First, I'm going to give you a little backstory between myself and the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise. If you want to skip that, go down to the next paragraph. Anyway, I've played Yu-Gi-Oh! for years. I played the actual card game with my girlfriend/wife and friends, many of the video game adaptations and even considered being an official judge at one point. However, the game and I decided to see other people after awhile. More TV series came and went, more games came and went and new card types and rules were added.
Then Legacy of the Duelist released, and I saw it had campaigns for each of the TV shows. I would be able to play with the cards I like and know how to use, but could also start to play around with all the new types that have been added in the last decade. So I started with the original Yu-Gi-Oh! story and fought the first battle against Seto Kaiba.
Strangely, I lost that one. I either forgot when a certain card could activate, or they changed it, and I was defenseless at a key point in the match. I fought him again and won. I decided to see if I had enough cards to make my own deck. I did, and set about making a custom deck closer to my own. I then plowed through the rest of the Yu-Gi-Oh! cast. Yes! This is how I remember playing the game.
While it is a nice touch that you can play with each character's story deck, everyone who watches the show knows their decks are pretty bad. Not only that, but without knowing every card that is in it, I wasn't sure what cards I hoped to get to switch my fortunes around. Thankfully you aren't restricted to the "historic" decks, and can use your own. For the story battles, no cards are banned, so you can put some old favorites in your deck. However, so can the computer, so you can easily stumble upon multiple Pot of Greeds, Exodia pieces, and other banned/limited cards.
The first duel of each campaign is a tutorial on how the game works, which is really nice for past players like myself. You learn how the new types work in each show they were introduced in, and playing through the story helps you understand how to use them and strategies to make them effective. Or, to show how ridiculous they can be (pendulum summons in particular). It can be trial by fire, even with a good deck, but it will help you learn the ins and outs of being an effective duelist and even catering your deck to combat certain strategies.
Once you have bested an opponent, it unlocks the reverse duel, so you can play as the other side and duel the person you previously controlled. These are really cool. Beside adding more duels to do, it is a fun challenge to win with the deck that lost, even though it might be far superior to the historical victor. The final series in the game, Arc-V, has only a single battle, which is basically to introduce Pendulum Summoning. Supposedly the rest is to be included as DLC, since the series is still airing in Japan. This would annoy me more, but there are plenty of other duels and many of the newer cards are in the game, so the story being excluded doesn't sting too much.
While no cards are banned for campaign and single player, online is a little more balanced. Cards in the trunk/deck will be marked with the appropriate markings of being banned or limited to 1 or 2 of the same card. It was also easy to get into online games and play with my friends. An online lobby so you could have multiple people and watch others play would be nice, though. I'm not sure how many people would get use out of it, but my buddies and I would have used it. Being a turn-based game, if there was any lag it wasn't perceptible.
Cards are won from dueling a person (you get signature cards from their deck) or buying card booster packs with the in-game points you earn for playing. There are a lot of packs to buy from, which must be unlocked during each campaign. It's also not very obvious what you will get from each pack, as they seem very loosely themed. Thankfully the community is pooling together and figure out what card is in what pack. With so many cards in the game, it can be a chore to find the ones you want. I'm also a little sad the old password system is gone. I have no idea when it disappeared, and I likely just dated myself by mentioning it. It was a cool idea.
Of course, as fun as the game can be, I would be remiss if I didn't point out the few problems I have with the game. There are a lot of cards, and they have to fit so many on the screen so you can see them. This makes the pictures hard to make out, as I and others have had trouble seeing pictures of cards that are instantly recognizable, and even the text can be hard to see (on the card and on the screen). It's the price to pay for having so much on the screen at once, but it sure does strain my eyes. There are a few signature monsters that appear onscreen when you attack with them, but they don't look that great. I'd put them about PS2 level graphics. It's not horrible, but with so few, I wonder why they even bothered. Plus, as a personal gripe, there is no special scene when you summon Exodia. They bothered to put a trophy/achievement for it, but no special scene? What?
Also, with so many cards, they needed a way to filter the list so you can find what you want. They have a decent selection of filters, but they really needed a "new" one so you can quickly find any new cards you got. With how often I would get a card I wanted, only to have to scroll down to its alphabetical name to slowly find it, I would easily appreciate a "new" filter. Also within the filters they give, I would love a way to quickly move down or up, like maybe have a button that will shift to the next letter in "name", or the next card type in "card border". Anything to make sorting through the massive card list easier and quicker. (EDIT: There actually is a function like this, but you have to hold the L2 Button and then use the D-Pad to move up and down. Thanks to Marcus Shadow for pointing it out to me.)
As a returning player, I very much enjoyed Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist. It was worth it for me to play through the classic campaign, collecting cards I used to use and even learning a few new ones. Fans of the other series should enjoy it as well. The tutorials are decent at helping people learn the game and the different card and summon types. "Old folks" like myself should beware the new cards, as they can be very brok-- I mean powerful. Still, it reminded me how much fun I had playing Yu-Gi-Oh! years ago.
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