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By Lucas M. Thomas
And then there were four. It hasn't taken Konami long to make the Yu-Gi-Oh series prolific on the Nintendo DS – the publisher started slowly, still commiting most of its portable efforts with the franchise to the Game Boy Advance for the first few years of the dual-screen's existence, but in the past year the number of Yu-Gi-Oh-branded wares on sale for the DS jumped up from one (Nightmare Troubadour) to a total of four. First to arrive last year was Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Spirit Caller, in February. Then Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship 2007, which quickly followed in March. Finally, this game debuted – Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship 2008, available before the calendar page even had a chance to turn to January. While many of the series' fans are likely pleased at the fact that they can get a fresh fix of their favorite card battler so frequently, there's a definite drawback to releasing so many games in the same series so quickly – and that's that little progress can have a chance to happen between the different iterations. That's the case this time around, as World Championship 2008 comes across as essentially the exact same game as World Championship 2007, with only minor upgrades, alterations and additions. The 2007 edition of World Championship was a solid game, one that offered – at long last – a robust tutorial mode that could help newcomers to Yu-Gi-Oh enter into the card-battling craze and learn the rules from scratch. So it's not an altogether bad thing that this 2008 version is so similar. The full tutorial is still in place, and still a great way to get educated about all the different types of cards, turn structure and more. But more original, uncopied is what longtime fans of the franchise will want to find here, and they won't get it.
The+The duels are the same. The characters are the same. Most of the cards, with the exception of only a handful of fresh arrivals, are the same. When you get online through Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection and take on opponents around the world, it's the same experience as it was last Spring. It's all just a rehash. Now it's understandable that if a desaramuseum.org isn't broken, you shouldn't try to fix it. And for the most hardcore of Yu-Gi-Oh players, the minor addition of just a few months' worth of new tangible cards to this digital desaramuseum.org – along with the three Limited Edition cards packaged alongside the game, inside the box – is worth the price of admission alone. But to justify publishing a new product, you really need at least something new. Konami would suggest, then, that that would be this game's Duel World. The Duel World mode of play is a fresh addition here, and wasn't included in World Championship 2007. So that's something. The problem is, it's not much to get excited about – the Duel World is a map screen filled with blinking monster characters, each of whom appears and fades away randomly, waiting for you to touch and select them with your stylus. If you do, they might talk to you. Or challenge you to a duel. But if they do, it's more of the same – you play a standard card match against them, you either win or lose, and then you rinse and repeat the process with other randomly encountered characters. This is likely supposed to be the "Story Mode" of World Championship 2008, but it has hardly any story at all. If you put in hours upon hours of playing through duels here you can eventually run into some of the human characters from Cartoon Network's Yu-Gi-Oh anime, but even that is anti-climactic and comes to too quick a conclusion. Winning duels in this mode or in the more standard World Championship mode awards you points, spendable at the in-game card shop to buy new booster packs and increase your digital library of monsters, spells and trap cards. Same as always. The aim is to create a competitive, worthy deck that will help you become one of the top players in the world – and, as a software package that facilitates the pursuit of that ambition, World Championship 2008 succeeds in the same way that its '07 predecessor did. But gamers who might have been hoping for something more tangible to experience offline, as an individual player playing alone, won't find the new addition of Duel World to be a very compelling diversion. It'll entertain for a while, but then it's right back to business as usual in the Yu-Gi-Oh world.
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So only consider a purchase of Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship 2008 if you are one of two kinds of people. One, if you"re a dedicated, hardcore Yu-Gi-Oh fanatic who can"t get enough of digital dueling. Or two, if you"re an individual who"s always been interested in the desaramuseum.org, but has never given it a shot – because the held-over tutorial still included here is still robust and fully-featured, and will help you learn the ropes. But if you"re just a casual card battle player, and you perhaps own one of the past Yu-Gi-Oh! DS titles, you can pass this one by. There"s not enough new and distinctly novel to earn this one that high of a recommendation for the non-hardcore. The lost potential is enough, actually, to make the game"s overall score regress a bit as compared to the 2007 version. Pick up the pace and do something truly new next time, Konami. Don"t make the dedicated fans buy the same game over and over again.