Sony PlayStation Eye and Eye of Judgment PS3 game
- The Eye's light sensitivity has improved, it's cheat-proof
- The soundtrack and onscreen animations could get annoying at times
If you're into collectible card games, several hundred dollars for a PlayStation 3 and another additional cost for the game and Eye hardware make Eye of Judgment the most expensive card game in history. On the other hand, we can't say we've ever enjoyed a collectible card game as much, if only for the inexplicable satisfaction derived from watching your TV screen respond in elaborate detail to basic physical gestures with fluid animations and flashy explosions and plenty of cheesy, booming fantasy voiceovers.
It's difficult to imagine a weirder way to inaugurate Sony's new all-grown-up sounding PlayStation Eye than with a counter-intuitively sedentary fantasy card game called Eye of Judgment.
Can you believe that it's been four years since Sony's EyeToy, a glorified webcam for the PlayStation 2, had kids immodestly hopping, dancing, and flailing in front of TV screens? It was, of course, well before the Nintendo Wii muscled in on motion-control turf.
While the EyeToy failed to grow beyond a handful of "designed for" singing and dancing games, it hailed a new group of players waiting in the wings to "get physical" with their home entertainment.
It's therefore hard to imagine a weirder way to inaugurate Sony's new all-grown-up sounding PlayStation Eye -- the EyeToy's enhanced successor for the PlayStation 3 -- than with a counter-intuitively sedentary fantasy card game called Eye of Judgment.
A card game? That's right, an honest-to-goodness deck-shuffler with physical playing cards that you actually hold in your hand.
Needless to say, if sitting a few metres from your TV hunched over a table and feeding those cards to an overhanging camera aimed at a cloth map (not you) sounds like the height of ho-hum-ness, Sony's new PlayStation 3 fantasy strategy game Eye of Judgment (which comes bundled with the Eye, or is it the other way around?) may not be for you.
It's certainly an odd way to usher in a peripheral at least some gamers were hoping might turn their PlayStation 3 into a PlayStation "Wii".
Instead, Eye of Judgment bids you assemble an 28cm-tall plastic stand, slip the new PlayStation Eye camera in at a 45-degree angle, place that stand along one side of a two-colour 45cm² cloth "battle mat" positioned in front of your TV, and plug the Eye's 1.8m (6ft) USB cable into your PlayStation 3.
After watching a few clear and easy-to-follow videos explaining the rules of the game (including a session that walks you through a few rounds) you're ready to go.
Eye see you (or your cards, anyway)
Think "collectible card game" meets a scan device that can read those cards and supplement a simulated 3D version of the game on your TV -- replete with dozens of ritzy battle animations. On a grid composed of nine "fields", players take turns drawing creature or spell cards from a prebuilt deck of 30 and then positioning them in various ways to initiate battle actions.
Most require magical energy or "mana", which automatically increases as rounds tick by. Each space corresponds to a major and minor element (fire, water, earth, wood, and one neutral called "Biolith"), which either help or hinder occupying creatures by augmenting or curtailing their elemental abilities.
Spells like "Fissures of Goghlie" can be employed to "flip" spaces, reversing major and minor elements, something that can benefit a poorly placed allied unit. You'll more often employ it to cripple your opponent's army. While turn time can be adjusted up from one minute to "infinite", games generally resolve quickly -- typically in 15-20 minutes -- ending when one player successfully occupies five of the game's nine fields.
As a card game, Eye of Judgment doesn't distinguish itself from other more established franchises such as Magic the Gathering with its spells and summoned creatures and mana-driven mechanics, relying instead on the Eye to radicalise gameplay.
In the "Battle Arena", placing cards face up on the map automatically triggers the Eye, which reads a quasi-runic 2D barcode on each card to input which unit you've selected, where it's at on the board, and in which direction it's facing.
Intentionally cheesy "Mortal Kombat!"-style voices echo, battles ensue, stagy combat animations play onscreen (these can be disabled for faster turns), annoying heavy metal music grinds or plays up-tempo to complement pacing, and so on. Occasionally special "action" cards can be held up to the Eye (or, in melodramatic game lingo, "offered") to trigger special actions, check a card's status, or end your turn prematurely for strategic purposes.
On a technical note, where the EyeToy required bright ambient or direct light, the Eye can function as well in naturally-lit daytime interiors as indirect night-time lamplight, although it's crucial that the lighting be even. We tested the game mostly using lamps with average-brightness light bulbs positioned approximately a metre or so to either side of the battle mat. We had to readjust a card to get it to scan properly only once.
It's impossible to tell how competitive the Eye may eventually be with the Wii in terms of motion detection and camera resolution, but its light sensitivity has clearly been improved over the EyeToy's.
Online play works in essence the same as offline. After registering your deck by scanning in your cards, the computer automatically shuffles and draws for both sides to prevent cheating, although you still position your cards on the board itself.
While Sony claims to be devising a "plan of action" to deal with counterfeiting, ie, players willing to use high-quality colour reproduction technology to fool the camera by printing off cards they don't own, it's not clear how this would work. (Though at just a few cents per booster pack, the cost of printing at high-enough resolution on expensive paper may deter would-be thieves).
In any event, the game itself seems cheat-proof thanks to the check-and-balance deck registration system and ironclad process by which turns proceed.
Is the Eye really necessary here? Not at all. Would Eye of Judgment work just as well if you were tapping buttons on a gamepad to manipulate virtual 3D cards? Technically speaking, sure. But like Nintendo, Sony's betting we'll get a kick out of physically shuffling and slapping cards down on a table. In essence, Sony has merely come up with a clever way to pair the familiar physicality of collecting and handling real cards with the offbeat peculiarity of playing a pseudo-robotic computer opponent.
It's therefore tough to identify who is in the audience for since its appeal seems more novelty- than necessity-driven.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
- 2 LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- 3 Tag Heuer Connected Smartwatch and Android Wear 2 review
- 4 Subaru XV 2017 review
- 5 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Griffin's PowerMate is the Surface Dial dead-ringer that's trapped in Mac land
- Take a ride on Positron’s Voyager, a full-motion chair for VR cinema
- Intel showed how 5G networking will power VR and self-driving cars
- Sony's Android-powered Xperia projector turns any flat surface into a touch screen
- IBM's hub for wearables could have you out of the hospital faster
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
- MSI GE72 7RE Apache Pro gaming laptop review
- LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSocial Media Executive / Specialist (Facebook) - online gamblingNSW
- CCSolution ArchitectNSW
- FTTest Analyst (Datawarehouse)SA
- TPChange Management - Multi-stream people change program**NSW
- TPWeb DeveloperSA
- CCProcurement & Contract SpecialistNSW
- TPEOI - JAVA DeveloperACT
- FTSenior Business AnalystNSW
- CCBusiness AnalystNSW
- CCState-wide Business Transition Lead - BrisbaneNSW
- CCSolution ArchitectQLD
- TPBusiness Analyst - Change and Process ImprovementQLD
- TPServiceNow ConsultantVIC
- CCInfrastructure Business AnalystNSW
- FTBI and Report DeveloperQLD
- CCPega DeveloperVIC
- CCDisaster Recovery SpecialistQLD
- FTProject Manager - Accountin Finance and AssetWA
- FTNetwork Solution Architect -Telecommunications InfrastructureNSW
- TPSenior Java Developer - Contract till June 2018QLD
- FTSales Client Services Manager (Mid-market)QLD
- FTNV1 Cleared Software Engineer (Mid level) - Defence Projects - North Ryde areaNSW
- TPICT Customer Support OfficerNSW
- TPBusiness AnalystNSW
- FTLooking for Lead Solution ArchitectACT