I gotta hand it to kids today. They’re a lot smarter than what we think they are. Case in point: I’ve been reviewing several Yu-Gi-Oh games over the years. It’s a popular long running trading card game by Konami. And even after all this time, I still can’t wrap my head around the complex rules of the game. But kids can pick it up seemingly easily! I’m also impressed with how long the card game has been around. It’s been like, what, about ten years? Wow! Anyway, the latest game based on the trading cards is a downloadable 360 and PS3 title called Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s Decade Duels Plus (PS3 version reviewed here).
In the single player game, you compete in tournaments against the CPU. From what I remember it doesn’t look like the rules have changed. When you start playing, they give you an option to view a visual tutorial of how to play. But it’s separated into 17 different chapters. So needless to say, I’m not going to explain how to play the card game in this review. Just know that it’s more complicated than Magic: The Gathering. At least that’s what my Yu-Gi-Oh champ brother Jeff says anyway.
Aside from the single player mode, you can also play online with up to four other duelists. The game features more than 2,000 cards from all the card series. You can choose different modes and decks, and even customize your own rules. Use voice or text chat while playing online, and download more cards via PSN or Xbox LIVE.
Only problem with the game is that it’s very basic visually. This could’ve been easily done on the Game Boy Advance. No monster animations or voices at all. Plus, even though there are extensive tutorials, I had no idea what I was doing while playing. But my Yu-Gi-Oh brother Jeff was able to jump right in and win the first two matches easily. So it’s best enjoyed by Yu-Gi-Oh experts who already know how to play the game and will not mind the no-frills approach.
Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s Decade Duels Plus is rated E-10 with ESRB descriptors of Suggestive Themes and Mild Fantasy Violence. I really don’t see how this game is violent. Cards can whittle down hit points of other monsters and players, but you don’t see any kind of interaction at all. Maybe some of the cards have slightly suggestive characters on them, but I don’t think it’s that bad at all. Really the best reason why this game is better for older kids is the high level of reading skill and complex gameplay involved.