Nothing irks us more when game companies try to make us pay for things we’ve already bought. The box copy of Yu-Gi-Oh GX: The Beginning of Destiny promises a heaping helping of hot card-battling action and interaction with a multitude of characters from the Yu-Gi-Oh GX universe. What the packaging doesn’t tell you is that The Beginning of Destiny is actually part of a rather obnoxious new trend – the PSP-to-PS2 port. Yes, this game is actually a transplanted Yu-Gi-Oh GX Tag Force, so if you have that game (or its sequel) already, just stop reading here. There’s absolutely no reason to buy it again, especially not in this lazy incarnation.
Let’s get the good stuff out of the way first. As far as card games go, Yu-Gi-Oh certainly isn’t bad at all. There’s a good deal of strategy involved, and collecting and assembling your decks is a fun pursuit. The game also goes out of its way to show you the ropes of the game in detailed (but annoyingly unskippable) tutorial sequences to ensure you won’t be completely clueless if you’re a total Yu-Gi-Oh noob. All of these compliments can be applied to the PSP Tag Force, as well.
Above: Screen taken from PSP version
Now for the bad. You’d think doing a PSP-to-PS2 port would offer the opportunity to fix flaws in the game, but for the most part, the complaints about the gameplay remain exactly the same as they did in its portable incarnation. The RPG exploration elements are poorly done and generally irritating, the menu interface is archaic and clunky, and the cutscenes for card battles are annoyingly overdrawn. (And, thanks to the additional power the PS2 has over its portable sibling, the polygon models that looked decent in the PSP original now just look laughably bad.) In some cases it feels like they’ve actually tried to make the game less functional than before – you can no longer save as frequently, and random bonus cards can’t be found lying around anymore. Lame.
But perhaps the worst part of it all is that the transplant to a home console has removed a good chunk of Tag Force’s initial appeal: the ability to play on-the-go card battles with friends who also have a PSP and the game. What makes it all the more hilarious is that one of the few upgrades the game offers is a link function with the PSP version of Tag Force 2 (if you're keeping score, that's the sequel to the original PSP Tag Force game, which is what the developer ported to make this PS2 entry). Even that feature is severely gimped, as you can do a single cards transfer per save file. There’s no reason to recommend this half-assed port over its PSP sibling... it's just too little too late.
Feb 21, 2008