With the Playstation 2, Sony was seen as the most innovative of the three major hardware players. They introduced the world to numerous add-on and party games that extended the console further into the mainstream, two of the most successful examples being the immensely popular Singstar and Buzz, both of which built upon the legacy of Sony’s first foray into the party game environment, Eyetoy.
The concept behind the Eyetoy was simple; a digital camera placed gamers into some simple reaction or concentration games, and players manipulated their limbs to complete the games. While the concept was intriguing, the games usually failed to inspire. The Eye of Judgement is Sony’s first game for the Playstation 3 Eye, the successor to Eyetoy, and it marks a patently different approach than the previous generation.
The Eye of Judgement blends a trading card game and a digital camera into a fun multiplayer experience. Yu-gi-oh or Magic the Gathering fans will be instantly familiar with the style of game presented in The Eye of Judgement, with the addition of the Playstation Eye the only real difference between a traditional game and the Playstation version.
The full game contains a nine square cloth mat, a starter deck of thirty cards, a nine-card booster pack and the Playstation Eye. Players use the cards to wage war on an opponent, be they in the room, online or computer controlled; the cards are scanned in by the Playstation eye and their virtual counterparts menace and fight their way across players’ TV screens.
Like most trading card games, the rules are relatively easy to pick up but notoriously difficult to master; The Eye of Judgement has a rather steep learning curve for all but the veteran Magic player. That being said, once the careful balances are learnt, most will be able to engage in epic, well as epic as trading card games get, battles to decide the fate of The Eye of Judgement universe.
Players will receive mana points at the start of each turn, these points can be used to summon creatures (the stronger the creature, the more mana points required to summon it), place traps, cast spells, etc. The goal of each game is to control five of the nine squares and thereby the majority, and that’s it, it really is that simple. The rub is in placing each creature and each spell in the most effective position and to do the most damage to your opponent. Each square on the game mat is also representative of a different element which can massively affect the strength of a summoned creature. Patience and strategy is crucial for any hopeful player.
The game is a bit of an anomaly in the modern world of video gaming. The story is almost completely non-existent and the emphasis of the entire game is placed upon just one small facet of gameplay. There is nothing beyond the meat of the trading card game, but this narrow approach is designed to cater exclusively to the people who would have bought the game regardless, and not to extend the audience to approach mainstream success.
The key to enjoying The Eye of Judgement is to find a willing (and somewhat skillful) opponent. The computer is challenging to begin with but a flesh and blood adversary who can taunt you mercilessly or, even better, cry like a baby is crucial to the lifespan of the game. The game is a blast with the right foe and is more than worthy of its steep price tag.