|System: PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: SONY Japan||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SONY||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 23, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Matt Cabral
The Eye of Judgment could have easily been a far-reaching concept cooked-up by a couple of fantasy/sci-fi- loving adolescents hanging at a comic book shop, kicking back too many Red Bulls; "Dude, imagine a game that combines collectible cards and video games? How sweet would it be to have the cards come to life on your TV?" Instead it's a high profile holiday release on Sony's new next-gen hardware. Whether or not too much Red Bull was consumed during Sony's pitch meetings is yet to be determined.
Regardless of its origins, Eye of Judgment has arrived, offering gamers an entirely fresh experience in an industry that's cluttered with clones. Its concept of bringing collectible card games to life by having the action play out on-screen, rather than in your imagination, is well executed, addictive, and fun. However, can a title with a potentially tiny niche audience survive in a world where Master Chief reigns supreme?
For those still a bit fuzzy on what Eye of Judgment is all about, think of it as the closest thing in real life to Harry Potter's wizard chess or that crazy holographic board game Chewbacca and R2-D2 played on the Millenium Falcon in the original Star Wars, the one where the pawns came to life and attacked each other. Using the PS3 Eye (basically the next-gen version of the Eye Toy camera), a nine-squared gaming mat, and a deck of cards, the game is played similarly to a traditional collectible card game such as Magic: The Gathering or Yu-Gi-Oh!. The difference here is when the cards are placed on the mat the camera reads and then translates them into animated action on your TV. Technically you could play Eye of Judgment with just the cards; it works as a stand-alone card game. And, as that, it actually holds up really well. Magic: The Gathering creators Wizards of the Coast are behind the game and its mechanics, so hardcore CCG fans can rest assured that the core game wasn't treated as an afterthought or even produced by inexperienced game makers.
That being said, Eye of Judgment isn't nearly as deep or complex a game as Magic, so the most seasoned card-shufflers might not appreciate it unless they're interested in checking out this new, novel execution. Despite the game being relatively simple to grasp, it does offer plenty of room for players to spread their strategic wings. Make no mistake, despite the Hollywood-caliber fantasy violence taking place on your TV, this is still a satisfying cerebral experience. Without getting lost in a whirl of mana, element, point, and creature references trying to explain the specifics of the rules, we'll give you the Cliffs Notes version. Starting with a five card hand you'll play head-to-head against an opponent, summoning creatures and casting spells until someone controls five of the nine mat squares. Of course, as with any card game, what cards you hold and how you play them adds countless layers of strategy, and ultimately will determine the outcome of each match.