The Eye of Judgment Review
There have been a few attempts before to merge the worlds of collectible card games and video games. There have been card games based on video games, video games based on card games, and even some video games that created their own virtual card collecting game. The closest we've come in the past to a video game that actually made direct use of real collectible cards was Mattel's lackluster Hyperscan system. Now we have Eye of Judgment, a game that utilizes the power of the PlayStation 3 and its new PlayStation Eye camera to literally bring your collectible cards into the game. Let's put it under the judging eye of a game reviewer and see if it makes for some fun gameplay...
Eye of Judgment comes with the game, a playing mat, a starter deck of cards, a booster pack, and a PlayStation Eye camera. I guess that in the world of next gen consoles, camera peripherals are no longer toys and the EyeToy name of the PS2's camera peripheral has been shortened to simply Eye. Set-up is pretty easy - just layout the mat, piece together the included camera stand and place the Eye on it, plug the Eye's USB cable into your PS3 and you're ready to go. I wish that the Eye's cable was longer; as it stands there is a very limited area in front of the TV where you can spread your mat and play the game. A long cable would have allowed most people to move the game to their coffee table.
The first time that you play the game it will provide you with a lengthy and detailed tutorial. While it doesn't give you much insight into game strategy, it does a good job of teaching you the rules of the game and the role of the camera in the game.
Placing the camera on the included stand allows it to look down on the playing area, which consists of a three by three grid of squares. The playing area includes spots for your deck and discards, but these are not monitored by the camera. As you play, the game projects the image of the playing surface on the screen and it overlays this with animated images when actions take place. Whether you are playing against the AI or another player the game acts as referee and rule monitor, keeping track of the current phase, informing you of when it is time to draw a card, and other similar things.
The basics of gameplay will be familiar to anyone who has spent any time playing collectible card games. You assemble a set number of cards as a playing deck which you shuffle before play. You then draw a set number of cards to form your hand of cards that can be played during the next turn. Cards are either monsters that can be put into play to fight for you or are spells that can be put into play to affect the game situation. Each card is rated in a number of categories, the most basic of which is the cost in magic points required to bring the card into play. Each turn you will generate a certain number of magic points that can be spent or saved up for a subsequent turn.