Yu-Gi-Oh! Reshef Of Destruction

59368_front
Reshef of Destruction? Damn near destroyed the franchise…

Reshef of Destruction is an odd game in the sense that it shouldn’t exist in the form that it does. This game and the game that came before it (The Sacred Cards) are strange anomalies that can only be explained by sheer laziness and/or somebody at Konami having a really big nostalgia-gasm at their early attempts at Yu-Gi-Oh! simulators. Nobody asked for these games, at all…Ever. From what I remember of the fanbase at the time, everybody was in love with Duel Monsters 5 and 6 (Eternal Duelist Soul and World Championship Edition). With the GBA Konami finally had the processing power to create an actual Yu-Gi-Oh! card game simulator. The masses loved it and wanted more. So why on God’s green Earth did we receive not one, but TWO sequels that ran off of the old (albeit slightly modified) gameboy/gameboy color Dark Duel Stories engine? As if that wasn’t enough of a slap in the face, both the games were really sub-par and in Reshef’s case borderline broken. Needless to say, torches were lit and pitchforks were sharpened and Konami got the point. Every other sequel on the GBA and DS stuck to real-life card game rules as closely as they could.I’ve played several older games in the series that ran off of the (I guess anime inspired?) “duel monsters” rules, so I don’t hate this game for what it is. I’ll agree that it is an incomprehensibly bad, semi broken game, but i’m one of the oddballs that actually LIKES it to a degree. It harkens me back to a time when the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise was much more innocent and far from the carefully calculated behemoth it is today. Back then a Blue Eyes White Dragon was impressive, Exodia was a terrifying prospect, and Dark Magician was borderline playable (ok it never was, but we could fool ourselves to think that it was). Anyway, the older “duel monsters” rules were similar to real card game rules, but with much of the complexity removed. Monsters had a pokemon-esqe element strength/weakness system which, I assume, was supposed to balance the game when in reality it just made it even more frustrating. For instance, a “forest” element monster will always win in combat over a “wind” element monster and kill it all the while preventing any battle damage you would have taken from the encounter. That sounds good on paper, but it REALLY makes an already weak tribute mechanic for playing stronger monsters that much more risky of a proposition. Sure, go ahead, sacrifice two monsters to play your 3000 attack monstrosity…Oops it got killed by a tiny little Kuriboh lol git gud. While this “feature” is annoying, its nothing new as it has been around in previous entries to the series. What people REALLY hate about this entry in the series is the broken deck construction restrictions.

Every card has a point value, and you have a maximum deck capacity that your one deck (you cant save recipes) can hold. Ok seems fine right? Couple that with the fact that a card’s point value is also the level your character must be to include it in your deck and the fact that you only get 1 point of deck capacity per battle (most of the time) and only increase your level once every 3 battles and you have a formula for frustration and a mass exodus from your franchise. I forget what level you start at upon creating a new game, but lets assume its 70. Oh look, you just obtained a nice 1400 attack non-tribute monster! Lets put it in your deck…Oh, you have to be level 150 to put that in your deck, better start grinding those 240 battles against Tristan so you can include that…One card *cough*. Yeah who the hell thought this was balanced? To make matters worse, every single duelist except for random town peons who fight you once and Tristan has a deck with cards that are way out of your league. I suppose this was so that you had to lean on the element system in order to win a battle, which would have been ok if not for one more bone-headed design decision…Your life points do NOT restore after battle. What the hell. Seriously, you have to heal up at your house or risk starting a battle with dreadfully fewer life points than your opponent if you took a beating. That one decision I think makes the least amount of sense than anything else in this game. Just imagine if actual Yu-Gi-Oh! tournaments in real life had it so your life points didn’t start at full each time? Well, actually that might make for an interesting tournament format, but for a game? It completely sucks.This all may seem completely absentminded from a design stand-point, but it was actually Konami responding (in the wrong way) to fan complaints about the game that came before it. The Sacred Cards was woefully easy, like the only requirement to beat that game was that you had a pulse. I don’t even think it required you be awake, just that you had a pulse. So, fast forward to Reshef and Konami did everything they could to make this game a living hell, including programming it sloppily (well I don’t know if they did that on purpose too, but they DID do it). In a feeble attempt to add continuous effects to this engine (why not just go back to the engine from 5 and 6 if you really wanted to do this?) Konami programmed some flickering cursor that checks the field for effects to apply after every single board-state change in the game. Every single one. Something as simple as a card that buffs all cards of a single attribute will flicker around the stage and apply every time any player does ANYTHING. It takes up way too much time and is something you would not expect from a veteran game company like Konami.

So yeah, with so much WRONG with this game, what is there to like about it? Frankly, i’m not even sure WHY I like it. Maybe its just the challenge of being able to beat a hellish game like this, that satisfying feeling when you slam-dunk another player who’s using way better cards than you are. To the game’s credit the story IS sort of interesting if you enjoy the lore of the series. A previous villain who is thought to be missing/dead is brought back (whom I happen to be a fan of, so maybe that’s why I like it). I mean it’s really painfully obvious who it is in the game, but just as a courtesy I wont spoil anything I guess. Other than that its just your regular “Thing is going to be resurrected and destroy the world” storyline. What better way to stop an imminent cataclysm than playing a collectible card game? The story of this game DID get a nod on a couple of actual cards in a later booster set of the real card game, so it’s…canon?

The music of the game is pretty much just a rehash of the music from The Sacred Cards (if not the exact same tracks), so its really happy-go-lucky, not really sinister at all MIDI quality stuff here. The sound effects are the same as the previous game too, so the “lazy” really starts to show here. But whatever, if it isn’t broke don’t fix it, especially seeing all the other ways you “fixed” the game the music could have turned out a LOT worse…

Replay value? Well, if you can honestly read everything I just wrote and still want to try this game and stick with it all the way to the end…Well, you’re a pretty tough dude. There is a sort of end game to this unlike Sacred Cards which just ended at the credits forever. Once you finish the game there is a duelist room with a bunch of tough duelists to play against who all give you more experience than anybody else in the game. You know, if you wanted to keep making your deck better after the fact, or heaven forbid you have a friend who wants to link battle with this game. I’ve beaten the game once before and i’m on my second playthrough now, it’s not so bad when you know what to expect, but for a first timer to the game its going to be a real shock some of the low blows this game throws at you. Play at your own risk…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.