Review: The Eye of Judgment: Legends

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The Eye of Judgment is a game that always seems to be forgotten in discussions about notable PS3 exclusives. I guess that’s because it is a card game, and card games are generally regarded as a fairly niche genre — especially a card game like Eye of Judgment which requires the PlayStation Eye camera and physical trading cards to play.

If those requirements turned you away from the PS3 version or you just want a solid digital trading card game to play with on the road, you may want to give Eye of Judgment: Legends for the PSP a shot.

Legends brings the core rules and gameplay of its console counterpart to the PSP with a bit more balance and accessibility – all 300+ cards are digital, so no camera attachments or booster pack purchases required here. The interface is also clean and easy to use, which is actually an improvement over the PS3 version, which does suffer from occasional camera recognition quirks.

The Eye of Judgment is essentially a crossbreed of Magic the Gathering and Chess. Battles take place on a 3-x-3 grid, and the nine squares that make up the grid are each tied to an elemental affinity (water, fire, earth, etc.). The objective is to take over the board by summoning creatures to seize control of any five blocks at a single time. Once a player has four blocks, the enemy is put in check. And then if the fifth and final block is captured, that player wins the match.

Each player starts with a 30-card deck (you can create up to 16 different decks too) and begins each match with a hand of five cards. At the start of each turn, you draw a card and are allotted two mana points, which you can use to summon a creature into play, cast a spell, rotate a creature’s orientation on the board, and/or activate an attack command for an existing creature unit. Creatures automatically attack adjacent enemy creatures upon being summoned, but subsequent attacks require mana. And that’s basically what you do to win: balance mana use and creature placement to outmaneuver your foe.

The gameplay isn’t as complex as some other trading card games, but Legends does have plenty of tactical depth to offer. There are a lot of different deck builds to consider, and many subtle strategies to think about when playing out a match.



Killing an opposing wizard’s creature, for example, isn’t always as beneficial to your cause as you might think. Whenever a creature is killed its caster gains a mana point, and that one extra mana can actually help your opponent in certain situations.

Creatures also have varying attack patterns – some attack the adjacent space they are facing, some attack two spaces forward, some simultaneously attack one space on each side, and so on – and these patterns are also reflected in their counterattacks. That means if you aren’t careful about card placement, your own creatures can get caught in the crossfire of counterattacks from ally creatures.

Field elements are very important to consider as well. As I mentioned earlier, each field on the battleground is represented by an element, and each field also has a secondary element on its reverse side that can be flipped to with certain spells. Creatures are also aligned by the elements, and stat bonuses and special skills are directly linked to maximizing a creature’s abilities. For example, summoning a fire creature to a fire field will grant it an extra two health points. However, if you summon a fire creature to its opposing element – water – it will lose two health points and, if it’s a weak creature, die right on the spot.

What Eye of Judgment: Legends has in engaging strategy, however, it lacks in personality and spectacle. The 3D visuals look nice and the music fits the fantasy theme well, but the cool attack cut scenes and animations from the PS3 version have been cut and replaced by dull particle effects and sounds that just don’t bring the same punch of excitement to the battles. I understand that full-on attack sequences could have bogged the pacing down, but there should have at least been an option for them, or at least a few simple character animations. The announcer is also a bit too drab and monotonous for my tastes, and while you can completely mute his voice, all sound effects are muted at the same time, which in turn sucks even more life out of the experience.

Whether at its current $15 sale price or its regular price of $30, though, Eye of Judgment: Legends is well worth the cost if you’re serious about card games. Unlike the PS3 game, Legends comes with a true single-player campaign mode, complete with a comic-stylized storyline that, while ultimately pretty forgettable, is good for around six hours of card-battling, world-saving entertainment. The AI is a more than competent adversary for story play or standard solo duels, but other live players is clearly the best way to experience a card game — the solo content is good, but the multiplayer is what will keep you coming back. Thankfully, Legends delivers a superb multiplayer package, supporting local ad hoc play and online duels with stats and rankings. I’m afraid card trading can only be done locally though.

But with multiplayer being such a huge factor in the longevity of the game, I definitely have to recommend trying out the demo first before taking the final plunge. And the cool thing about the demo is that your save data in terms of stats and cards carries over, so if you subsequently decide to buy the full game you can start back up with an advantage. This really makes the “try before you buy” approach a lot more practical.

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Pros:
+ Well balanced card game rules and strategies
+ Collecting cards is fun and rewarding
+ Excellent multiplayer
+ Broader single-player content than PS3 version

Cons:
– Presentation is a bit boring
– Storyline is pretty bland and forgettable
– Can’t trade cards online

Game Info:
Platform: PSP via PSN
Publisher: SCEA
Developer: SCEI
Release Date: 3/11/2010
Genre: Trading Card Game
ESRB Rating: E10+
Players: 1-2 (multiplayer supports Ad Hoc and Infrastructure)
Source: Review code provided by publisher

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About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!