Combining the Japanese development team's work on CyberCode technology with the PlayStation Eye has created a revolution in the way we interact with games on PlayStation.
The Eye of Judgment is stunning, as the characters and creatures literally spring to life from the cards as they're played. It may look complicated and daunting, but nothing could be further from the truth. Although there is a great deal of strategy to master in The Eye of Judgment, learning how to play is comparable with chess, a few simple rules providing many variations.
The Eye of Judgment is played on a three by three grid, much like noughts and crosses. The object of the game however is not to get three in a row but to control five out of the nine fields of the grid at the end of your turn. Each field can only contain one card at any given time, the owner of which will control that field.
Every field and creature card is based upon one of five elemental types - Fire, Water, Earth, Wood or Biolith. Apart from the mechanical Biolith the remaining elements form two opposing sets - Fire vs. Water and Earth vs. Wood. Creatures played on fields of their own element are strengthened, while those played on an opposing element are weakened, even perishing if they're not robust enough.
Each turn you gain two Mana with which to a summon creature or cast spells from the cards in your hand. You can also spend Mana to activate abilities of creatures already in play, causing them to attack or hamper your opponent's minions.
Creature cards make up the majority of your deck. Each card contains all of the information relevant to that creature, including any special rules. Spell cards range from quite passive effects such as sacrificing a creature in your hand to gain more Mana to fieldquaking the battlefield, which allows you to flip a field to its secondary element.
This may sound quite complex but this is where PlayStation 3 comes into its own. To coin one of Hasbro's phrases The Eye of Judgment "removes the need for heavy lifting." PlayStation 3 takes charge of organising your turn, processing the cards you play, combat between creatures and checking whether victory conditions have been met; in short all of the calculations, the heavy stuff you must do yourself when playing a Collectable Card Game. The Eye of Judgment frees you from the nitty gritty letting you get down to the strategy and, in the two player modes, the social side of playing games.
It is the social side of The Eye of Judgment where this new use of PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Eye really comes into its own. Not only does it add a new and exciting visual dimension to playing a card game with friends it also removes one of the traditional problems of playing Collectable Card Games - having time to arrange and travel to games. The Eye of Judgment supports online play, allowing you to play against your friends and peers via PlayStation Network, while supporting full voice chat that utilises the PlayStation Eye's in-built microphone, as well as a more traditional two player mode.
To play online you must register a deck with The Eye of Judgment. This can be easily done with the Deck Builder, which in many ways is at the heart of the strategy. The choice of what cards and in what ratios - you can include up to three of the same non-unique card in a deck - can be tailored to match your own style of play and card preferences. It is possible to create decks based entirely on the element of Wood for example or perhaps a deck based around the concept of playing lots of small creatures with low Summoning costs to gain a fast win. In online games, the PlayStation 3 system will determine which cards from your registered 30 card deck are in your hand, so there is no room for error or cheating.
Like other Collectable Card Games, additional cards with which to construct and customise your decks are available in Booster Packs, much like those you can buy with sticker albums. Each pack contains eight cards, which you can use to supplement the 30 cards that come with the game as standard. This is another key strength as The Eye of Judgment is expandable. As time goes on, more cards will become available which will keep the game fresh and challenging, enabling you to explore and develop new strategies.
The Eye of Judgment sets out to do something new, to combine old fashioned Collectable Card Games with next generation home entertainment, creating a new way of playing both. With Hasbro's tried and tested experience and Sony CSL's CyberCode technology being employed via the PlayStation Eye, those involved have achieved this and more. Taking the Collectable Card Game online but removing the heavy lifting aspects, while giving you the freedom to collect, trade, and even play The Eye of Judgment like a traditional Collectable Card Game, has created a game which is greater than the sum of its elements.