Duel Masters

Overview

Card games have never really caught onto the consoles and have primarily been confined on the GBA handheld. Well now publisher Atari has teamed up with the development team of High Voltage Software to bring us one of the few card games for the PS2. It’s Duel Masters, and on paper it sounds like a game that could help begin to turn the stereotype of card games around but is it one that can do well on the consoles? Read our full review to find out!

Gameplay

If you ask me creating a card game for a console is actually quite a risky endeavor, due to the stereotypes behind the whole card game universe. If you think about what you would picture a group of card players to look like, it’s never usually a bunch of GQ models sitting around a table to say the least. So do Atari and High Voltage capitalize on the next generation technology or are these games just bound for failure?

For those of you who are wondering why you would want to take card games onto the consoles, the simple answer to that is you don’t have to worry about getting the group of card players together, but instead you can go through the games story mode which is actually not that bad. The story mode in the game puts you into a pretty average world, where you go around different places taking on other card enthusiasts. Most people are going to want duel with you and beating them will help gain your reputation and further your advancement in your deck of cards.

The one thing about the story mode in the game that I really found pretty sad were the cut scenes, which were some of the worst looking cut scenes I have seen in quite some time. The qualities of these were just not excusable, and in my eyes caused the value of the story mode to go down quite a bit. With that being said though it’s nice that we are not just randomly going around dueling people but instead they give you some reason to continue playing the game.

With Duel Masters you are probably getting this game more for multiplayer then you are for the story mode, and for that I really think that the game just doesn’t have enough multiplayer modes to really fill the needs of fans of the series. Out of the multiplayer modes, probably the best one, is the Extreme Mode. This mode has a much quicker pace then the rest of the game, which makes for probably the most strategy along with plenty of action that doesn’t move at the snails pace. With all this being said, the game is missing an essential online game that would have really taken this game to the next level. The essential to card games is the community that it brings together, and it’s a shame that the game didn’t do more to add to the multiplayer by adding the online capabilities.

Overall Duel Masters was set out to give fans of the series an enjoyable game and for that they succeeded in giving the fans of the series a lot of what they wanted. But my view on this is that even fans of the series are going to want online play.

Graphics

Visually card games have never really had much to talk about, and this game continues that sort of tradition giving us a game that actually has some good points but ends up being a pretty typical card game that offers more then I expected. The characters in the game are very nicely cel-shaded, bringing the anime style graphics to life, which works pretty well for the game. Once you get into fights, the graphics change quite a bit and they place you into one of five different environments which don’t look all that good at all. They all seem pretty bland and lack any sort of detail whatsoever.

Overall it just surprises me with the little amount of animation that is in Duel Masters that the game doesn’t offer better visuals then it has. The game looks pretty good when standing still but when the game starts moving it really loses all of its graphical flair.

Fun Factor

Duel Masters is a card game and it never attempts to stray away from that at any time. The gameplay of Duel Masters will appeal to fans of the series but even they may disappointed by the lack of a solid story mode and the absence of crucial online play. The multiplayer portions of the game are actually quite good and will give fans of the series quite a bit of replay value. But I still think the overall fun factor will be taken away when gamers see how much is missing from the overall experience.

Overall

Duel Masters is not a bad game by any stretch and fans of the series will enjoy the game, but that’s the extent of it. In my opinion the poor story mode and the absence of the online play really hurts the game’s overall value. The only people I would recommend this game to are the fans of the series. Everyone else probably should stay away from this one.

The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.