Does Yu-Gi-Oh Master Duel do enough to take someone with very little game experience or franchise familiarity and turn them into a long term player?
Taking care of beginners
Yu-Gi-Oh Master Duel does a very good job of introducing its gameplay mechanics and features to a new audience. It's not perfect, and perhaps a little too drawn out at times, but certainly geared towards players with very little TCG experience.
The early stages of play are best spent in the solo mode which will teach you all the little nuances you'll need before playing online.
It'll probably take a few hours to get to grips with everything and decide what kind of playstyle you want to adopt. The biggest mistake anyone can make with a TCG is jumping it the deep end assuming you'll just pick things up as you go along, it's almost never the case!
Upping the challenge
Once you're ready to up the difficulty involved with Yu-Gi-Oh Master Duel there's plenty of scope to do so. You can either ditch the pre-constructed decks in favour of building your own to take online or just generally try and run the gauntlet in ranked game modes.
There will also be limited-time events with brilliant rewards up for grabs. Better yet, you can also directly challenge your friends online to help test out your deck synergy and strategy. If you're not keen on the casual side of things Master Duel makes sure you're catered for.
The perfect economy
One feature that blows Pokemon Online and MTG Arena away is Yu-Gi-Oh Master Duel's economy. The two other games are heavily monetised with Arena being the worst offender by far. With Master Duel, there is virtually no reason to spend your hard-earned money on cards or cosmetics because of how easy it is to earn gems.
The gem currency is handed out in spades and it almost seems too good to be true. Perhaps as the game moves forward, things will be balanced to either reduce the number of gems that are handed out or increase the price of items in the shop but that would be a strange move to make.
Beauty in battle
When it comes to how Yu-Gi-Oh battles translate to Master Duel, the visuals are incredible. Even the tiniest details have been taken into account and whether it's the choice of battlegrounds, cosmetics, pets or battle animation, everything just works so well to create a complete experience.
It's another department where other games probably fall short, maybe thinking that the visual aspect isn't as important but Master Duel shows it can really add to the overall experience and create moments of pure satisfaction and you chain combos, special summon monsters and deliver the final blow to your opponent.
Overall, Yu-Gi-Oh Master Duel is an excellent platform that should help propel the game to new heights. Despite launching out of nowhere, the game has pulled in some incredible player numbers across all platforms and this is aided by the cross-play and cross-progression features.
While Master Duel isn't going to dethrone Magic: The Gathering as my favourite TCG, seeing how well they've done with this persistent online hub, I'm filled with the hope that it will spark change across its competitors.
RealSport Rating 4.5 Stars (Out of 5)
Yu-Gi-Oh Master Duel is free-to-play across PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch and Mobile.
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