Oct 23, 2007
Those who play fantasy card games need big imaginations. To normal folk they’re just people sitting round their kitchen table flipping cards at one another, but in their minds they’re mighty goblins and sexy elves taking part in epic mythical battles. But in The Eye of Judgment you don’t have to imagine your cards coming to life, because they do, in hi-def. How? Magic. Except by “magic” we mean “a small plastic camera attached to a stand that reads barcodes on cards.”
Anyway, when you buy the game your box of tricks contains a disc, a pack of cards with lots of different monsters on them, a plastic stand, a PlayStation Eye and a cloth playing mat with a three by three grid on it. Setting it all up is an absolute chore and calibrating the camera is simple. Then when you’ve sorted everything out it’s time to battle.
Or not, because first you have to watch the tutorial. And don’t think you’re Johnny Hardcore and can just pick it up as you go along. It’s incredibly dull and goes on for about half an hour, but when it’s done… well, we had to watch it again because we still couldn’t figure it out.
But when you finally get to grips with everything you realise that the core mechanics are actually pretty solid. It’s basically a turn-based RPG - the sort of thing you get in Final Fantasy - but controlled completely by cards. Summon up a monster by placing a creature card somewhere on the right section of the cloth mat, give it an action by placing an action card on top of it, or cast a spell with a pink spell card. The computer will do the same, and then your monsters fight. Elements also come into play. For example, summon a water beast on a piece of fiery terrain and it’ll be severely weakened.
There is plenty of room for tactics. Different summons have their own attack radius, and facing in a certain direction will increase your chances of defending. But the major problem is how repetitive it can become. You’ll grow tired of seeing the same battle animations and hearing the same audio samples over and over again
The Eye of Judgment is damn clever, and played online or with another person in the same room it really shines. But more depth and some kind of Story mode would have made it score much higher.