Review by Devilzoa

Reviewed: 05/23/05

Well, at least it's not last year's...

-Introduction-

First of all, let me just say that I'm a casual fan of Yu-Gi-Oh, so this isn't anti-Yu-Gi-Oh propaganda.

The Yu-Gi-Oh GBA games were good for a while. Actually, I only played Eternal Duelist Soul, but it was a good game, the glitches didn't come up often, (at least for me) and it was generally solid, aside from the occasionally suspect AI. I never played World Wide Edition, but I was told it was the best of the GBA games.

But then, the series took a nosedive when they released World Championship Tournament 2004. The cheating AI and brain-throbbingly slow pace detracted so much from the experience that I couldn't take playing it for more than five minutes in one sitting.

After that debacle, Konami released World Championship Tournament 2005. (Which will hereafter be referred to as WCT2005) Can this game make up for the horrible game of last year? Read on to find out.

-Gameplay-

Because explaining the actual rules of the card game would make this review drag on for quite a while, and if you're reading this, you probably have a rough idea of how the game works, I'm not going to bother with that.

This game plays similar to a GBA Yu-Gi-Oh game called Sacred Cards, though it's a much better game. For those of you who haven't played Sacred Cards, I will elaborate.

Unlike other Yu-Gi-Oh games, such as EDS, WWE, or WCT2004, you actually get to walk around the city Yugi and his compatriots inhabit, and challenge most of the characters from the first two story arcs of the anime. There's also a bunch of no-named players you can duel, but they all have horrible decks and are mostly good as cannon fodder.

Now, winning duels grants you DP, which is used to buy booster packs from the card shop to improve your deck. Periodically, you can buy extra decks, which are generally packed with commons and a few good cards, such as Pot of Greed and Dark Hole. As opposed to last year's game, which could only store three decks, this game allows you to have up to twenty. Quite an improvement.

In addition to that, there's several different tournaments of increasing challenge, and the game boasts about 800 cards total. So, assuming you don't tire, you'll be spending loads of hours collecting all the cards and doing everything possible in the game. There's a bit of depth to be had in deck customization, as well.

Unlike past Yu-Gi-Oh games such as Dark Duel Stories and the aforementioned Sacred Cards, this game follows the actual card game rules, which means you won't see Kuriboh killing Blue-Eyes White Dragon all by itself.

I have to say, the most enjoyment I got out of the game was the "Beat This Scenario" segments, where you have to deplete all your opponent's Life Points in one turn. Some of the later ones had me scratching my head and staring blankly at the screen in futility, and I salute it for that.

When you actually sit down and play the game, you'll find that the glitches are rare (but they DO exist) and the AI is much better than last year's, in that it won't sacrifice 2300-ATK monsters for 1550-ATK ones, and doesn't just pack in three copies of cards that are normally restricted to one in an attempt to simulate challenge. Konami actually tried this time.

Unfortunately, the game falls flat on its face after a while.

For one, once you duel for a while, you'll realize that all the opponents play with very similar decks, most of which just focus solely on offense, with cards like Magic Jammer and Trap Hole tossed in randomly for no apparent reason. Also, many of the characters use decks that don't suit them at all. A good example of this is Weevil, who plays an insect deck on the show, and uses a deck with pretty much no strategy at all in this game. That's really just nitpicking, but EDS did a good job of mimicking the characters' decks and still giving them a bit of challenge.

Certain characters keep their themes or use non-agressive decks, but the vast majority plays the exact same legion of 1900 beatstick monsters, and this really makes the game grow boring after a while.

Another huge flaw is the Ban List. You see, certain cards are limited to one or two per deck, and certain cards can't be used at all. This list changes every "week" in the game, making you constantly reformat your deck. While this sounds good in theory, it shuts down in execution.

The game frequently bans cards that are integral to almost any deck, and aren't cheap in the slightest, such as Pot of Greed. This quickly grows tedious, as you'll have to maintain a few "filler" cards to use in the event that other cards you use become banned or restricted. (That's what I did, anyway.) And then you'll have to extract the banned cards from your deck, go back to the spare card list, and wait the most agonizing minute of your life while the game sorts the cards out. Then you'll have to add those cards in, and make sure you aren't leaving any space unfilled in your deck. This is even more tedious than it sounds, as certain characters and events happen on certain "days" in the game, and you'll have to run through the week quickly, consistently reformatting your deck.

Another thing that makes the ban list annoying is that it often restricts cards like Raigeki while banning the inferior counterparts to these cards, such as Dark Hole. The monsters Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning, and Chaos Emperor Dragon - Envoy of the End are almost ALWAYS banned, and this completely destroys the Chaos archetype.

Also, the game sometimes bans or restricts cards that aren't on the list in real life, such as Mataza the Zapper (which isn't cheap in the least) and Limiter Removal, which, if banned or restricted, severely weakens the Machine deck archetype. I play a Machine deck, and was annoyed to discover that Limiter Removal NEVER drops past restrictions, while you're free to have three in your deck in the real life game.

