Watching “Eye of Judgment” breathe life into an otherwise pedestrian trading card game isalmost magical when first witnessed. The creatures depicted on a card pop to life, doing battle with an opponent’s miniature menagerie. But after the first couple of matches, the magic willl lose its sizzle for most gamers, leaving a fun experience anchored to an armful of equipment. Only the most zealous card-based role-playing game fan will find the setup worth the trouble.
“Eye of Judgment” is, essentially, an animated version of “Magic the Gathering.” It uses an included high-def camera to read the tiny code imprinted along the top and bottom of otherwise normal looking trading cards that feature creatures with a set of points assigned to them. Once the game recognizes the card that is laid out on the mat, it materializes the character on the television.
Moving the card also moves the creature in real time. The object is to capture five of the nine spaces, destroying the opponents avatars in quick battles that are largely determined by the cards’ point attributes. Games are generally well balanced and can be played in a satisfyingly short amount of time.
The gee-wiz factor of knowing that the Playstation 3 recognizes those cards and springs them to life is impressive, but doesn’t actually change the game in any real way. In fact, “Eye of Judgment” could easily be played, without the graphics, on a real table, in a real home, without the need of an expensive console.
Anyone who wouldn’t enjoy that experience likely won’t ultimately be enamored by “Eye of Judgment.” But Sony is most likely just hoping to get a devoted group of “Magic the Gathering” fans to become PS3 owners through this game and then continue to make money off of them by with upcoming add-on card packs.