It's hard to know just how to review Yu-Gi-Oh! - the series went through a retool from horror to a more conventional gaming shonen action series. Both anime expanded massively on the source material.
So what's the plot? A small, shy boy named Yugi solves an ancient Egyptian artifact and gets possessed by a spirit who never loses a game, thus protecting the boy and helping him defeat the various foes who want to hurt him, avenge past defeats or steal his puzzle. This skill comes in handy when he has to enter multiple tournaments in order to save his loved ones and fulfill the destiny that has been thrust upon him. Seems legit.
Yu-Gi-Oh! is clearly not going to win awards for being incredibly deep - it's a card battle anime, so solid characterisation and solid art, with some dips in the production values in terms of its long animated counterpart. In terms of the anime, the dialogue in the Japanese anime is noticeably more adult, and the show feels less as if it was pandering to children. This may be because it was sticking more closely to its source manga material than the English dub.
However, even if the content varies from adaptation to adaptation, one thing Yu-Gi-Oh! has in spades is charm. Is it, as we say in the tropeverse, narm-tastic? Oh yes. But there's something very well-meaning underneath all its strange occult layers and ridiculous hair-dos, and it's hard to genuinely dislike many of the characters. Most of the reason the sequels seem so reviled is because the cards came before the story. Here it does at least feel the story and characters came before the cards, and most of the ridiculous declarations and epic fights will leave you cheering, even through the ridiculousness.
My recommendation? Read the original manga first, even in the early installment weirdness when the series was envisioned as a horror story, then maybe see parts of the anime adaptation. Be warned that the fillers all carry a higher ratio of juvenile plot twists than usual. Starting with the DM anime is not advisable unless you're already under the influence of hopeless nostalgia.
Let it be a guilty pleasure and be surprised by some of the badass things these children's TV icons can pull off. It's time to catch up on 1990's manga!