The Eye of Judgment: Conquerors of 9 Fields PS3 Preview - 16/05/2007

If someone asked you to name a next-gen concept associated with the Playstation 3, what would you say? Massive online capabilities promised by Home, the sharing of content within Little Big Planet, or perhaps a card game. That’s right; the latest game in the works from Sony is in fact a card game.

Introducing a new camera is one thing but if the games with it aren’t good enough to sustain the technology it could end up being something you only get out at Christmas or birthday parties to show the rellies. So when Sony showed off a tech demo of a series of interactive cards a while back I started to wonder if this could be what the Eye Toy always wanted but never achieved. Originally starting out as a tech demo last year, The Eye of Judgement has now evolved into a rather attractive strategy card game. Using the next-gen version of the popular Eye Toy camera, now known as the Playstation Eye, players will be able to interact with 3D fights on screen using playing cards.

The game is played out in the usual turn based fashion with players taking turns against computer AI or fellow combatants. The main focus of the game revolves around the playing field which is constructed from 9 squares, arranged in a 3x3 format, with the aim of each match being to try and “capture” 5 of these 9 tiles using your deck of various monsters and power ups. This is set up in front of the included camera and appears on screen. Modifiers such as water, earth and lava are then assigned to some, or all, of the tiles on screen using animations and graphics to bring life into the playing mat. But it’s not until you start to add monsters into the equation that things start to really take off.

Monsters are found on cards and placed into the battle field. Each card contains a unique code which is picked up by the camera when brought into play. Your creatures are then produced in 3D on screen right from the card itself allowing you to interact with them and move them around the field. Each turn, players will be able to lay down more cards providing they have enough “mana”. This is dealt to each player at the start of the match along with their initial starting hand. Action cards can be played and attacks can also be performed each turn. Attacking is when the serious strategy commences, with each monster having different abilities, strengths and weaknesses you have to try and stay ahead of your opponent. For example, some creatures may only be able to attack directly forward whereas others can affect enemies within a larger range. The modifiers that affect the playing fields tiles also have effect. Place a water based card on a fire tile and its effectiveness will be greatly reduced, place it on a water modifier however and your adversaries wont know what hit ‘em.

Sony could probably sell the game on the fact alone that it has “monsters that appear in the palm of your hand” (put that on the box and it’s a winner!). But then it wouldn’t be much fun to play. A solid single player campaign is therefore included. At the moment the plot details are pretty much non-existent but I’m thinking some sort of “end of the world with monsters and magic” story will provide weight to the action. Whether this structured style of gameplay will get repetitive or not depends entirely on how many cards will be available to use. Initially, included in the bundle, you will get a starter deck of 30 cards and a booster pack of randomly selected cards. So right from the off you will be able to start customising and creating your own “team” of monsters. Anyone who has played a card game involving various characters and special abilities will feel right at home. The game should be easy to get into for everyone else as well though due to the very good looking graphics and monster animations.

Battles online will be played out in much the same way as those offline. However, with the inclusion of human rivals, and the many different combinations of possible decks available, you may have to rethink your strategies. I am unsure as to how cheaters will be stopped online at the moment though. Playing offline against friends will not be a problem, but something will need to be introduced to stop people simply searching through their deck for their most powerful creatures or vital power ups online.

The Eye of Judgement is looking to provide a new level of interaction for card games and could be the Playstation 3’s first killer peripheral. With the promise of booster packs and the limitless strategies this could provide, this is shaping up to be, in my opinion, one of this years most exciting games.

- Lee Harris

The Eye of Judgement is scheduled for release later this year and comes with the camera, camera stand, starter deck, booster pack, playing field and software.


Sony CE
SCE Japan