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PS3 Fanboy review: The Eye of Judgment

It would've been interesting to be in the board room when the developers of The Eye of Judgment were giving their pitch to the Sony higher-ups. I can just imagine the crazed looks the developers got when they tried to explain their game was an augmented reality collectible card game using a peripheral that had previously been only used for party games. Everything about The Eye of Judgment's concept suggests that it shouldn't work -- it's way too esoteric, the barrier of entry is too high, and the technology behind it had never been tested before.

Luckily for us, Sony has much more forethought than I have, since The Eye of Judgment turns out to be one of the most innovative games in years. It's a darn good CCG as well. Utilizing the just-released PS Eye to turn your cards into actual 3D models on the screen, The Eye of Judgment offers the best example of augmented reality in videogames yet.

You place a card on the included cloth game mat and the camera identifies the card on the fly via a bar code type system, and a creature pops up on the screen. The game will keep track of all the gameplay elements for you, like how many cards you have in your library and your hand, what turn it is, and creature stats. The combination of holding real cards in your hands while also playing a video game is strangely thrilling, and not having to juggle all the rules and stats in your head is a nice change of pace from classic CCGs like Magic: The Gathering which have a rather ... complicated rule set.

Gallery: Eye of Judgment

At its core, The Eye of Judgment is a CCG fan's game (in fact it's more like a CCG fan's wet dream). You build 30 card decks and attempt to gain control over the majority of the game board's nine battlegrounds. The way you control a battleground is simply by summoning a creature to that square. On the first turn you can place the creature anywhere on the mat, but later turns you are limited to summoning creatures to squares that are touching other occupied battlegrounds. When you place a creature in front of a square occupied by an enemy creature, the two monsters will automatically attack each other (complete with nifty looking cutscenes). The goal is to occupy five battlegrounds at once, which means you will constantly attempt to kill off your enemy's creatures, while also trying to expand your own presence on the board.

Monopolizing the board is made harder by the fact that you only get two mana every turn. You can bank it for higher cost creatures and spells, but doing that has its own risk -- you're giving your enemy a chance to claim more of the valuable battlegrounds while you sit back and wait. You have to constantly analyze the risk of summoning cheap, weaker creatures, or save up for a big, powerful one. Unlike in games like Magic, a powerful monster isn't a game-breaker, largely due to the monsters' inability to move from the battleground they've been summoned to. Attacking after the turn they were summoned comes with additional mana costs. There are dozens of different strategies, and fortunes can change on the fly thanks to the excellent balancing and polish of the rules set.

The biggest disappointment of the game is the complete lack of a story mode in single player. There is a single-player aspect to The Eye of Judgment but it's merely challenging the CPU to individual matches. The CPU offers quite a challenge and you do get rewards for beating them but even a basic story mode would have made playing the game by yourself so much better (think Puzzle Quest). Although you can play online, or locally with friends, it's a shame Sony didn't put a little more effort into fleshing out the single-player experience.

You may not expect much in the way of graphics from a card game, but I was pleasantly surprised at how nice The Eye of Judgment looked. Running at 720p (sorry, no 1080i support), the gameboard displayed on the screen looks sharp and nicely detailed. The creatures themselves are full of personality and are nicely detailed, though the real eye-candy treats comes when the creatures attack each other. The game whips to a quick little cutscene where you get to watch the monsters tear into each other. The cutscenes are brief (around five seconds) and feature no load times. The one downside of the The Eye of Judgment's presentation is the horrible background music. It's generic guitar rock, ripped straight from Sonic Adventure, and it fails to match the tone and mood of the game itself.

The Eye of Judgment will appeal to some people very strongly, and will disagree with others just as strongly. Your enjoyment of The Eye of Judgment is largely dependent on whether or not you like CCGs. If you're somebody who's never understood all the fuss about Magic, Pokemon or Yu-Gi-Oh, you will unlikely be able to get into it. On the other hand, if you're a fan of those type of games, you will find The Eye of Judgment to be one of the most innovative titles of this generation. It is also one of the best CCGs to come along in ages. With the ability to play friends online, and regular expansion packs promised by Sony (every three months or so), you'll be playing The Eye of Judgment for a long, long time to come.

