The Switch summons its very first Yu-Gi-Oh! game with Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution chronicling all of the various anime series into one experience. Play as Jaden, Yusei, and the King of Games himself, Yugi Muto, and more by unlocking new characters and cards to create the ultimate deck.
As someone who watched Yu-Gi-Oh! religiously until the end of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s there is a lot I know about the card game and a lot more that I don’t know. Thankfully this game gives you the option of playing through any of the anime’s storylines in any order you choose. If you only care about the first series of Duel Monsters then you can choose to stay there and build the ultimate deck with the cards that you remember.
I played through the first storyline, which I hate to say is a bit bland – not the story itself but the game’s execution of it. When you choose one of the six Yu-Gi-Oh! series to begin a playthrough you are immediately prompted to a robot that reads a history book about each of the famous duels from the anime. Then you’ll read a few text boxes between the characters and start the duel. It was a bit boring and a little bland without any animated cutscenes or voice acting especially considering the game is $40.
Playing through the story mode will unlock battle points, new cards, and other goodies. Battle points can be spent on new cards and decks so playing through the story mode first is recommended if you’re looking to collect rare and useful cards quickly. After winning a match like Yugi vs. Kaiba you unlock the ability to play as the other character. This adds loads of replayability to the game and it’s lots of fun to see how a duel would’ve turned out if the other character had won.
If you’re just picking up the game for the story and are not interested in deck building the game gives you the opportunity to use a character’s deck from the particular time in the anime. It was great using Yugi’s legendary Exodia deck or Jaden’s Elemental Heroes deck almost exactly the same as it was in the anime.
The actual duels themselves are where the game shines. After playing the mobile game Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links for about three years I almost forgot how to duel properly and how much longer a real duel takes. Thankfully the game has plenty of tutorials to refresh your memory on how to Synchro Summon or how to chain card effects. Still, with thousands of cards at your disposal it’s up to you to figure out which strategies work best and learn popular strategies of opponents.
The flow of duels can be a little slow and will take some time getting used to for players who don’t remember all the rules or certain cards’ effects. Thankfully the user interface is really simple and easy to understand. Even in handheld the texts for the cards are easy to read and I never had to strain my eyes to read what a particular card effect does.
Fans will be happy to know that there are no microtransactions and all of the cards can be purchased with in-game currency. You can earn Battle Points through story duels and online ranked matches. The online matches themselves were altogether fairly smooth even over a weak internet connection like mine. The Switch version has the ability to local play, which is very nice as I’m excited to play with some of my friends who picked up the game as well.
The only aspect I would say needs some improvement would be the monster summoning animations and story line. I know a lot of people are picking up this game to refresh themselves on the various parts of the anime series and all the wonderful monsters along with it. It’s a bit of a shame that the story doesn’t offer any voice acting or animated visuals. Only a few cards will get an animated intro if summoned by their corresponding master like Kaiba summoning his Blue Eyes White Dragon and even these are lackluster.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Spirit Links offers a robust dueling experience for fans that’s heavy on deck customization and fundamentals, while a bit lacking in story and presentation. It’s sure to please fans of the more than 20-year old franchise whether you’ve been with it since Duel Monsters or VRAINS. The sheer amount of cards that can be collected (with no microtransaction) is absolutely amazing. Your move!
Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy Of The Duelist: Link Evolution Review
- Graphics - 7/107/10
- Sound - 7/107/10
- Gameplay - 9/109/10
- Lasting Appeal - 9/109/10
Final Thoughts: GREAT
The Heart of the Cards is with this one. Fans of the long running Yu-Gi-Oh! series won’t be disappointed as all the cards are here. It’s time to duel!