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The Eye of Judgment

 

The Eye of Judgment

ESRB: Teen - T
Platform: PS3
Category: Strategy
 
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7.75
 
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Developer – SCE Studios Japan
Publisher – Sony Computer Entertainment

Features

1-2 players
Online Compatible (1-2 players)
Eye Toy Compatible
Ranked Games

The Eye of Judgment for the PS3 is a game that it tough for review as there is nothing that one can compare it too. Yes, it is a card based battle game, but the trick to it is that you use the PS3’s new peripheral, the PlayStation Eye camera, to read your cards and watch the unfolding battles play out on screen. This is the first time that I can remember playing a game like this. So does this innovative approach to a card based battle game pay off? In a roundabout way I would say yes.

Graphics

Visually this game is pretty good. If anything, it is the anticipation of the creatures coming to life after the card’s data has been read. When you view the gameplay grid and watch the battles unfold, the game’s on-screen action is presented with some great backgrounds, solidly drawn and animated characters and even some great special effects (e.g. particle and lighting). What really stood out as I played my first few games was how great the battle animations looked as each creature or machine has its’ own set of moves. An added treat for me was the avatar that represents the Eye and how it emerges from the grid whenever a spell is cast. I think that the visual approach taken with this game was well implemented and I hope that other types of board games (e.g. Risk) can make the transition to the PlayStation Eye. Could you imagine the huge battles unfolding on screen while you control the strategy on the board? Overall I think that people will be happy with the visuals in The Eye of Judgment and the overall presentation on the screen will be a treat to your card battling experience.

Sound

Although the sound is not the high point of Eye of Judgment it really manages to compliment the on-screen visuals. The game’s soundtrack is metal/rock heavy and it is really prevalent during each battle scene. During the times that you play your cards the available music isn’t as noticeable but it is there. Regardless, the music does seem to match the game’s overall appeal, especially during the battle scenes. If there is anything negative to it, it is that the music can get a little grating now and then. As for the rest of the sounds, everything from the creatures voices, the battle sounds (e.g. swords clanging), to spells being cast, all of it is wrapped up into a decent audio package.

Gameplay

Eye of Judgment is a card battle game that uses the new PlayStation Eye to read playing cards that are placed on a mat, and the data on the card is translated and played out as creatures in 3D on the screen. You buy the all in one package that includes the PlayStation Eye, a stand for the camera, the game, a playing mat, a starter deck of cards, and a booster pack of cards. All in all you get everything you need to start to play this innovative and quite original game right away.

Once you get home you have to set up the camera stand, which is somewhat easy, you then place it on a table and connect the PlayStation Eye on top of it. This allows the camera to see the full playing mat that comes with the game. After doing all this you can then tweak the settings and away you go. If there is any complaint here it is that you need to have a table or flat surface relatively close to your PS3. I tend to take my review games home to get some extended work in and having to figure out how to use the PlayStation Eye for this game in my home theatre where my PS3 is located was somewhat of an issue. That being said, should you have a decent area to set this thing up this shouldn’t be a problem, but be forewarned that you may have some difficulties finding the right area to play this game in, including an area with the right amount of light.

Eye of Judgment is a somewhat solid card battle game. Your playing field is a grid of nine squares (3x3), and the goal is to take over five of them. You start the game with five cards that are randomly drawn from a deck of 30. During each turn you are given two mana points to use, as well as any others that you may have accumulated during the game. You will find that during each of your turns, summoning cards it he most common thing you will be doing, and when you place on it on the mat it beckons a monster or machine to the playing field. There are those cards who summon creatures with very standard attack units, and there are also those that assist you, such as one that strengthens surrounding allied cards. Along with your attack cards are cards that carry spells. Their uses are magic based, and not particularly attack orientated, and they also play an important role in the game.

To make things somewhat more complicated, but also important to the gameplay of Eye of Judgment, is that each square on the board has an elemental affiliation, as does its underside. You can use this to your advantage during gameplay. For example, I found that a move used by people who have already started to master this game was to change the active element of any given square by flipping it using the fissures of goghile spell. This can have quite a negative effect on the card’s unit that is occupying it. You can also use the aforementioned mana points on units that are already placed on the mat. Here you can command them to attack and/or turn 90 degrees towards an enemy unit. My ‘light’ description of the game’s playability only scratches the surface of what you can do.

Overall I found that this game was somewhat easy to pick up. I would have to say that almost anyone can play this game in a little bit of time, but to master it will take some effort and time. There is an in-game tutorial to use, but after watching it for awhile I found it not nearly as useful as it could be as it only involves watching how to play the game, not actually walking you through various steps as you play the game itself. Bottom-line, the best way for you to learn the game is to take a hands on approach and play the darn thing. I definitely don’t consider myself a strategy or card based battle gaming expert, so if I can do it I can only assume you could.

The whole system of the PlayStation Eye scanning and reading the card works pretty well. I found that the time it took the camera to decipher the data of each card was relatively short and once it recognizes the card you have placed on the mat the corresponding creature arises in a flood of light quite quickly. The result is a creature or machine that looks to be standing on the card you placed on the mat. I found very little difficulty in the camera doing its job for this game.

As this is a card battle game, it is best played against another human being, be it online or face-to-face. Card based battle games have been around for a long time, much longer then the technology (PlayStation Eye) that makes for a new twist to the game. So this is nothing new, per se, but Eye of Judgment does make the game more interesting as you actually get to see your cards play a battle out. Doing this with someone in the same room is where this game really shines as you can see their reaction to losing or winning a crucial battle. The added benefit of the PlayStation Eye making this come to life just makes it that much more enjoyable. There is just something too cool about watching your card’s creature take out your opponent’s creature in real time. Plus while you are playing the PS3 keeps track of every statistic, including each creature’s own health and attack strength. This allows you to focus on the more important aspect of the game, strategy.

If you don’t have anyone to immediately play with in person, you can play either against the computer, or head online. Playing against the computer can be fun, and it can train you to be a better player, however you only play one off matches. The AI puts up a good battle, but it is not as rewarding as playing against a real person, plus only being able to play one off matches gets boring after awhile as there is no other mode to play against the computer. I should also note that there is no single player quest or adventure either. Now I am sure many of you reading this are asking why I would want a quest or adventure in a game like this. Well, I think there should have been some incentive to play more of this title then just battling it out against other people. Sega used a battle card system with their long running Phantasy Star Online series, and it worked well, so couldn’t have Sony done something along the same lines, while using the game’s innovative card reading system? I think it could have worked, but alas we will never know.

Of course you can also play Eye of Judgment online. When going online for some multiplayer fun you must scan every card you want to use before hand with the PlayStation Eye so it registers them. This is done in an effort to limit cheating. Once your deck of cards is registered the computer will randomly draw your card for you during your online play experience. This allows for some balance as you can never secretly draw from your deck to tip the battle in your favor. The game keeps track of every card in your deck and hand, and this allows for each online game to be played fairly. I give Sony kudos for doing this as it shows they are making efforts for all gamers to have somewhat enjoyable experiences. During online play the game supports both text and video chat, which is cool. You can search for custom or ranked games as well and it all depends on what you prefer. Although I didn’t play a lot of online games given that I was still getting used to this whole card battle thing, the games that I did play were pretty lag free and they were pretty much a trouble free experience as a whole.


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