PS3 Fanboy score: 8.0

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Reader Comments

(Page 1)

1. It's not in any stores in my area. It was supposed to be available today, but something is going wrong with shipping. I live in the NW, I'm about a 4 hour drive from WotC HQ, and the game isn't anywhere. The best word I have from GameStop is that it will be there tomorrow. Any other folks having trouble getting their hands on this?

Posted at 3:23PM on Oct 24th 2007 by SaintWaldo

2. It's not like this is Sony's first CCG.

They have 2 CCG online games running already, this is just the 1st one using real cards and a camera. The rules are pretty much the same as the Pirates of the burning sea and Legends of Norrath. So the basic rule set was already there.

Posted at 3:28PM on Oct 24th 2007 by rd2000

3. same problem here

they said the shipment didnt come in at walmart, havent checked gamestop yet

Posted at 3:28PM on Oct 24th 2007 by Nazim

4. Checking gamestop's website shows it shipping 10/24 so they might not have it in the store till the day after.

Posted at 3:32PM on Oct 24th 2007 by Akamaru

5. Yea same with my Gamestop they aren't getting the game, decks, or boosters until tomorrow.

Posted at 3:36PM on Oct 24th 2007 by Spector

6. i hope they get it soon, im really excited to try this game out

Posted at 3:49PM on Oct 24th 2007 by Nazim

7. If anyone from sony is reading.
If there was a good reason(HOME?) to buy the camera itself(and its not too much more for the game) then i would buy it.
OR if they later came out w/ an expansion that had a good single player mode i would buy it.
Too bad i can't rent this cause it seems fun to play with even if just a little bit.

Posted at 4:00PM on Oct 24th 2007 by Eric E.

8. R&C: Future is out today though, and IGN scored it a 9.4 already. I will probably buy EoJ if I can find it anywhere. I talked to a Gamestop guy last night and he said Gamestop had to stop taking reservations for it early because they were only getting X number of copies per store and they had filled all the reserves.

Sounds like it'll be hard to get at Gamestop but there's always Best Buy and other B&Ms.

Posted at 4:35PM on Oct 24th 2007 by Popfrogs

9. I pre ordered mine cause the guy at EB games didn't think they would order any for stock.

Posted at 4:41PM on Oct 24th 2007 by Matt B

10. It wont be an issue for me as I wont be buying Eye of Judgment (i have just pre-ordered the EYE though) but, what features are there in place to stop people scanning the cards, printing to photo paper or card or whatever and passing them on to their friends?

Posted at 4:49PM on Oct 24th 2007 by PJ

11. PJ:
It is technically possible to print a copy of a card that will trick the PS eye. You have to have a pretty high quality scan of the card as well as a pretty good printer. It's a shame, and could make playing random people a sketchy situation.

As for scanning the cards and passing them to a friend, there are protections setup to prevent that. Even when you play online, you still have to have the cards there. The game tells you what your draw is, and then you get the card out.

The game does the best job possible at preventing cheating online, and overall it's pretty solid. The only real way to cheat is to print out the fake cards, and it's a decent bit of work and will only work when you're playing strangers (since friends are probably gonna get suspicious if you bust out a deck of solid rare cards).


Posted at 5:09PM on Oct 24th 2007 by Colin.Torretta

12. First : "1080i support" IS written on the box (at least on the european pack) and my HDTV is swipping to 1080i mode when i start the game.

Second : i HATE Magic, Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh but i really love Eye of Judgment. I have it since this morning and i cant stop playing ^^.

Posted at 5:53PM on Oct 24th 2007 by Khaliel

13. I talked with two Gamestop managers, and one doesn't even show it in the system, and the other (where I have my game reserved), said it showed on his packing list to receive one, but he didn't. Hopefully, this will be resolved soon, as I am anxious to play. "It's time to d-d-d-d-duel!" Just kidding guys!

