Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel is actually a good time?

Confession time! I like Yu-Gi-Oh! and the new game Master Duel has actually been quite the fun little title to play on the side.

Yu-Gi-Oh! is a kind of OK card game, or it certainly used to be — and I don’t know about you guys, but I personally loved the anime growing up. The original season with Yugi, Joey, and Kaiba was so much fun every episode, and even the GX series that followed on from that was good too. 

I started to lose interest as the series kept going on and on, but I would still have moments of relapse. I’m making it sound like a problem by using the word “relapse” — and that’s because it very much was a problem.

Each time I would delve back into the game I would come face-to-face with its newly evolved state, and good Lord, the game of Yu-Gi-Oh! has become something that moves at absurd speeds. I’ll dive into the game more throughout this piece, so let’s get into the specifics of Master Duel. 

Yugioh Master Duel

My history with Yu-Gi-Oh!

I mentioned I enjoyed the show and played the game growing up, and I think it’s that part of me who loved it so much when I was younger that keeps on bringing me back to it every now and then to take a peek. Wanting to recapture those feelings you had as a kid, you know? We’ve all been there. 

When I was growing up, every summer during the school holidays my mum would take me and my brother to this summer camp where she used to work. It would be a day-long thing and we would play sports all day and watch movies — but the biggest thing that happened there to my young self was Yu-Gi-Oh! This sounds stupid, but every other kid who went to this summer camp played Yu-Gi-Oh!, and it was incredible. 

So, it’s fair to say I had a very fun Yu-Gi-Oh!-filled youth. People would constantly be playing against each other, helping build decks — and some of the really crazy ones that took it seriously would duel with actual stakes: the winner would take their vanquished opponent’s best card. It was fun as hell, the game was awesome, the cards were cool, and it wasn’t too complicated — it was just fun. 

Fast forward to today, and the game has gotten to the point where players are busting out numerous monsters in the first turn of the game. Monsters you used to consider big badass bosses are now complete jobbers in comparison to the shit you see now. I played against someone using an Exodia deck the other day, and he beat me in the first turn — I literally didn’t get to play. (Sounds super-fun!! – Ed.)

Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel

Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel

Despite my gripes with what has become of the physical card game itself, the video game Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel is actually pretty damn good! I’m not a fan of giving Konami any positive feedback, but if I’m being honest the game is definitely a great way to play Yu-Gi-Oh! in a way that makes a lot more sense than some other options that are available. 

I mentioned that Yu-Gi-Oh! got a hell of a lot faster as the years went on, but alongside this we saw the addition of numerous new types of cards, with each of these cards having different “spell speeds” and whatnot. Remember when all you had were monster cards, spell cards and trap cards? Well, now there are Synchro monsters, XYZ monsters, Link Monsters, counter traps, hand traps… there are so many more cards in the game now that playing in real life and keeping on top of everything just seems absurd.

Master Duel works so well because it doesn’t leave you to do all the work. Often, it’ll prompt you about cards you have in your hand that would be a suitable reaction to what is going on, and ask you if you want to play them. This makes the game as a whole feel way less complex, and considerably more enjoyable as a result. It makes the game feel more streamlined and easier to understand — great for newbies and lapsed veterans alike — and it overall makes the game feel much simpler to play, which is great! 

So there we have it; a game that makes Yu-Gi-Oh! much more enjoyable to play, much more simple to pick up and understand, and which is super-easy to jump in and out of.

It’s also free, and while it does have some of the same problems as a gacha game — you get tons of resources when you start out, then end up fighting for your life later one — it does actually have some nice systems to help you acquire the specific cards you might have your eye on.

The main problems with Master Duel all come back to the game of Yu-Gi-Oh! itself. The game has been alive for arguably too long now, and we’ve gotten to the point where certain decks and archetypes completely outclass others. Losing or winning within one turn — or, as described above, before one player even has a chance to do anything — is pretty common nowadays. So yeah… Good job on Master Duel; too bad Yu-Gi-Oh! itself is cursed!

Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel is available now for PlayStation platforms, Xbox everything, PC via Steam, Nintendo Switch, iOS devices and Android devices.

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Conor Evans
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