When I sat down to play Yu-Gi-Oh Zexal: Duel Carnival (To which i’ll refer to as simply Duel Carnival, throughout this review), I was hit with a sense of nostalgia which I haven’t felt in an awfully long time, a pleasant experience which jogged my memories of the tireless days and nights I spent playing Yu-Gi-Oh games on the GBA and the PS1, but more importantly, of the TCG itself which I spent too much money on to even contemplate.
Duel Carnival felt very reminiscent of the older games in the series, before it all got a bit too fussy and over-complicated for what it were. I’m not saying Duel Carnival is exactly like the older games in the franchise, with these XYZ evolutions and a few complicated trap cards, but it certainly feels a lot closer to the original game than some of the newer games that have been released.
Duel Carnival has a plot which feels quite similar to that of the older games/anime, where a big dueling tournament is being held in an area, and you wager your stars in duels, in order to collect 3 and head to the grand finals. Very similar to the system in the original anime, where in the duelist kingdom, Yugi and friends had to wager their star-chips in order to collect enough to enter Pegasus’ castle. This was the first time the game made me feel properly nostalgic, and I loved it.
The dialogue between characters and the art of the character’s themselves was pretty cool but may as well have been played on 2d, something that I’ll touch on later in the article. Anyway, as the plot progresses we learn of these numbers hunters, who are hunting down our protagonist in order to obtain his ‘number’?! (And in the process, send him to the shadow realm and steal his soul).
The music was good, very 8-bit-stereo kind of beats, with a tuneful, repetitive melody playing over and over again, which you can feel buzzing around your head even when you stop playing the game. The thing I suppose I’d loved most about this game was it’s simplicity, although it did let it down in some places, however the music, the main storyline, the dueling system itself, was all very simple and easy to just pick up and play after several years of not really venturing into the franchise. This is why I’d recommend Duel Carnival not only to fans who are still heavily into Yu-Gi-Oh but also to those who are looking for the right time to come back into the series, as I did myself.
One of the main negatives about this game is that the main story itself is much too short, after you complete it, yes you can play it with other characters, but there really isn’t much difference to the first time you play. If you come into it as a cultured TCG player, even on the top difficulty, you will find it pretty easy to complete within a few hours. This is disappointing as I enjoyed the game a lot, but I could’ve enjoyed it even more if the story was a bit longer, a bit more fleshed out and a bit more of a challenge.
Referring to the point I made earlier, this game hardly used the 3D function of the 3DS, which was disappointing as I would have loved to see the epic battle cutscenes we saw in Forbidden Memories for the PS1 in 3D.
Watching your monsters attack the other with all their might, destroying the other into a billion pieces. That would’ve been nice but at the end of the day, sometimes we don’t get all our wishes in games and I’m really not going to criticize the game because of my own nostalgic needs and wants.
To conclude, Duel Carnival is a refreshing entry to the Yu-Gi-Oh game series, which brings the new cards and fusions of the newer anime/TCG to the fun, style and plot of the old-school Yu-Gi-Oh games on the GBA and PS1.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo 3DS code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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