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Matt Bassos
01 Jul, 2009

Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's Stardust Accelerator: World Championship 2009 Review

DS Review | Let's duel.
Reviewing a game like this is hard. Not because it’s overly complicated - more so, it’s the type of game that you see released every year. The Yu-Gi-Oh! series definitely has its followers. It’s established itself as a popular collectible card game, and just like Madden has its yearly releases on a variety of gaming systems. For the hardcore supporters it won’t matter what we write here. For instance - Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s promotes swine flu. See, it won’t make a difference. For these players the yearly updates are needed to stay competitive. The added cards from the last gaming edition are critical in virtually recreating Yu-Gi-Oh!’s metagame. Like previous years, Konami are bringing another annual championship edition to the DS. However, it suffers from an identity crisis in what it truly wants to provide for prospective players.

This year, Konami have merged the championship side of things with a single player story experience, explaining the long-winded title. 5D’s Stardust Accelerator refers to the anime spin-off from the original franchise, surrounding completely new characters and plot. Essentially, 5D’s borrows the anime’s setting and uses it to replace the lack of storytelling from the past two World Championship games. If this is going to be your sole reason behind purchasing 5D’s, you are probably going to be disappointed.

The story campaign is nothing special. Players take the role of an amnesia stricken protagonist, who awakens in the ghetto slums that everyone refers to as the Satellite District. Slowly putting the pieces back together with the help of new friends, it’s revealed the player is actually a ‘Duel Runner’ duellist. The premise of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s revolves around this gimmick; having duellists motorcycle race against each other in stadiums known as Turbo Duels. The player begins with a starter deck and must search 3D environments to progress the story. This leads them to converse and, you guessed it, duel with characters scattered over the game world.

It’s an ugly game world at that. We know the DS is capable of producing good 3D visuals, but often the end result reminds us more of early PlayStation titles. This is the route Konami bizarrely have opted to go, meaning you’ll see plenty of jagged edges and awful textures at times. Animation isn't so crash hot either, but if you can live with it and the visuals, you’ll find a basic enough package of a single player story. There’s some light puzzle solving, road blocking opponents and of course the new Turbo Duels.

  
The 3D visuals can be messy at times

The 3D visuals can be messy at times
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Apart from the actually motorcycle racing you control, which can be a nice distraction from the constant card battling, Turbo Dueling becomes another variation of the game. Calling it stupid would be a little harsh, so perhaps unnecessary is a better word. It’s reminiscent of other Yu-Gi-Oh! deviations like Dungeon Dice Monsters and is only semi-tolerable as you know it’s a forced concept coming from the anime source material.

On the whole, the Story Mode lacks polish and feels rushed. It’s as if Konami were building an illusion of a grand single player experience, to what is fundamentally a multiplayer orientated title. If you’re not going to spend the time to do something right, then don’t do it at all. The last two World Championship games understood this. Sure, they had no storyline, but that’s no excuse to give a free ride to 5D's mediocre Story Mode.

The other half of the game is presented in the world championship setting which is almost a carbon copy of the '08 version. You can make your decks here, duel against the AI and take part in mini tournament ladders. Many players will be purchasing 5D’s simply for the updated card roster, which now features over 2800 cards. It’s not entirely up to date, but it’s the largest hand-held Yu-Gi-Oh! collection you will find. 5D’s 'synchro' cards make a welcome addition, as well as a much larger database of computer opponents and decks to verse.

There are few other changes here and there in 5D’s. The playing field has changed to a slanted 3D outlook, rather than the bird’s eye view. It can take some time getting use to and makes it harder to see opponent’s cards at times. It would of been better to give the player an option to what view they prefer.

Local multiplayer is included, as well as online Wi-Fi which remains unchanged from '08. You now have the option of choosing if you wish to verse a specific opponent when searching for matches. A nice addition, which becomes perfect for refusing a rematch if you encounter a cheater. In the very least, those simply looking for new cards and online play with rankings will find 5D’s just as serviceable as '08 was.

  
You optimistic fool, you just walked into my trap card

You optimistic fool, you just walked into my trap card
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The biggest fault then becomes 5D’s confusion in who it wants to cater for. You have a Yu-Gi-Oh! title split in the middle; one half single player orientated, the other multi. Fans of the anime are going to find the story adventure lacklustre due to its overall presentation. Likewise, the competitive players are getting an exact copy of '08’s championship setting with new cards. By actually focusing on one aspect, Konami could have provided a better Yu-Gi-Oh! game for an intended audience. By mixing both elements together and let’s face it, the small amount of development time due to yearly releases, you just get a lazy outcome.

It then becomes hard to recommend 5D’s unless you're happy with an updated card list or are completely new to the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise. To the game’s credit, the tutorial system does a great job of teaching new players the mechanics. For its price, it’s unbeatable in terms of value for the content, with the bonus of having a great sorting system for categorising your card collection. If you haven’t played Yu-Gi-Oh! before and can overlook the Story Mode - 5D’s is currently the king on the market.

Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s Stardust Accelerator just over extends itself. Those wanting it for its World Championship subtitle are going to get it regardless of the score. Though, they definitely have the right to be annoyed with the lack of improvements from last year. Perhaps if Konami spent the resources from Story Mode, we would have more than a simple rehash with an extra couple of hundred cards. It would of made sense following the world championship tradition from past DS games and improving upon the formula. Instead, we get an anime story that is average at best mixed into the package.

Adding a basic single player world isn't enough, especially when it comes at the expense of evolving the world championship options. Depending on what you are buying it for, 5D’s can be worthwhile. However, if you looking for an excellent single player experience based off the card game, you'd best skip this one out.
The Score
An update needed for some with the host of new cards introduced, but the basic single player Story Mode feels rushed and tacked on. Unfortunately, you can't help the feeling it's also the reason behind the rehashed World Championship elements, when development time could of went into giving us something fresher. 6
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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2 Comments
4 years ago
Am i the only one who is waiting for a console version of yugioh. I saw there was a wii version but really its a racer and not a card game icon_sad.gif. sigh
4 years ago
I am still on my 2006 GBA version as ds versions dropped alot of classic cards for an update roster. I'd love to move to DS, if only to avoid GAB cart battery failure, but does this suffer the same problem?
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  30/06/2009 (Provisional)
Publisher:
  Konami
Genre:
  Card Battle
Year Made:
  2009
Players:
  2

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