PSP - GX Tag Force 2
Granted, the game is based off the New Expert Rules set from the trading card game, but it's beyond imposing for newcomers. It doesn't help that the sometimes quizzical translation is competent, but spelling and light grammar errors cropped up with startling frequency, from help menus to tutorials to conversations. At times it was an amusing trip into near-Engrish, but more often than not the mistakes just required re-reading a line, and others read like I had friggin' written them. "A Spell Counter is a type of counter that is put on cards that use Spell Counters"? What? Seriously?

Some parts of the interface can feel a little cramped as well, (yes, even with 16:9 real-estate; there are simply times when a bunch of text is crammed into a column only two or three words wide), but the overall look of the game certainly holds up well. The PSP's screen affords the game plenty of opportunity for crisp, clean character portraits during conversations, and some of the warping cards and slightly trippy backgrounds during duels at least serve to throw some eye candy onto the screen. No, it's nothing that shows any signs of actually flexing the PSP's 3D muscle, but as 2D goes, things are at least clean.

Aurally, things are just as tolerable, but again there's nothing here that will absolutely require a pair of headphones. You'll get some light rock, a few more languid harpsichord or swingy little jingles, but aside from the chirpy menu effects, there's not so much here that you'll even have a whole lot of reason to play the game with the sound on. I didn't really feel the need to kill the audio, but in the interest of saving some battery life, it's a fair sacrifice.

Should you actually invest the hours into learning the quirks of the game, the rewards are certainly there for the taking, but the single-player part of the game really just serves as a foil for deck building and basic training. With nearly three thousand cards to collect, it's obviously a necessary step, but the main draw is going to be playing against friends in duels -- something made even more obvious by the inclusion of the new 2-on-2 Wi-Fi battles.

Amazingly, even with Infrastructure support for downloading more cards, there's no online multiplayer. It was bad enough that the first game didn't offer any online play, but Konami completely missed out on what could have been an insane amount of replay value. The game also misses a golden opportunity to actually bring newcomers into the fold.