The characters from the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime we all know and love have returned–this time on smart devices! Konami set up giant iPhone replicas at their booth during Tokyo Game Show 2016. So we at Anime Now! got the chance to play Yu-Gi-Oh! DUEL LINKS, a game that recreates the Duel Monsters card game and includes the characters from the first season of the anime as your companions.
After selecting either Japanese or English, the demo allows players to choose one of three characters: Seto Kaiba, Mai Valentine, or Joey Wheeler. The first thing that stands out about the English version is that is completely localized to match the anime’s names and speech patterns. The dialogue is also completely voiced, with Eric Stuart even returning to voice the beloved Seto Kaiba. Though I’ve grown out of the English version in the past few years, I have to admit that Kaiba commenting on the current situation with corny dialogue made me a very happy duelist.
The names aren’t the only things that are localized. The artwork featured in the English version match the art on the English versions of the cards–as do the 3D models of the monsters that appear at certain points during duels.
However, these changes did not affect the enjoyability of my duel. Although it might have been easy because I didn’t put my difficulty on the Hard mode, it was extremely satisfying and smooth when I pulled my finger from my card to my target during the battle phase (though the attendant had to teach me how to change phases).
Duels run fairly smoothly and quickly with short animations that don’t slow down the action. It’s a very solid demo of the Duel Monsters simulator, but we’ll have to see if the seamless action I experienced at the booth will transfer over to smart devices when it is released.
The demo of DUEL LINKS made me feel like I was actually a professional duelist–seeing my Harpy Ladies coming to life on the screen in 3D reminded me of my past dueling experiences, as well as my elementary school days in front of the TV watching Mai duel Joey. If you wanted to get any closer to the experience of dueling in the anime, you’d have to put your smartphone on a duel disk.
There’s no word on a release date for either the Japanese or English-language versions of the game, but a closed beta for the English version is currently underway.
Yu-Gi-Oh! THE DARK SIDE OF DIMENSIONS–a film that takes place after the story of the first season– opened in Japanese theaters on April 23, 2016, and is planned to premiere in North America in 2017. The film is also planned to open in theaters in Taiwan on September 15, Hong Kong on October 13, Malaysia on November 24, and in Singapore on December 1. The voice of Kaiba in the film–Kenjiro Tsuda–sat down for an interview with Anime Now! in which he expresses his memories about the character.
The newest Yu-Gi-Oh! television anime–Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V–is currently broadcasting in Japan, as well as in the United States and Australia.