It's time to duel! Now that I've got that out of my system, on with the review.
Forget about the Yu-Gi-Oh! Anime for a minute as we look at a turn based strategy game based around the Yu-Gi-Oh! License and trust me, this is a fun game once you get into it.
Why not just take out guns and shoot them?
The games story takes place in old England where you 'duel' against characters from the Anime series with slightly different names but who look pretty much the same anyway. In most cases for "rose cards" collect all 9 and you fight a final duel against a boss with some really strong cards. Depending on whom you side with at the start Yugi or Seto Kaiba you'll choose between three decks of duel monsters cards. I ended up with a bunch of bug and plant cards in my deck and it does add a bit of comic value to the game watching a wasp take out a dinosaur with one attack. You can also build two more decks if you want.
It's also a good idea to make sure you've got a good Deck Master that can increase the power of some of your monster cards; for instance the default Flower Deck Leader Fairy King Truesdale makes plant type monsters stronger while he is face up as a normal card but this is in effect all of the time when he is a deck master.
Pick a card, any card
On the graphics side of things the models are nice and smooth but the colours and backgrounds look like they've taken a PS1 game and used the PS2 texture enhancement on them.
All of the battles take place in 3D battle animations. Unfortunately the novelty of watching said battles take place wears off pretty quickly as watching the same animations over and over gets fairly repetitive so you'll find yourself turning the animated battles off after a few days. You'll also notice some fill rate slow down in the battles from too many explosions on the screen at once. The Battles take place over several terrain types each favoring different types of monster e.g.: Forest favors bug and plant types. At the end of each battle you'll get a slot machine thing this is where you pick up some new cards, get three of the same in row and you get a stronger card like a Summoned Skull.
The game's also got a nice play modes as well as the standard story mode; Custom duel lets you pick a terrain type, The harder the terrain layout the better the cards in the slot machine at the end of the duel. Trade mode lets you trade cards with a friends memory card. Well that's all the game modes.
When you kill a monster they fall down to the 'eye thing' they were floating over. It's some what funny watching a dinosaur float over a giant gold eye thing and fall down after you watch a bug kill it, so anyway they fall down and blue stuff appears out of nowhere. Yeah, makes perfect sense to me too.
The graphics certainly don't make full use of the PS2 hardware but they still do the job. The World map is pretty good looking, well it looks like a world map with animated (gold?) water and little icons on the land where the other duelists you can play against are located.
When you select a duelist to play against you go through a short exchange of words with said duelist and start a duel.
The story animations are just 2D animations with subtitles pretty much like a dating sim, but like any other strategy game the story is just here to hold the game together. As for the sound the music isn't that great mostly repetitive midi sounding music while the sound effects are pretty good.