As a big fan of Yu-Gi-Oh! Ever since the anime and card game first came to North America in 2002, I was overjoyed when I found out that Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution would be getting a western release as well as the first physical release in eight years. I was even lucky enough to try a demo of the game and interview the producer at E3 2019.
Although I’ve been playing it every chance I get and have really been enjoying it, there’s something peculiar I noticed about the campaign — which goes through all six anime series, from the original up to Yu-Gi-Oh! VRains, and that is a lot of content. A handful of characters and duels, however, are missing. This wouldn’t be that big of a deal if it were only the filler characters that most would expect to be skipped over, but some semi-important characters, duels, and even entire arcs aren’t in the game at all.
(Spoiler Warning: Yu-Gi-Oh! And Yu-Gi-Oh GX spoilers below)
The campaign for the original series includes most of the duels from the Duelist Kingdom arc, but after that, it starts to get more confusing for those familiar with the series. The duels from the Domino City Battles arc such as the Joey vs Duke Devlin and the Rebecca vs Yugi duel aren’t present. I could understand not having these characters if those were the only episodes they dueled in, but they still participated in later seasons. It’s also unfortunate I can’t bring sexy back with a Duke Devlin icon for my profile.
Although Duelist Kingdom has most of its duels, once we get to the Battle City part of the campaign, things get a little more disappointing. Back when this second season was airing on Kid’s WB, I’d always be so excited to see what happens next, and the commercials for multi-episode long duels that aired together always got me hyped just from the epic voiceover. So far, no Yu-Gi-Oh! game has been able to replicate that charm, and Link Evolution is no exception. There are a handful of missing duels in the Battle City section, despite being one of the most integral arcs of the original series as well as one of the three arcs actually canon to the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga.
In the Battle City section of the campaign, the Joey vs Espa Roba duel is missing and the character doesn’t make an appearance at all, meaning the only way to have Jinzo in your deck is to pull it from a pack or use Joey’s story deck later. It’s even necessary to use in one of his later duels when you choose to use his story deck, but thankfully it was still included. There’s also no Joey vs Mako Tsunami duel, and although you could make the excuse it would be repetitive after Yugi vs Mako in Duelist Kingdom, Joey vs Weevil is still in the game, so it just makes the fact that it’s missing even more strange. There’s also no Yugi vs mind controlled Joey duel, which is a really important duel (at least storywise) to keep out, since it once again tests the friendship between Yugi and Joey and shows what lengths the villain Marik is willing to go to in order to accomplish his goal. Since the player is always put in the role of whoever won the duel, and that duel ended in a draw, I could see why maybe they decided not to include it. Again, one could also still make the repetitiveness argument, but it just feels weird that it’s missing. Additionally, the duels between Joey and Marik as well as Joey and Kaiba are also missing.
Summaries Replacing Duels
Even though these duels are skipped, the game doesn’t always flat out ignore them. In a duel after the skipped content, what happened in said duel is sometimes summarized at the beginning of a cutscene. Aren’t we always told in school to show what happened and not tell when writing a story? Reducing these duels to brief summaries greatly reduces their impact on their respective arcs and on the series as a whole. While there may have been reasons not to include them, it’s confusing that they were still able to include other less important duels they could have skipped instead.
As I previously stated, entire arcs from the original series are missing. The entire Virtual World arc is gone, and although the Deck Master rules are weird and probably would have been left out, adding this arc to the campaign could have been used to add more icons to the game. I’d love the option to have a Nightmare Penguin or Possessed Tristan icon when playing online. Missing arcs also means there are less deck recipes than there could have been, making some included duels and decks more repetitive by only swapping out a few cards.
While one could argue that the Virtual World arc is filler that interrupts Battle City, the filler arc after that, Waking the Dragons, is still present. Like the previously featured arcs, it’s missing a few duels such as Yugi vs Gurimo. This duel would have been a great introduction to and tutorial for the Seal of Orichalcos for players not familiar with the card (and since the anime and actual effects have some differences).
After the Waking the Dragons arc, the entire Grand Championship arc is missing. While like Waking the Dragons it’s still filler and interrupts the final arc, it still would have been cool to include it for more duels, deck recipes, and icons, even if the new characters are less memorable. The final Dawn of the Duel arc didn’t have many actual duels in the first place, but the Kaiba vs Bakura fight is missing as well as the final bout between Yugi and Bakura, with only the final Atem vs Yugi Ceremonial Duel present.
Can’t Be A Team Player
Most tag team Duels are missing. Since implementing and balancing tag team rules would be quite difficult, this isn’t all that surprising, but players miss the chance to test their mettle against those specific decks. It would’ve been fun to duel against the Paradox Brothers and their Labyrinth deck or Lumis and Umbra and their Mask decks, even if they would have to be turned into one-on-one duels. Other special duels, such as the four-way semifinals duel between Yugi, Joey, Kaiba, and Marik during the Battle City Finals, and the three-way duel between Pegasus, Crowler, and Bonaparte from Yu-Gi-Oh GX are also not present. Interestingly enough, the three-way duel is replaced by a one-on-one duel between Crowler and Pegasus and the cutscene after shows Bonaparte, so we know he at least has a character model.
GX Skips Filler Characters And Most of Season 4
Yu-Gi-Oh! GX has a lot of characters who have their 5 minutes of fame (or I guess 20 or more since some have their own episode and others get two to six episodes) but it would have been great to include them as an easier way to get specific cards and more character icons. Some of these characters cards are anime exclusive, so I can understand leaving most of them out. Additionally, most of Season 4 of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX is skipped — somewhat like the English dub — other than the final duel against Nightshroud and the Jaden vs Yugi duel. Although a number of duels in Season 4 were against newly introduced villain, Trueman, it would have been cool to see how the decks of different characters had been improved in the same way some characters decks are in the original series campaign.
A Character with A Filler Deck Appears in Zexal
In the Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal campaign, there’s a duel against a character named Cathy Catherine. While she isn’t a filler character technically, her deck seems like one a filler character would have. Cathy’s deck consists of a cat theme, meaning all her monsters are cats. The problem with this is that there’s no clear strategy, having cats from several different archetypes combined into one deck. How come this could be included but several other filler or even canon decks couldn’t? It’s a confusing decision given how many duels and characters are skipped.
Some Decks Locked to Duelist Challenges
Duelists Challenges are duels you unlock after defeating a character in one of the campaign modes. The decks used in these duels could be an updated and more powerful version of a character’s deck, or could be a deck not featured in the campaign that was assigned to a character as a way to unlock those cards and deck recipes without having to search through booster packs. This is where decks unused in the campaigns, such as Gravekeepers and Kaiju, appear in the game.
Still A Great Yu-Gi-Oh! Game
Unfortunately, that’s as far as my knowledge goes regarding all the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime series. I know some characters and duels are missing from the other campaigns due to the aforementioned summaries. Despite these shortcomings, I feel like I’ve been playing this game every chance I get. During my commute or any moment I have some time. With over 9000 cards, even if it isn’t completely up to date, it’s great to not need physical cards or other people to play against. I do fully plan on playing against friends locally and online in the near future though. If you’re a Yu-Gi-Oh! fan and a Nintendo Switch owner, then I cannot recommend this game enough.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution is available on Nintendo Switch. Yu-Gi-Oh!, Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s, and Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal are available to watch on YouTube, the official Yu-Gi-Oh! website, and Hulu. Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc V is available on Netflix and Hulu. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRains is available on Crunchyroll. Some Yu-Gi-Oh! series are also available on Amazon Prime Video.