Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution is a great companion to the Trading Card Game and is essential for anyone who enjoys the franchise.
I don’t think it’s much of a secret that I love the Yu-Gi-Oh! series. Like a lot of kids growing up in the early 2000s, I played the card game and watched the original series when I was young. Despite getting out of it for a few years of my life, the series has remained near and dear to my heart, so much so that I still have a real-life Ancient Gear deck to this day (although I don’t use it much now).
So when a new Yu-Gi-Oh! series or game comes out, I’m typically all in, and Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution was no exception. For the most part, I got exactly what I was expecting out of this game and despite me wanting a smidge more content, Link Evolution is not only a worthy follow-up to the original 2016 game but something that all Yu-Gi-Oh! fans should check out.
Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution allows players to experience basically each and every Yu-Gi-Oh! anime series from beginning to end (some filler duels, episodes, and characters are left out, but these aren’t anything important, to say the least). Each series includes cutscenes and text, but no voice acting, just like the original game. When Link Evolution was first announced, I was honestly hoping that maybe, just maybe, they would include voice acting in this game. We know it can be done because the Duel Links team was able to get almost all of the original actors to come back for the mobile game. But alas, there’s no voice acting included, which was a bit of a bummer, but casual players and some hardcore fans may not even mind.
One series that doesn’t even get the cutscene and text treatment, however, is Yu-Gi-Oh! Vrains, the latest series in the franchise. This was something that the original game did with ARC-V and I’m still not a fan of it here. Again, like the voice acting complaint, it isn’t a huge deal, but I feel like it would have been nice to have. On top of that, we only get three Vrains duels in total and one of them is a tutorial. Am I surprised? No, considering it’s what the other game did, but it’s still worthy of a complaint. I’m hoping that Konami decides to add more duels in as time goes on (and based on an interview with us a couple of months back, they just might do that).
Briefly going back to the previously mentioned ARC-V, one of my biggest positives about Link Evolution is that the fifth series finally gets the “full-series” treatment, meaning (almost) every duel from the show is included, alongside cutscenes, both of which were absent in the original game. In my opinion, ARC-V is one of the best Yu-Gi-Oh! series, with a fun and interesting cast of characters, as well as an incredibly engaging story, so seeing it in the game was much appreciated, so much so that that ended up being the first series that I completed.
Once players beat each character in each story, they can unlock challenge decks. These aren’t duels that can (usually) be beaten in one go like the story duels. These decks are much more advanced than most of what’s used in the anime and can be seriously tough to beat. These include decks used in the current Yu-Gi-Oh! metagame, including Burning Abyss, Subterrors, and more. While these names might not mean much to the casual player, card game players should appreciate the fact that they won’t have to go online in order to face some challenging decks. On top of that, the challenge duels offer better cards as rewards, which encourages more play from casual players. In fact, sometimes these duels can be the only way you can get certain cards, so you’ll definitely want to spend some time running through each deck.
On top of both single-player modes, the game also includes online play. There’s nothing too complicated about this. The decks that players can use in the single-player campaign and challenge duels can also be used in the game’s online mode. There’s not exactly a lot of risk or reward in this mode. Players don’t lose anything if they lose and they don’t win anything if they win, so it’s mostly for bragging rights. Still, besides being able to only find a few people online, the online play worked well, with no crashes or stuttering. Although, given the fact that it’s a card game, I would have been shocked by either.
Two other modes worth mentioning is the Battle Pack Draft and Sealed Play. In Sealed Play, players spend 2000 of their in-game points to build a deck instantly out of 10 five-card packs. Draft Play is similar, but in that version, players get to choose which cards they want from the five-card packs. Honestly, I didn’t play these modes much, mostly because I prefer making my own decks based around specific archetypes rather than having decks built from one specific pack. Still, it’s certainly interesting and can help you get out of your comfort zone by forcing you to not rely on specific archetypes. So if that sounds like your thing, rest assured it’s here for you.
The amount of cards in Link Evolution is both positive and somewhat of a negative. With 9000 cards in the game, there are plenty of decks that can be made. Right now, I have two decks that I’ve been using the most (Ancient Gears and Prank-Kids) and I have plenty more already planned out in my head. Cards can be found in story duels, challenge duels, and character booster packs and, frankly, they aren’t hard to get. It just becomes a lot of grinding, which can be frustrating at times, but it’s definitely better than a microtransaction system, so I can’t complain too much.
While that all seems positive, one, possibly unreasonable, negative that I have is that it’s not completely up to date with the current card game. Currently, it only goes up to around November of 2018, which means anything that was released after that point is not in the game. Is it unreasonable to want a completely up-to-date card game? That’s frankly for you to decide, but finding out that a card you need to complete your deck isn’t in the game can be very frustrating. As I said before, I’m hoping that Konami decides to add more cards and duels into the game, even as DLC, as time goes on.
Nothing really shocked me or surprised me when it came to Link Evolution, but that certainly doesn’t mean that it’s a bad game by any stretch. In fact, it’s quite a great one. If you’re not a Yu-Gi-Oh! fan, I’m not sure if you should pick this up. It’s not really made for those too unfamiliar with the property, which is fine. That being said, if you enjoyed Yu-Gi-Oh! in any capacity in your life, Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution is an essential pick-up. I know I’ll be playing it for months to come.