Posted at 6:00PM on Oct 24th 2007 by Michael

14. You know I'm glad the game is out there but it's just not my cup of tea.

Posted at 6:44PM on Oct 24th 2007 by BlackBeltJones

15. I went to EB to get my pre order as mentioned above, it wasn't there, but R&C was. The dude took my receipt and futsed with his computer, looked around the back area and said it didn't come in.
"You know how the PS3 stuff is screwy..." he said.

"No, I don't know what you are talking about." I replied. "Every other pre order has made it on time." He looked at his incoming shipping thing I presume, and said to call on Friday.

I got home and the phone rang, it was the canned robot woman telling me the game would be in the store tomorrow afternoon. One more day won't hurt I guess.

Posted at 7:15PM on Oct 24th 2007 by Matt B

16. Not available yet in Portland Or., have to wait till tomorrow, debating about getting this or Ratchet, but they really screwed up with the hard drive glitch on that game, I wont touch it till they ship it fixed- who dropped the ball?

Posted at 8:18PM on Oct 24th 2007 by Ted

17. Colin, I thought exactly what you thought. It seemed rather esoteric to me, too good to be true. After this review, I am so tempted to just get it, but I probably won't, because I would want a storyline for single-player experience. The other really unfortunate thing is the horrible music, I can hear it now. Big down, yet because of the innovation I feel like the 8.0 rating is appropriate.


Matt B, I hear you man, the Gamestop I go to is PS3 hostile. I went to get R&C today (score! haven't put it in, yet, delaying the ecstasy, I suppose...), and the first dude was like, Oh, we haven't scanned the shipment.

I had called earlier and spoken to the manager who said to check back around 11 or 12. It was 12:32, and I was on my lunch break.

The manager dude, he says, yeah, we have it, I scanned it in, already.

This other bloke, he says, "You didn't scan it in!"

He's telling this to the manager.

The manager asks me, "Did you pre-order it?"

I felt a stab of fear.

"Uh, no..." I say, my face betraying a sudden onset of fear.

I stammered.

"But I have cash?" I look in my wallet and there's some hundreds, to pay the rent.

The other guy's body language is that he totally does not want to help me.

He says something like, "It's not in the drawer!" to the manager.

The manager says, "It's in that drawer," and the guy just stands there, so the manager opens the drawer and hands him a copy of R&C.

This guy starts to ring it up, his body language is yucky, and he says to me, "I didn't really see any difference from the ps2 versions."

He really said that.


So I said, "Oh, there's a huge difference, you saw the demo?"

"Yeah, but..."

I say, "It's basically like Toy Story" (I couldn't remember the name, "Pixar" at that moment)

The manager has my back.

"Yeah, it is," he says.

Posted at 9:17PM on Oct 24th 2007 by John

18. @John: That happened to me once - and I flipped out on the guy so badly, that the manager nearly fired the guy. =) Sometimes it's okay to act like a psycho, and sometimes it's not. In this case, a "WTF IS YOUR PROBLEM WITH ME??" is sufficient. Of, course, I usually go into GameStop when I'm wearing my workbadge - it intimidates those who think they know something about technology. I'd tell you who I work for, but I wouldn't want to see you "disappear"... and no, it isn't M$! XD

@Everyone: BTW, it isn't ANYWHERE in MA, either! =/ Where the hell is this game, anyway??

Posted at 10:01PM on Oct 24th 2007 by Consolcwby

19. checked multiple stores in NYC area - they all had no clue when it was coming out or said it will be there 10/25/07... boooo :(

Posted at 10:13PM on Oct 24th 2007 by hater06

20. There was shipping problem and they won't be arriving to most locations until tomorrow. I'd love to get this, but the whole copy/print the cards seems like a real bummer.

Posted at 11:06PM on Oct 24th 2007 by Dru

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