Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal World Duel Carnival – Review
Remember the time that Yu-Gi-Oh! was one of the most popular series in school? Even now the series continues to grow for the better or the worst, with tons of people competitively playing against one another, aiming to bring their opponents to zero life points. The times has come for the Nintendo 3DS to have its own installment in the famous franchise!
In World Duel Carnival you have the option between Free Duels and Story Mode. In the Story Mode, you choose one of the 12 popular characters in the fourth season of the show Zexal. In the beginning you’ll have the option to play as either the main character Yuma, or his rivals Reginal and Kite. Later you’ll also unlock character like Astral or Tori.
With each of these characters, you’ll participate in the preliminary round of a tournament called the World Duel Carnival, organized by the minds of Mr Heartland and Dr Faker. They organized this event in order to get a hold on all of the unique Number Cards, each in the possession of different people. This events allows the gathering of all these unique cards in one place. The aim is for you to gather up to three heart pieces by clearing all the event duels available in order to get your own invite to the World Duel Carnival and entering the tournament.
The graphics aren’t really this game’s main focus, but it does everthing nicely. Since this game is card-game oriented, you’ll mostly see menu screens that have a slick design to them. The characters each have their own unique design, just like in the TV show. In comparison to previous World Championship games for the DS, the monsters of each card do not appear with their 3D model, which is rather disappointing, but it doesn’t really change much.
While playing a duel, you’ll listen to a couple of songs on the background that changes depending on the situation. Each song is pleasant to listen to, giving more atmosphere to each duel. The sound effects are also well done. If you watched the show, you’ll hear that lots of effects come back in the game, giving a real Yu-Gi-Oh feel to it.
The gameplay is the core of this game. If you are familiar with the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise, you’ll know probably everthing you’ll need to know. You choose either Story Mode or Free Duel Mode. As explained before, in the Story Mode you’ll play as one of the 12 main characters from the Zexal Series and climb your way to an invite to the World Duel Carnival. After a couple of normal duels against any of the 40+ opponents, an event duel will appear. If you beat this event duel, you’ll be given a heart piece, of which you’ll need 3. Instead of using your own deck, you’ll be using the decks from the characters themself, each having at least 3 different duelist recipes available. In this mode not all cards in the game are available, only those that go along that certain character.
In the Free Duel mode, you’ll play as yourself against any of the 40+ opponents available in the game, so dueling against all kinds of duelists is possible. You’ll immediately have 3 copies of every card in the game, going up to the Shadow Specters booster set. However, this kind of ruins the fun that was available in the previous DS games. Winning or losing a duel doesn’t give you some kind of reward, like the Duelist Points in the previous installments. Having no such thing means that you cannot buy booster packs, and doesn’t really motivate you to have a lot of duels.
In the beginning of the game, you’ll be asked if you have experience in Yu-Gi-Oh! or not. You can choose between either beginner, intermediate or expert. If you are a beginner, you’ll be taught the basic rules of the card game, so if you are not familiar, you might just want to try it out first. The duels overall feel really nicely done, with the opponents not having the need to think for long, which is a big improvement from the last few World Championship games.
Aside from these two modes, there isn’t much else to do. Puzzle challenges are missing from the previous games, which is kind of a bummer. However you’ll have the option to chose between tons of different card sleeves and play mats, so that does make duels a bit more pleasant, but since these are instantly available it doesn’t function as a collection hunt.
The game lacks quite a lot of content in comparison to the previous installments. Having no real meaning to winning a duel, makes the game look rather stale. The lack of booster pack openings is also kind of a bummer. However, the game looks and sounds really nice. There are tons of different opponents to fight, and the booster set support isn’t that far behind. Playing with your favorite deck is always fun and the games allows you to try out older, other decks that you might never have used before.