Another thing irksome about the game is the utter lack of cards. It supposedly goes up to the "Invasion of Chaos" expansion, as it's called in the real life game, but it skips loads of cards along the way, removing roughly half of the "Legacy of Darkness", "Pharaonic Guardian", "Dark Crisis" and "Magician's Force" expansions, in addition to removing lots of cards from "Invasion of Chaos". This obliterates the Gravekeeper, Guardian, and Zombie deck types, plus some other, less-used types it would take loads of time to go into.

Also, the Warrior deck is generally unchanged by the lack of cards in the game. Warrior Chaos is one of the stronger archetypes in real life, and this game basically tells everyone to go play Warrior Chaos. (Or at least Warrior, since Black Luster Soldier is banned almost all the time.)

Token-generating cards are also absent. This just confuses me, as EDS was able to pull off tokens.

And, ANY card that utilizes Spell Counters is cut from the game. This means no Breaker the Magical Warrior, which is easily one of the best monsters in the game. If you're lucky, you MAY be able to produce a slightly weaker approximation of the deck you use in real life.

The game took away almost all the types I was comfortable with using, so I relied on playing a Burn-Stall deck most of the game. Burn-Stall is nearly invincible in WCT2005, as your opponent packs no magic/trap destroying cards except in very rare cases, and so the challenge of the game was almost nonexistant.

Also, when you're scrolling through the card list, it's difficult to see which cards are restricted and banned. They flash blue and red, respectively, but you'd never notice it unless you stop there for a second, wait for it to flash, and move on.

Hitting A on the cards to see what they do consumes one precious second of your life. Two seconds if the card has a long description. Annoying.

Speaking of annoying, if you have a trap card set, the game will prompt you at EVERY opportunity, asking you if you want to activate it. It's always done this, and it's always been annoying, but the control is very sluggish, so it takes a while to close. There's an option where you can set when you want to activate the cards, but I couldn't seem to get used to doing that.

And on the rock-paper-scissors game used to decide who goes first, it really takes a while for the game to notice what you chose. I know I'm being nitpicky here, but it really bugged me, so I felt like mentioning it.

Eventually, you'll get the ability to bypass the ban list and play however many cards on that list as you want. However, the only opponents you can play in that format ALWAYS pack three of Raigeki, Dark Hole, and Mirror Force, three normally restricted or banned cards that totally nuke the field, so you're forced to re-tune your deck, AGAIN, to be able to match these cheats. One character usually wins on the first or second turn in that format.

In summary, the farther you progress, the more irritating the game becomes.

Gameplay: 4/10.

-Controls-

The control is VERY unresponsive. I had to hit B about three times just to get the game to select "Cancel". Highly annoying and time consuming. The character you control moves slowly as well, and there's no run button. Your character is bad at turning, scrolling down on the menus takes an eternity, and the controls are generally just bad. I'm not sure how else to put that without getting censored.

Controls: 2/10

-Story-

No story whatsoever. You walk around and duel people, that's it. But then, this is a game based on a card game, so no one really cares about story in the first place. If you're expecting Xenogears, don't buy this game.

Story: NA/10

-Graphics-

Adequate at best. The portraits are nice, and the sprites and backgrounds are pretty good, but the duel field (which you'll be seeing most often) looks very unattractive. It's just a black screen with outlines where the cards go. The color of the screen doesn't even change if a field card is played.

The card illustrations look just like the real thing, but the names never fit completely on the cards.

Also, I really hate the font this game uses. It's very thin, and the white color often blends into the backgrounds, forcing me to have to look close to read it.

Graphics: 6/10

-Sound-

The music in this game is forgettable. Literally. I can't even remember one song, even after I've played the game a minute ago. I know the GBA's sound isn't known for its quality, but I would like to at least remember a little bit of it. ...Actually, scratch that, I wouldn't.

The sounds are just beeps and crashes and the like. Nothing special.

I listened to music of my own choosing from my trusty CD player almost the whole game, so that should probably clue you in to the fact that this game is shoddy in the audio department.

Sound: 3/10

-Playing and Replaying-

If you have the dedication, this game can take weeks, or even months, to finish perfectly. The card list, while a bit lacking, is rather expansive, and there's loads of tournaments and "Beat This Scenario" puzzles for you to solve.

But, there is NO replayability. After you do everything possible, you have no reason to give it a second go. Unless you want to go through collecting all the cards again, but I doubt anyone would be patient enough for that.

Game Length: 9/10

Replay Value: 2/10

-Buy or Rent?-

It takes too long to beat solely by rental, and it's not worth dropping $30 for, unless you plan on selling the promos and then returning the game. I'd suggest leaving it on the shelf unless you're really dying for the promotional cards within. (By the way, one of the promos is absolute garbage, and two of them are only good in specialized decks. But they're still better than last year's.)

Score Tally:

Gameplay: 4/10
Controls: 2/10
Story: NA/10
Graphics: 6/10
Sound: 3/10
Game Length: 9/10
Replay Value: 2/10

Overall Score: 4/10 (Not an average)

In closing, I'd just like to say, if you had a choice between this game and year's, and fire wasn't an option, get this one. It's bad, but it's not QUITE as horrible.

Rating:   2.0 - Poor

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