Trial By Fire 2: Yu-Gi-Oh Edition

28 Feb


What's wrong with your hair?!

Stupid “mandatory joke” laws.

Now that I got that joke out of the way, lets talk about sex, baby video game trials.

The Xbox Live Arcade happens to offer delicious, delicious downloadable video games for those not willing to go to the store. And if you’re not actually sure if you want said game, you can just buy a quick trial, which lets you play a bit of the game to see if you like it. It’s like if you’re not sure you want a hooker, so you just hug a bit first.

The last time I reviewed one of these trials, it… it didn’t exactly go well. (I don’t remember much, but I recall a lot of swearing and dragons. Maybe I played D&D at a Tourettes convention?)

I think my problem was trying to play an indie game. They have plenty of morals, but that doesn’t tend to translate into “oodles of money”. So lets try the exact opposite: a game that does have oodles of money, but with zero morals! Or, in less flowery terms: Yu Gi Oh! 5D’s Decade Duels Plus!

But before we get in to the actual trial, I have to explain a few things (Geez, you’d think I have some kind of exposition fetish): I know very little about Yu Gi Oh. I enjoyed the cartoon, but that’s because it played on 4kids around when Kirby: Right Back At Ya! was on and I would watch literally anything to get to that show.

Kirbykirbykirby's the one!


I memory of the show pretty much boils down to “guy with insane hair plays card games against some guy with an America flag on his head” so there you go. (For those who have absolutely no idea what Yu Gi Oh is, it’s about a world where magic and advanced technology coexist and all matters are solved with card games. Also, bad hair.)

I also remember playing the actual card game with the assholes I grew up with, but my knowledge of that is pretty much limited to “Exodia apparently obliterates” and “fuck Kuribohs”.

(Also, the abridged series rocks.)

But absolutely none of that matters, because this is apparently 5D’s, far in the future from anything I know or even vaguely care about and apparently card games are played entirely on motorcycles.

It's all black and white! EXTREME!

At least, that’s what the internet says.

I hit start and I am suddenly immediately bashed with a near lethal dose of Japan. Anime characters fly across the screen while a generic rock riff plays in the background. Too bad they didn’t add any lyrics.


After selecting “single player”, and watching an overly complex loading screen that makes my head hurt, I get to choose my character icon. Naturally, I choose the girl, because if the rest of anime is any indication, I could just beat my enemies to death with my bosom.

A remarkably grey fellow pops up and tells me I’ll be playing these card games for my freedom, which really raises questions about how this society works. Is it some kind of dystopia where card games are judge, jury and executioner?

I select the tutorial and, no joke, there’s a 17 chapter tutorial. Oh FUCKING hurray, I love having to digest a whole freaking textbook before playing a card game. (You know, this is the reason Quantum Physics: The Game did so badly.)


“Press A to fall asleep!”

The trial drags me through tutorial after tutorial. Look, game, if your dumbass combat system couldn’t be explained in a bloody fortnight, maybe you need a new combat system! 

And maybe one that’s slightly less stupid! I mean, redundancy is fine (they take the time to explain what a “turn” is) but when the phrases “Neo-Spacian”, “Frostosaurus” and “Synchro-Summon”, I am legally required to brain you with a duel disk.

I have to sit through dialogue box after dialogue box and terms and words and rules and regulations and monsters and why the fuck would I ever want to synchro-summon and spell cards and fusion monsters and special summons and WHEN THE HELL DO I GET TO KILL SOMETHING?!

Good god, I can practically feel my brain glaze over. I’m quitting this damn tutorial before I get so bored that I try to shove a duel disk up my nose or eat a Blue Eyes White Dragon or something else.

Finally, the tournament begins. (They take time to explain the rules, but I just skipped over it. I am LETHALLY bored here.) Me and my young opponent Johnny play some “Rock, Paper, Scissors” to see who goes first and I swear the game cheats. He consistently chose the same damn thing I did, so either the game cheats or he’s freaking psychic.


Then again, Yu Gi Oh is no stranger to psychics.

When the duel finally commences, it’s a relief to finally get in to the gameplay. Basically, it’s a strategy game. You have monster cards, trap cards, spell cards, the whole shebang. Then, you use the cards to kill the other person’s monsters and destroy their life points! Simple, right?

Okay, look back up to my whining about the rules, do you honestly think it’d be that simple?

There are special summons and synchro-summons and flip summons and modifiers and traps with special conditions and oh fuck this, I’m just going to throw my Junk (Warrior) at him.

Despite the obtuse gameplay and the fact that you need an extra brain to know half of this stuff, once you get in to the rhythm of summoning monsters and spells and such, the game gets kind of exciting! I haven’t had this much fun playing cards since… ever, actually.

But just when things start getting fun, things get bogged down with lack-lustre presentation (Ooh, look at all dem fancy words! Almost as if I’m an actual writer!), controls that curb stomp the flow of the duel, and when the computer is playing, the card descriptions go away too fast to read.

“The dragon can kill an monster when you-”

“If this trap card flips up, your testicles will-”

“This golum shoots a puppy if you-”

“For a good time, call-”

That sounds painful.

“Take this lawn gnome and shove it up your-“

Still, I managed to overcome this sizable disadvantage and used the “I am rubber, you are glue” card and bounced Johnny’s dragon right down his smug fucking throat. Of course, I then had to quip, “Stop dragon this battle out!”

[Cue sit-com laugh track.]

Then we get our second duel… in which I get my ass kicked?! Hey, what?! I’m the main character, I’m not supposed to lose!

Well, it turns out that they gave the second duelist what is commonly known as a “cheating” deck. With the cards he has drawn, he has made it so I literally cannot attack, every turn he makes me get more monster cards from the deck, but if I draw any other card, they get destroyed.

Every turn, he ALSO has a card that deletes five EXTRA cards from my deck. And every time a card gets deleted, he gets 500 points back.

So, literally nothing I do can help. Or effect anything. I can’t fight back, whatsoever.

No. No, no, no, no. I will do many things, but I will not play a game that fucking cheats.

I don’t know, I see how Yu Gi Oh! 5D’s Decade Duels Plus could be fun if you know how Yu Gi Oh works and you’re already a fan, and even if you’re not, the gameplay does have some moments, but it’s presented dully, it’s way too complicated, there’s no characters, the music makes me want to stab my face off, etcetera, etcetera. Skip it.

This the point where I’d usually sprout some non sequitur with only borderline relevance but I don’t take kindly to games that cheat so I will close by saying this game can go fuck a duel disk till it’s deck snaps off.


This is a duel disk, by the way.

One Response to “Trial By Fire 2: Yu-Gi-Oh Edition”


  1. Trial By Fire 3: Slender Edition | A VERY STRANGE PLACE - March 6, 2013

    […] that every time I choose a random video game trial with which to be an unlikeable twat towards it happens to be an Xbox game (woot run on sentences), you have to wondering: what kind of PC game could convince me to play […]

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