels, or begin their own. The lobbies are sorted by rank, and there are currently only two beginner lobbies in each language area with mostly novice ranked players. The novice ranking simply means the players haven't played many games online yet, more than a ranking of their overall skill. The skill rankings will be more relevant the longer the site is open, as obviously more games played will add to the win/loss points. Once the user's rank is higher, he/she will be able to play with higher level decks.

Rather than a monthly flat fee, users will buy "Duelpass points", for example, $15 will add 150 Duelpass points to a player's points, enabling them to play 150 duels. Duels can be played either as single duels, or in rounds of three, which constitutes a Match. Matches are won when players either win 2 duels, or have 1 win and 2 draws. So, if playing games as matches, the $15 150 duelpass works out to about a couple of games a day for a month. This 150 duelpass also comes with 5 additional cards.

Each player receives a starter deck on signup, which they can sort with a handy online sorting tool. This tool allows cards to be selected with various criteria of sorting by monsters, attack/defense, magic, etc. This online version of Yu-Gi-Oh has a pleasing appearance, with a large screen display. The artwork of the cards looks great, but the close-ups are still hard to read, with the text being a little blurry. The music may appeal to some, but doesn't do much for me.

As usual at Konami, it is assumed that players already know how to play Yu-Gi-Oh. There is minimal help for newcomers to the game, besides a link to the official game rules. I'm pretty much a novice player, as my experience with the traditional card version of Yu-Gi-Oh is mostly through watching younger family members play each other. An online tutorial coupled with single-player play would have been extremely helpful. However, most players who will play Yu-Gi-Oh! Online will undoubtedly be experts. For those new to the game, watching several matches first will probably be a good idea before jumping in. Of course, players should be upfront about their experience before dueling with anyone.

I was impressed with the ease of use at the site and the nice appearance of the cards and the menus. The navigation could be a little more streamlined between the lobbies, but mostly everything works like it should. There are very strict rules on acceptable behavior, the effectiveness of which will remain to be seen, as the site is still so new. Overall, I was impressed and believe it's a worthwhile investment of time and money for fans of Yu-Gi-Oh!, especially for those who can't get anyone local to play with them very often.

Review Scoring Details for GAME NAME

Gameplay: 7
The game plays at a fairly fast pace, and it's easy to pick a duel and join in. Just like the card game!

Graphics: 8 
Everything looks great, but the text on the cards is a trifle blurry.

Sound: 6
I found the music annoying.

Difficulty: Medium
It plays exactly like the real card game. However, there is not much help for novices.

Concept: 7 
A good idea to put this popular game online, with chat and email capabilities. Graphically pleasing, and easy to navigate for the most part.

Multiplayer: 7
It's fun to play with people from all over, and the design makes doing so problem free.

Overall: 7.5
A good deal for the money, which can be as little or as much as needed, as it's designed on games actually played, not a monthly fee. It's the real game, with nothing hokey added. Fans should be pleased overall.


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