Yu-Gi-Oh! Power of Chaos: Joey the Passion – PC – Review

Ah, Yu-Gi-Oh, thief of my
wallet, taker upper of all of the Mini-Bearer’s free time, host of seemingly
endless card tournaments, and bane of this father’s existence.  I am trapped in
a Yu-Gi-Oh world, with no hope for escape until the Mini-Bearer discovers that
girls really are more fun.  Actually, it’s really not all that bad and I
actually have fun dueling with the Mini-Bearer and helping him collect the
cards, but there is no denying the ways that this phenomenon has infiltrated my
family’s lives.  I shudder to imagine just how much money I’ve shelled out on
all things Yu-Gi-Oh.  From what probably numbers over a thousand booster packs,
every last starter deck and tin, all five pieces of Exodia, the
one-hundred-dollar Japan only God cards, duel disks, not only for Mini-Bearer,
but also for any friends that come over because there is just no way to duel
without that monstrosity/medieval weapon strapped to rambunctious ten-year-old’s
forearm, action figures of all shapes and sizes, the various board and
videogames, comforter, curtains, DVD’s, aaaaahhhhhhh!  That’s not even taking
into account the time and money spent traveling to tournaments where the
Mini-Bearer has gained the moniker of the Yu-Gi Assassin (he’s ruthless, toying
with opponents by purposely allowing them to hang around in the matches until he
gets bored).  Only once in my lifetime have I ever seen any other child-centric
phenomenon get so ridiculously HUGE and far reaching, and that was Pokemon.  And
what is most amazing about this phenomenon is that it is based around an
extremely complicated card game with an encyclopedia sized instruction manual
and the kids are actually capable of not only deciphering it, but also massively
enjoying it.  However, the collecting of cards can be a very expensive hobby,
especially if you’re trying to purchase the most effective cards for tournament
play and this is where the mostly stellar videogames come into play.  Kids can
know the joy of wielding the most powerful of cards through the games without
investing anything but time after the initial purchase price.  The videogames
are also great tools for teaching the game and perfecting real world
strategies.  Unfortunately, JTP is a bit of a step backwards for the series,
offering a mixed bag when compared to the best games in the series.

Probably the very first
thing gamers should know about JTP is that unlike the other games, you have one
single opponent to duel in the game, Joey.  JTP’s focus appears to be mostly on
teaching the game and exploiting a handful of fairly effective strategies, of
which it does do an admirable job.  However, the strategies the game offers are
strategies even the most inexperienced game player will pick up by playing the
card game a minimum amount of time.  In order to teach the game and the
strategies, the game does have a very robust tutorial that would be great for
beginners or for parents who simply want to know a little more about the robber
of their children’s time.  In all honesty, if I’d had this game back when I was
trying to learn the game, I would’ve picked it up much quicker with a much
better grasp, but unfortunately this is where the benefits and positives of the
game ends.

Beyond the tutorial, you
have the option to challenge Joey to either a single duel or a match duel.  The
single duel is a single game, while the match duel represents the real world
tournament style of play, in that you play a best of three series.  You begin
the game with the smallest deck allowable by the rules, forty cards.  The cards
that make up your initial deck form a pretty well balanced roster, making it
possible to employ various strategies, but the problem is, Joey is playing with
a virtually identical deck.  Needless to say, in a short amount of time you are
going to become intimately aware with this roster of cards, as well as every
conceivable strategy possible with your combination of cards.  Joey represents a
decent challenge in the early going and proves to be a good teacher for said
strategies, but needless to say, after a handful of matches the challenge
steadily declines, especially when you begin to beat him with regularity.  When
you defeat Joey, you win a single card from his deck in a single duel and three
cards for match duel.  At that rate, it becomes very time intensive to build a
better deck with the most powerful/desirable cards, which is worsened by the
fact that when you begin to acquire these cards, you will not need them because
you will have already become proficient at laying a whooping on Joey.  Unlike
most of the previous Yu-Gi-Oh videogames, there is no real benefit in gaining
the most powerful cards because you are constantly dueling the same old Joey,
employing the same old strategies, with the same old cards.

