Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Shane Jury 14.10.2019

Review for Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution on Nintendo Switch

Beginning life within the pages of Japanese publication Shonen Jump,Yu-Gi-Oh!, translated directly to 'King of Games,' started off without the huge card game focus it has today. Instead, there were many different one-shot games, often involving the main character Yugi Moto, and his dark alter-ego battling cruel and villainous opponents in high-stakes games. For the volumes that used an early version of the Duel Monsters card game, there was far more fan positivity, and this would end up becoming the central focus of the franchise. With Link Evolution being the latest adaptation of the series into videogame format, how well does it juggle the many modern-day complexities and rules of Duel Monsters?

Deceptively complex on the surface, the basics of the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game are simple to understand, with the more intricate specifics within grasp at any time. Two players begin each with a deck of 40 to 60 cards, and 8000 life points. The primary goal of the game is to drop the opponent's life points to zero using those cards on the field, be them monsters with attack values to subtract from that tally, or magic and trap cards with a multitude of effects to use and set conditions for each. The Campaign Mode for Link Evolution, itself a retelling of the different Anime shows, gently eases new players into these rules with the first duel of each season introducing any and all new mechanics. A handy 'How To Play' glossary feature and dedicated Tutorial option, also do the job to a longer and even more specific degree.

Being an enhanced port of Legacy of the Duelist released in 2015 for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, Link Evolution retains a simplified interface and basic static portraits for character interactions, yet brings a number of new aspects to this version. An extended adaptation for the fifth Yu-Gi-Oh! series, ARC-V is now here in full with season six now having partial representation, and many more signature monsters have flashy entrance animations, though these are in strong need of user customisation in their appearance frequency. A great number of new cards have also been added in, making what was already a gargantuan total of possible deck builds and strategies even higher now.

The 'Link' part of the name refers to the newest Yu-Gi-Oh! mechanic, Link Summoning, which has not only divided the fanbase over its concept, but fundamentally changes how this game now plays. A new space now exists on the play-field where only one Fusion, Synchro or Link Monster per player can be placed at a time, instead of there being no limit previously, which significantly hampers any deck building strategy involving multiple uses of the first two card types. For new players, this limitation will seem natural but for series veterans it can be a real shock to the system. Ironically the same could be said for the system itself, as in more heated duels with many complicated monsters and effects on the field the computer AI, will often stutter and freeze the screen for moments at a time in deciding what action to take.

Screenshot for Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution on Nintendo Switch

With the older Yu-Gi-Oh! games on Nintendo handheld systems, the option of a touch screen interface was a great help during duels and deck customisation, and thankfully the same can be said of a portable Switch and Link Evolution. Duels are fully playable with the touch screen option in handheld mode, and as normal via buttons on the TV. Even with this helpful addition though, deck editing is very clunky to control and organise cards around the screen with either button or touch.

The aforementioned Campaign Mode is the ideal first port of call, as it does an effective retelling of each season of the show, albeit through a very basic text and character portrait narrative. Each duel of a season comes with a story deck to use, based on what the character would have had at that point, though a custom created deck can be chosen instead. Winning each duel unlocks a multitude of goodies, including deck recipes to build for personal use, the next step in the season to play, and new card packs to buy in the shop with earned points. Bare-bones presentation aside, these seasons are very enjoyable to play through; both as a catch-up to newcomers and a means to reminisce for long-time fans.

Link Evolution offers many other ways to play besides the Campaign; Duelist Challenges being a highlight where unlocked characters bring their strongest and most unique decks. Battle Pack is a test of improvisational skill with a set deck of cards, and the Multiplayer options both online and off add a whole new dimension of potential opponents, Link Evolution is absolutely the most concise and updated way to play the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game digitally, but a rather bland presentation and many inconvenience issues prevent it from being the definitive one.

Screenshot for Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

With a new handheld format comes a new Yu-Gi-Oh! title, and while Link Evolution offers a compelling and modernised take on the Card Game for both fans and novices alike, with almost infinite play styles and strategy possibilities, it retains the stale interface and storytelling of its original form.


Other Ocean Interactive







C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

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