Duel Masters PS2 Review

The massive popularity of Duel Masters spawned a cartoon, so it was only a matter of time before a videogame was also developed to cash in on the card games gargantuan success. Duel Masters is without doubt a well designed card game, but does it translate well to your TV screen?

Duel Masters unsurprisingly has you duelling in card games against other eager opponents. The object of a duel is to break your opponents shields by summoning creatures and casting spells, once all six shields of a competitor are gone, they’re open to attack and from that point on it only takes a single strike to finish them off and win the game. It’s far more strategic then it sounds, with some creatures functioning as “blockers” to fend off threats to your shields from attacks and others restoring damaged shields and the like. The key to winning is of course using the right cards in the right situation; one single card can turn the tide of a duel if used at the right moment after all. A comprehensive tutorial has been included, divulging much useful information and helping those unfamiliar with the game to feel right at home. Kudos must go to the developer for the inclusion of this.

It’s possible to partake in optional duels to heighten your reputation or perhaps to try out some new tricks, but even so Duel Masters main mode disappointedly lacks exploration limiting you to going backwards and forwards between potential duellists, resulting in proceedings getting more repetitive then need be. This could have easily been remedied if you could have freely wandered around your environment and thus avoid the inevitable repetition. But alas it was not to be and in the end this is without doubt one of the games weaker points.

An extreme mode has been included, which throws the taking it in turns mechanic straight out of the window and allows you and your opponent to play simultaneously without having to wait for your turn. However, this unsurprisingly lacks the methodical pacing, allowing for far less cerebral play then the regular game and much more fumbling around with your cards. Some people might prefer this fast and furious -arguably more exciting- pace, but if you’re anything like us you’ll stick to the sedately paced regular game.

Fans of the card game are sure to be in heaven with Duel Masters, whilst others may enjoy it for being a well-designed game. If you are a solo player however, you should perhaps give the game a miss, as its biggest strength undoubtedly lies in the multiplayer duels, which hardly comes as a surprise, being a card game and all. All in all, Duel Masters is a cleverly designed game that comes highly recommended.