Screen Shot for Yu-Gi-Oh! Power of Chaos: Joey the Passion

Graphically, the game
does exactly what it should and that’s providing an accurate representation of
the act of dueling and the cards.  The cards are skillfully recreated in the
game, looking exactly like their real world counterparts.  The cards will be
instantly recognizable to any duelist, which is all you can ask for.  In a
videogame portraying a card game, one cannot expect fancy graphical effects and
technological feats.  But then again, for anyone even remotely familiar with
this world knows that the cards featuring some pretty detailed artwork and the
fact that they’ve accurately rendered them all deserves some props.

The sound in the game is
also pretty bare.  The music is neither memorable, nor grating; it’s just kind
of there.  The real voice actor that voices Joey on the television show provides
Joey’s voice for the game, which is a nice touch, but there’s just not much
dialog.  Beyond these things, there’s just not much to comment on.  You get the
obligatory sound of cards being shuffled and dealt and that’s just about it.

The game does offer a
two-player game, but even this is flawed.  If you want to duel against a friend
the only way to do it is across a LAN line, but that is it.  I suppose I can see
why they did this because there’s no way that two people could play each in
split screen with both players being able to see each other’s hands, but I just
can’t envision too many scenarios where kids will be able to duel friends under
this set-up.  An online component would seem to have been a natural and very
welcome option, but for whatever reason, it wasn’t included.

Finally, my last
complaint, which is also my biggest.  JTP is part of a series of three games and
like the Game Boy Pokemon games, if you ever hope to have access to all of the
cards available, you must own all three games.  This is one aspect that has been
thankfully absent from the Yu-Gi-Oh games up to this point and I sure hope this
isn’t a sign of things to come.  Granted this is a budget title, but rather than
making kids and parents shell out for three games that are virtually identical
in order to have access to all of the cards, why not release them as one game at
a normal price?  I just think that when developers do this, the message that
they’re sending isn’t real good.

Overall, while it’s based
on a great and very popular license, this game can only be recommended for
absolute beginners.  For gamers that have played the other Yu-Gi-Oh games, there
is just not enough here to warrant a purchase.  It does a great job of teaching
the game to those who have no idea what they’re about to get themselves into,
but that’s it.  It would have certainly been helped greatly by having more
duelists to battle, but including only one would have been unforgivable if the
teaching aspect weren’t so good.  With that said, the game does come with three
pretty good cards, which may be enough reason for purchase from veterans as long
as they understand that this game has little in common with the other games in
the series.

Scoring Details

for Yu-Gi-Oh: Power of Chaos: Joey the Passion

Gameplay: 5.0
Konami’s previous Yu-Gi-Oh games (save for Duelist of the Rose) they had
absolutely nailed everything that fans of the series love about the game. 
Numerous, progressively harder duelists with which to battle populate the other
games making it challenging and fun.  Unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot of
fun to be had dueling the same character over and over and over.  The tutorial
is informative and in depth, but this is the best that it has to offer.

Graphics: 7.0 
The cards from
the real world game are accurately recreated here in the game.  The cards look
great, which is definitely a good thing since they’re what you are going to be
looking at the majority of the time.

Sound: 5.0
Aside from the
shuffling of cards, a little bit of music, and the real voice behind Joey,
there’s not much hear to listen to.

Difficulty: Easy
While I can see
where things would be challenging for newbies at the beginning, there is little
to no chance that it’ll stay that way for even the most inept of gamers.

Concept: 4.5
With Konami’s
expertise and proficiency in creating compelling, accurate representations of
their own card game, this game comes off as more than a little disappointing. 
If they had included the gameplay structure of their previous games with this
game’s excellent tutorial, then this would have definitely been an excellent
addition to the franchise.  But as it stands, there is absolutely nothing here
for anyone that’s played the other games, because if they have played them, then
they don’t need what little is offered here, outside of the cards that come with
the game.

Multiplayer: 5.0

player games are only possible with two LAN line connected computers. ‘Nuff

Overall: 5.0
The only people
that this game could be recommended to, in good conscience, is the absolute
beginner, or parents who want to understand their kids’ interest.  However, with
numerous excellent games from the license already on the market, most would be
better served by purchasing one of them.  You may not learn the game as easily
with one of them, but you will learn the game through trial and error, plus
you’ll have a compelling and fun game that offers a much fuller experience when
you’re done.  The cards that come packed in are good cards exclusive to the
game, which may be the best reason for purchase.