PS2 REVIEW: EYE TOY: PLAY 2

I'm a big fan of the Eye Toy. I've said before that this is the wave of the future in gaming but it's going to take some time before we reach the peak. Eye Toy: Play 2 is an advancement on my theory of gaming evolution but this invention is still being marketed as a toy. Like a MP3 player we can still enjoy the fruits offered by the medium but we must also marvel at the technology that allows us to feed at the electronic trough.

One innovation that doesn't just hint at things to come but screams it out loud is the Spy Toy which is a fully functioning security camera system. In this mode you can set the Eye Toy camera to detect and record movement within a room. When the camera senses motion it can be programmed to record the intruder for playback later or it can sound an alarm if you're more concerned about an immediate threat. You don't have to be paranoid to put this to good use but once you see the parade of strange creatures passing by your camera each night you may want to purchase the Eye Toy Instant Death Ray Laser System which may or may not be available in the future.

What the Eye Toy does in this version is get the player more immersed in the game. There is more action and movement required from the participants. Instead of standing still and only moving your hands or arms, there are games that require you to move your entire body. In the soccer game you are transposed on the screen in a small window set inside the net. As the goalie you must move your body around to change the view of the screen so that you can block balls within the context of the onscreen action just like an actual soccer videogame. For even more realism, in the baseball game you swing your arms like a bat to hit the ball and then wave your hands to run through the bases when the game changes perspectives from hitter to runner.

The tracking is excellent as long as you take the time to properly calibrate your body into the system and make sure that you have consistent lighting. There are some games that require a blank, white wall in order to make the real background disappear in order to substitute an artificial one. Up to four players can take place in some of the game but this isn't a real party game per se. To get the most out of the system it should be relegated to tracking just one person. All the players would be too far away from the TV screen in order to all fit on camera to see the detail of games such as ping pong and pool.

Improvements to the graphics have been noted although the captured images are still a bit on the low-res side. The entire game has a friendly and lighthearted vibe to it that doesn't necessarily pander to kids although they are the demographic that will get the most out of this game. The tunes are high spirited and the sound effects are pure cartoon. It's hard not to like this game.

Games include the ones already mentioned along with air guitar, drums, kung fu fighting and a cooking game where you slice, dice, chop and grate your way to the title of top chef. All of the games are interesting but they are diverse which means that they probably won't all appeal to each individual. These are mini-games and as such they have a short shelf life. I don't want to use the word "novelty" but you won't get tons of replay value out of these games. I don't really want to use the word "rental," but if you read between the lines I think you'll know what I'm getting at. In the meantime I'll let you know when the future gets here.

Click For Media
System: PS2
Dev: Sony London
Pub: Sony
Release: Aug 2005
Players: 1 - 4
Review by Dan
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
3.0
GRAPHICS
3.0
CONTROL
4.0
MUSIC/FX
3.0
VALUE
2.5