Right away, the game brings you to a main menu.
From here, you can select one of the seven choices. "Campaign" is pretty self-explanatory, if a little bit of a complete lie, but I'll get into that. "Link Battle" is also pretty self-explanatory - you get your friend who also has a Game Boy Advance, you link, you battle. "Deck Edit" is another no brainer, allowing the player to construct a deck (and you are given one starting out) that must be comprised of no less than 40 cards - split between monsters, magic, and trap cards as evenly as possibly to assure that the deck is at least playable. "Record" is where you can look to see who you've won and lost against, and how many times you've won and lost against them.
Then there's "Calendar", which also allows me to look into the "plot" as it were. EDS really doesn't have a plot per se. But the calendar system is largely there to mark the days where the player will get a bonus booster pack from Grandpa Muto, as well as the bi-weekly tournaments and the big tournament in November that the game builds up (also, distanced from the show - each duel will take up one day of time). So there is no "plot", it's just a dueling simulator, like the much-maligned last game in the franchise that I played. And don't get me wrong, Millennium Battles was no Sacred Cards in terms of how bad it was, but it was...no, actually, it was worse than this, but I'll get into the why of it later.
"Card Trading" does exactly what you think, and "Password" is where you can bunch in those seven digit numbers at the bottom of a Yu-Gi-Oh! card to get the card in real life. Of course, it has limitations. Some of the codes outright don't work until you've at least seen the card played in game. And, of course, the game is limited by the time period it comes from - the early 2000s. So if you're wanting to put your Stardust Dragon into the game to totally wreck little Yugi, Joey, and their friends, you're out of luck. Lucky for you, you don't have to sort through your cards to find out which ones work and which don't - There's a wiki page for that.
So, how does the game play? Just like the trading card game of the time under the official tourney rules. Selecting "Campaign" will bring up a screen as seen above. The first tier of duelists is Yugi and the Friendship Brigade. Once you have defeated each of them twice, the second tier opens that contains all the duelists that Joey defeated at Battle City...and Mai Valentine. This process will continue, going through Marik and his Rare Hunters as well as Seto Kaiba, Yami Yugi and Bakura, and eventually reaching the likes of Pegasus, Grandpa, and "Shimon"...who I thought was an Egyptian priest in the distant past and not blue, but hey, Forbidden Memories reference.
So basically, the game ends up being the same as any other Yu-Gi-Oh! simulator. There is actually some personality from the various duelists in small cutscenes before and after each duel, and that is far more than we were given in Millennium Battles, so I'm inclined to be slightly more charitable to this game than that one. An attempt was made, though I'm wondering how exactly both versions of Yugi and Bakura are all hanging around the same Game Shop...or why the Rare Hunters are allowed to the tournaments after nearly killing - oh, wait, I'm sorry, "sending to the Shadow Realm" - Yugi's entire posse several times...
But then trying to figure out logic in an anime plot is a bit like trying to weld a car frame back together with bird seeds and gum, you just end up with sticky hands and a terrible humiliated feeling deep down in the pit of your soul.
...I may have been thinking about something else there.
Point is, not a bad game, but it's a simulator. It's actually a step up from games of the same kind that I've played before, but it's not too much better.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Eternal Duelist Soul is now available from Konami and Konami Computer Entertainment Japan for the Game Boy Advance.
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