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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 2)

21. Most stores I talked to said they wouldn't be carrying it. GameCrazy said they were, but they didn't have it on the 23rd and said to check back on the 24th. I called on the 24th and they said "not here yet, probably tomorrow."

So, I thought I'd stop by the evil empire (Best Buy). I asked a couple guys that worked IN the game department. They'd never heard of it and couldn't find it in the computer. I checked their spelling and sure enough it was in the computer. But still they just stood there with a confused stare for some reason. Maybe they were thinking "a game came out for PS3? that can't be right." I had to prod them... "so, do you have it in?" "Ummm. Uhhh."

A manager walked by and said "what game are you looking for?" I told him and he said "yeah, we got a shipment of those." They had 18 of them sitting the back... they didn't even put them on the shelves!
Wow, that's really gonna move a lot of product. I bet they didn't forget to put Halo on the shelves...

By the way, this Best Buy devotes more shelf space to Xbox controllers than all the PS3 stuff combined. I don't understand it... just tons and tons of Xbox controllers. And the PS3 demo display is always obfuscated and turned off.

Posted at 3:27AM on Oct 25th 2007 by Larz

22. i got it it okay..imma return it..and it all mess up now..but i got a replacment plan from best buy im from alaska..ding this game is weak..i rather play..oblivion

Posted at 6:41AM on Oct 25th 2007 by jellotrack


i have some picture of arite..check it out

Posted at 6:42AM on Oct 25th 2007 by jellotrack

24. i recommend people not to buy arite..but kinda sloppy..and the lighting if not perfect it takes like..hekka long for the card to be i recomended a no no...i dontk now why but im hoeping to get it replace and imma just leave it for show ima not play it no more check out picture on

i got it at bestbuy 10-24-2007 it was weak

Posted at 6:47AM on Oct 25th 2007 by jellotrack

25. Jellotrack,

Have you played any other CCG's before this? Like Magic or pokemon?

Posted at 9:58AM on Oct 25th 2007 by Matt B

26. I can't wait to put my hands on it! I've just seen the video demonstration ( and I got crazy about this game. I haven't played it yet, but as I watched in this video, the gaming experience looks simply amazing. The integration with physical objects in virtual gaming creates great 3D graphics and a lot of action. Just waiting 'till it's in the stores around here to try it.

Posted at 10:09AM on Oct 25th 2007 by Scott

27. Picked mine up in Portland, Or this morning, Oct 25. I suspect the forest fires had something to do with this, but that's just a guess. It seems the west coast units have arrived.

Posted at 2:19PM on Oct 25th 2007 by SaintWaldo


Posted at 5:34PM on Oct 25th 2007 by jellotrack

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