The Eye of Judgment - PS3 - Preview 2
PAX 2007 Preview
Back in July, SCEA treated some media to a demonstration of its new ‘EyeToy’-based trading card game, Eye of Judgment, during E3 in Santa Monica. The game seems pretty straightforward and a preview was written about it (http://ps3.gamezone.com/gzreviews/p32392.htm).
Essentially, EoJ melds tabletop trading-card games with the processing power of the PS3 and the new PlayStation Eye (the successor to the PS2’s EyeToy) to inject a bit of life into the traditional game mechanics. The peripheral result is that it is likely to bring more people into the trading card game.
The game is played on a 3x3 map consisting of nine territories. Win five of the territories and you can win the game. But there are more nuances to it than simply playing an expanded version of tic-tac-toe. The cards all have mana costs and while you gain mana with each turn, you may not have the sufficient banked mana to play the power cards. Cards can also only attack in certain ways. For example, you might have a catapult that has blind spots to the side and rear, and it cannot attack anything in the tile directly in front of it. It can only attack a tile on the other side of the tile it touches. You might have a “were” card that may or may not transform. A farmer may become a fearsome lizardman, or remain a pathetic weak farmer with a low attack rating and low hit points.
The cards are all encoded and can be read by the camera (which is used to translate the game from two-dimensional card tabletop game to a three-dimensional graphically vibrant video game).
Seeing the game is one thing, playing it is something else. This is a game of luck and strategy. You can play a card that gives bonuses to other cards, or a card that attacks all opponents within a certain tile type. The tile types are tied to natural elements (for the most part), following wood, dirt, water, fire and you have to be careful in the placement lest you weaken a card simply in the placement process.
SCEA representatives were on hand to answer questions, but few would indulge in a game. After standing and staring at the animations, Gamers With Jobs Content Editor Cory Banks asked if I would play. I was quick to explain that I knew next to nothing about the strategic elements, had never played a trading card game and was not even knowledgeable enough to call myself a neophyte. He promised to take it easy and help me understand the game. To that end, the cards I drew to my hand were placed face up in front of me. He told me what costs were associated with what cards, where certain cards could be played, plus what I should be thinking of (much like one would plan out several advance moves in chess). Honestly, I think Cory was so engrossed in helping me understand the game that he made a mistake in his moves, a mistake that would be costly.
Eye of Judgment is a beautiful game – on screen. The cards are easy to use, though the small type might case some problems for anyone with a stigmatism and without glasses. There is a great sense of joy in placing a card, watching the fight unfold on the monitor and seeing your opponent swing and miss, and your controlled characters retaliate for damage.
While the game has a definite learning curve, it is also a lot of fun. Still on track for a fall release, Eye of Judgment will provide a perfect introduction to the world of trading-card games, or take those tried-and-true veterans of the genre and give them a fast-paced new challenge. After only playing the game once, it was easy to understand why the game was drawing a good-sized crowd eager to get their hands on the cards and game during the Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle.