Release Date: March 23, 2004
The Yu-Gi-Oh! Franchise has seen releases on almost every console on the market from the Playstation-era on. Most of these games have been digital conversions of the card game around which the entire franchise is based. The Dawn of Destiny is no different from its predecessors except for the fact that it is an Xbox game. The same old rules and features that any Yu-Gi-Oh! Fan should be familiar with are here. While that is fine and dandy for an avid Yu-Gi-Oh! Player, the rest of us are left with an Xbox game that leaves a lot to be desired – not to mention that it suffers from the very same problems inherent from the previous versions of the Yu-Gi-Oh! Video games, and even some from the original card game itself.
Konami has followed the same formula for every Yu-Gi-Oh! Card video game so far: minimal presentation, while keeping up with the most current set of rules for the physical card game. While characters from the mangas and television series are present, the game does not follow any sort of story at all. Players simply battle against a series of A.I. opponents who are represented by familiar faces. Complex stories usually have no place within the confines of card games, so I did not feel that the lack of a coherent storyline was a strike against the game. Some creative method of storytelling could have been implemented, but I’m sure most of the people who will purchase this game just want to play cards.
The rules of Yu-Gi-Oh! Are, as with most modern collectible card games, a mix of the simple with the purely cryptic. The basic rules are as follows: players start off with a deck of mostly randomized cards that fall under the following categories: monster cards, spell cards, trap cards, and special summon cards. Monster cards can be used to attack the opponent’s monster cards, and if the opponent has no monster cards in play with which to defend him or herself, players can use their monster cards to attack their opponents directly. This brings us to the ultimate goal of the game: to bring your opponent’s hit points down to zero. Spell and trap cards have a variety of uses, including raising various statistics on monster cards, destroying enemy cards, and more. One of the more eccentric rules is the requirement to sacrifice at least one of the monsters one has in play in order to play certain monster cards.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Videogames are pretty much aimed at current Yu-Gi-Oh! Card game players. Konami never seems to make much of an attempt to teach new players how to play the game, which is a definite strike against this game as a whole because your average Xbox gamer will have no idea how to play it. Of course, what is training without competition? As with the previous Yu-Gi-Oh! Releases, given the card-based nature of the game, having players compete on a single screen simply does not work. While linking systems together is the natural choice for players with the Gameboy Advance versions of Yu-Gi-Oh! Games, even the most hardcore Yu-Gi-Oh! Enthusiasts are unlikely to take the effort to link two Xboxes together for a round or two. With the existence of Xbox Live, does Konami take advantage of this potential goldmine? No. The Dawn of Destiny is a purely offline experience. Whether or not this business decision is somehow in the favor of Konami is anyone’s guess. Either way, it wouldn’t have been difficult to implement online code, and with Microsoft footing the bill for the servers, the long-term costs wouldn’t have been an issue.
As with all Yu-Gi-Oh! Releases, the rules available when the game hits the shelves mirror those of the latest card game parameters. When these rules are outdates, Yu-Gi-Oh! Players will have to dish out the cash for another video game rendition of their favorite card game upon its release, lest they face the horrors of being left behind the times! Since The Dawn of Destiny does not support Xbox Live, no updates can be downloaded through the service. This is a shame, as this could have been a golden opportunity for Konami. While I am well aware that the only reason The Dawn of Destiny released on the Xbox is so the Yu-Gi-Oh! Series could make its way to as many platforms as possible, it would have been nice to see the features of each respective console be optimized.
The Dawn of Destiny doesn’t look or sound like anything special. The card graphics are not much of an improvement over any of the other Yu-Gi-Oh! Releases, including the Gameboy Advance versions; of course, it must be kept in mind that these cards are bases on their real-life counterparts, and not much can or should be done to alter their appearance for the sake of making this game look more like a state-of-the-art next-gen Xbox title. On the other hand, the game does feature 3d polygonal renderings of the monsters printed upon the cards, and they look atrocious – I would go as far as to say that they belong in the last generation of consoles rather than the current one. These disrupt the presentation of this game enough that I felt that the Gameboy Advance Yu-Gi-Oh! Games had a better overall appeal than this one. Sonically, this game does all it needs to, but isn’t anything special. No catchy tunes or mind-blowing sound effects to be heard here.
The Dawn of Destiny is just another Yu-Gi-Oh! Game. For fans, that might mean something. The rest of us should give these games a pass. If you’re really desperate for a console-based card game (and you don’t have a Gamecube for Phantasy Star Online Episode III), then wait for The Dawn of Destiny to go down in price a bit. You might have a bit of fun. Otherwise, non-fans need not apply.