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Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s: Reverse of Arcadia

There are two parties who will play Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s: Reverse of Arcadia (RoA). The obvious, are people who already enjoy playing this decade old trading card game. The latter will be those curious enough to play for the first time. Like the six former DS titles Yu-Gi-Oh!’s fun and strategic gameplay shines throughout RoA. Those wanting a shake-up on formula will be disappointed because RoAis just another updated repeat. Both parties will get what they came for. But only the newer members to the Yu-Gi family will truly feel the value of having thousands of cards available at your finger tips.

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Following on from Yu-Gi-Oh! Stardust Accelerator, you’re introduced to a futurist backdrop featuring motorcycle racing and turbo duels. Anyone who watches (or reads) Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s will be familiar with RoA’s locale, with the anime directly providing the setting of the game. You play as an amnesiac card dueller, a common trait between recent Yu-Gi-Oh! games. The Story Mode is a predictable affair of exploring and battling opponents while your memory returns. Turbo Duels involve players controlling motorcycles around stadium tracks, merging the traditional card game with real-time racing. It’s more interesting than past experiences thanks to new obstacles and extra cards to use during these events. Ultimately however, it’s still gimmicky at best. Between advancing the plot with these races and card duels, light puzzle solving is included to mix things up. It’s very reminiscent of 2009’s Stardust Accelerator, right down to the blocky 3D visuals of the PlayStation era. The overall single player package is clearly aimed at fans of the anime, and successfully provides decent fan service. For the majority it will be a side distraction from the multiplayer content. Again like former titles, it’s separated into a World Championship segment.

You can duel a variety of computer controlled opponents here, tinker with creating a deck or shop for more cards. Opening a virtual blister pack of cards is just as thrilling here as in real life, as you gather more options to construct that killer deck. With just under 4000 cards in total, the biggest update with RoA is the card roster. It’s quite the collection, and for the entry price of a DS game, you have nearly the entire catalog of Yu-Gi-Oh! cards. I say nearly, because there are still many sets not included, but price wise, you’ll save a bundle. It’s more than enough for new players, and the regulars will be pleased with the new additions. A staple of 5D’s universe are Synchro Monsters which are special cards that combine together under the right circumstances to make formidable opponents. RoA incorporates a large chunk of existing Synchro cards which gives greater variety for decks employing these monsters. This is one of the best additions, as the lackluster number of Synchro cards featured previously in Stardust Accelerator made the concept useless.

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Creating decks is painless, with great sorting options for all the cards in your collection. You can save deck recipes to be recreated at a moment’s notice, allowing creative streaks to run wild. Making a competitive deck can be just as rewarding as playing with it, especially when you discover your own card uses and strategies. Up to date ban lists of forbidden cards are also available to be enforced during play, once downloaded online. Best of all, you can play anywhere, which easily trumps finding space for the psychical card game.

Contrasting against the ordinary Story Mode, the World Championship component offers many options to play around with. Frustratingly, some have to be unlocked, which requires large investments of time. Still, if you do meet the conditions, you’ll have access to watch CPU duels, play in mini tournaments or participate in tag team duels at will. A robust tutorial mode quickly gets beginners up to speed with the many game rules, while also providing teaching examples. Indeed, new players will find more value to be had with RoA; permitting of course they find the actual card game enjoyable. Past players will be all too accustomed with the setup, but will use the new cards to edit and empower their favorite decks. Until a new Yu-Gi-Oh! game releases this year, RoA will have the most card options for regulars to play with; important in keeping a competitive edge.

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It’s easy to want more, especially a more engrossing single player experience. I can’t shake the feeling that each game I play, the Story Mode is thrown together hastily. It makes sense too, seeing as we get a new title almost every year, which becomes a problem in itself. It’s justifiable that the inclusion of new cards in a trading card game is a necessity, but perhaps the story can be scrapped until there is time to make it more worthwhile.

The saving grace of RoAis that the card game itself is still as addictive as ever. The luck of the draw keeps things interesting even between different skill levels and decks. With the combination of spells and utility cards, knowing how to best utilise monsters and when to defend and attack becomes pivotal to success. Arguably the best element to Yu-Gi-Oh! are trap cards, that are seen but hidden from opponents. They can turn a match around, being activated in relation to player actions. In matches involving humans, trap cards introduce a good deal of doubt on what might be the best move to make and at times, a good deal of bluffing. The cards featured in Yu-Gi-Oh!can feel congested with so many types, rules and specific circumstances on when they can be played. This will annoy newer players more than older. Despite this, destroying an enemy with a card-combo is satisfying and rewarding, converting many of those newer players into long term fans.

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Online multiplayer will be the mode most will move onto once they are comfortable with their skill and decks. It’s serviceable, but like past editions, still falls short in several key areas. While local multiplayer works flawlessly, there is a fair amount of general slowness when playing others across the globe. It feels sluggish and makes some matches an eternity to finish. Practice duels can be arranged, which surprisingly are where the best matches can be found online. These matches unlike standard duels don’t use points for ranking, which are won or lost on victory and defeat. Turning your DS off mid-match will cause you to lose points, but the other party not to gain anything. Being a turn based game, be prepared for the majority of opponents realising they have lost to deny you any sense of victory.

A thousand times more annoying are the cheaters using DS flash cards (like the R4), who have a way of beating you unfairly with illegal deck modifications. You can choose to deny playing anyone the game matches you with, which becomes a godsend for avoiding these types of multiplayer griefers. Likewise, if you do have a good match with someone, you both have the option to immediately have a rematch. The other online options are pretty much the same as they have been for the last several years. The best is still the ability to download other players’ decks and play them offline against the AI. For some reason, these ‘ghost’ decks in RoA only last 24 hours, which was never the case before and unnecessarily gimps this feature.

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Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s: Reverse of Arcadia is a great value for money due to the amount content given for the modest price. It has everything new players of the card game cnew ould want, as they explore all the options available to them. Existing players get a whole bunch of cards. The single player still needs work, but as it stands Reverse of Arcadia is the most complete Yu-Gi-Oh! game released to date. The only thing better is playing the game in person, but at the cost some of the most competitive decks go for, the DS has you covered.

6 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is a Staff Writer at Thunderbolt, having joined in January 2011.

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