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The Eye of Judgment - hands-on

Sept 27, 2007

Without question, The Eye of Judgment is the coolest-looking thing we've ever seen a game-console camera do. Developed in conjunction with Wizards of the Coast (the company behind Magic: The Gathering), Eye of Judgment merges collectible-card gaming with the PS3's PlayStation Eye camera to create a videogame that can visually recognize actual cards and project an animated, monster onto them onscreen for strategic battles. It's an instant wet dream for CCG fans, but how does it play? We've tackled a complete version of the game - which is due in stores on Oct. 23 - to find out.

First off, Eye of Judgment comes packaged with a fair amount of stuff; in addition to the game, you'll also get the PlayStation Eye camera, a cloth mat with nine squares and a rigid plastic stand for pointing the Eye at the mat. You'll also get a starter deck of 34 cards, with more available at retail. Setup is relatively simple; after you've got the stand assembled and the camera pointing at the mat, you'll be asked to make sure that the camera can recognize a card, and if it doesn't, you'll need to tinker with a couple of incomprehensible settings until it does. Once that's out of the way, it's time to get your game on.

At the heart of Eye of Judgment is its Battle Arena, a relatively simple, turn-based game for two players. Using a 30-card deck, the object is to summon monsters and cast spells until your horrors and behemoths occupy five of the nine squares, at which point you win. Cards are activated by placing them into the squares you want to occupy/affect, and their orientation matters - once they come to life, your monsters will attack whatever their facing, and they'll be much more vulnerable if something comes at them from the back or sides.

At the start of each turn, you'll be awarded a few points of mana that you can spend on summoning stuff. Each card has a corresponding mana value; weaker cards like "Beguiling Elf Archeress" and "Skeleton Soldier" only cost one or two points to summon, respectively, while more powerful ones eat more mana - like the devastating "Phaseus, Biolith God," which costs nine mana but deals massive damage to everything on the map the second he shows up. 

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