I’ve always been of the opinion that Yu-Gi-Oh is the most difficult collectible card game to understand and play compared to its two big competitors, Magic: The Gathering and Pokemon.
That’s why my enthusiasm for Yu-Gi-Oh Master Duel was so palpable. He was looking to be the MTG Arena or Pokemon Online’s equivalent for the game, meaning accessibility would no longer be an issue.
Does Yu-Gi-Oh Master Duel do enough to take someone with very little gaming experience or franchise familiarity and make them a long-term player?
Taking care of beginners
Yu-Gi-Oh Master Duel does a pretty good job of introducing its gameplay mechanics and features to a new audience. It’s not perfect, and maybe a little too much stretched at times, but definitely aimed at players with very little TCG experience.
The early stages of the game are best spent in single-player mode which will teach you all the little nuances you’ll need before playing online.
It will probably take you a few hours to figure it all out and decide what style of play you want to adopt. The biggest mistake anyone can make with a TCG is jumping the gun assuming you’re just going to pick things up as you go, that’s almost never the case!
Try the challenge
Once you are ready to increase the difficulty involved in Yu-Gi-Oh Master Duel, there are plenty of opportunities to do so. You can either ditch pre-built decks in favor of building your own to take it online, or just try to throw the gauntlet in ranked game modes.
There will also be limited time events with brilliant rewards up for grabs. Even better, you can also directly challenge your friends online to test your deck’s synergy and strategy. If you don’t like the casual side of things, Master Duel makes sure you’re taken care of.
The perfect economy
A feature that blows pokemon online and MTG Arena far is the economy of Yu-Gi-Oh Master Duel. The other two games are heavily monetized, with Arena being by far the worst offender. With Master Duel, there are practically without reason spend your hard-earned cash on cards or cosmetics because of how easy it is to earn gems.
Gem currency is distributed in spades and it almost sounds too good to be true. Perhaps as the game progresses things will be balanced to reduce the number of gems given out or increase the price of items in the shop, but that would be a strange decision to make.
beauty in battle
As for how Yu-Gi-Oh battles translate to Master Duel, the visuals are incredible. Even the smallest details have been considered and whether it’s the choice of battlefields, cosmetics, pets or combat animation, everything works so well to create a complete experience.
This is another department where other games probably fail, perhaps thinking the visual aspect isn’t as important, but Master Duel shows that it can really add to the overall experience and create moments of pure satisfaction and you chain combos, summon special monsters and deliver the final blow to your opponent.
All in all, Yu-Gi-Oh Master Duel is a great platformer that should help take the game to new heights. Despite launching out of nowhere, the game has attracted an incredible number of players across all platforms and this is aided by the cross-play and cross-progression features.
As long as Master Duel will not dethrone Magic: The Gathering As my favorite TCG, seeing how successful they have been with this persistent online hub, I’m filled with hope that it will drive change in its competitors.
RealSport rating 4.5 stars (out of 5)
Yu-Gi-Oh Master Duel is free on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch and Mobile.