EyeToy Play 3 ReviewCain Dornan
Theres no denying that the EyeToy has been Sonys most successful accessory that the company has launched for the Playstation 2. Beginning with an instant craze with the original EyeToy: Play, the companys London Studio has now shipped quite a few titles that utilize the innovative technology, with most managing to throw themselves to the top of sales charts upon release. Although the company has released some off-cuts from the original mini-game based title that launched with the technology, such as AntiGrav and Kinetic, none of these titles have been as successful as the Play series, which has now reached its third title in the series. While it is expected that the sequels will continue to flow out the development doors following the success of each title, it is questionable as to whether each new installment is really offering enough to warrant splashing your hard earned cash on. Thankfully, the third and latest in the series, EyeToy: Play 3, is quite possibly the best in the series yet.
But what sets Play 3 apart from the previous titles in the series? Quite simply, the quality of the games and activities that are included in the latest addition are of higher quality than those that were found in the previous incarnations. It appears that the development team at London Studio has truly learnt how to utilize the technology to its fullest, offering a range of different games and interesting applications that not only offer considerably less flaws than the previous games, but also seem to offer a greater level of enjoyment.
EyeToy: Play 3s different modes are split into two core categories. The first category, Play Room, is host to a collection of different activities that cant be classified as a game. The Wild Fauna mode, for example, is a mode that simply transforms your entire living room into utter wilderness, complete with large trees, shrubs, mountains and the sounds of a forest. In order for the transformation to occur, however, you must remain completely still, as each movement you make will whipe the current transformation and re-start a slightly different one. There is also Vs Knockout, which requires its combatants to stand back to back and punching outward to attack each other. The EyeToy software mirrors the image so that you are actually facing each other on screen, despite the fact that you are facing each other in completely different directions in real life. Another of the interesting modes is the Motion Cam. This mode simply involves interacting with various on-screen objects, such as bees that will chase you when you bother them, sparkling dots that follow your every movement, colourful rainbows that are erected with your movements and an underwater scene that allows you to hit and move bubbles and creatures. While this mode is very simple at heart, it is a surprisingly addictive mode for the creative youngsters.
Also in the Play Room category is a collection of face-modifying modes, such as the Face Mixer, which takes the photo of two people and then combines them to form an image of the two faces combined. Unfortunately, this mode is executed in a sloppy manner, with the resulting combined images often looking like nothing more than a big mess. Similar to the Face Mixer is the Head Swap, which also involves taking pictures of two different people. This program places the face of the second person onto the body of the first person, allowing you to become a friend or relative for a short while. This mode also suffers from some slight problems that prevent it from being presented as well as it could have been. Rounding up the Play Room modes is Photo Booth, which allows you to simply place pictures of your face onto on-screen characters and scenes.
The other category in EyeToy: Play 3 is titled Games, which, as the name suggests, offers a collection of creative games to participate in. Each of the games are separated into sub-categories that reflect the type of games within. The Music section is home to such games as Be the Band, which involves playing all the instruments of a band at different gigs. The instrument playing is separated with the occasional mini-game, such as Crowd Control, which simply involves preventing crazed fans from getting onto the stage, or Crowd Dive, which allows you to test your nerves as you attempt to jump as far as possible into the crowd from off the stage. There is also the Maestro game, which simply involves conducting an orchestra simply by hitting the appropriate circles when the icons move over them. The last game in the Music sub-category is DJ, which simply involves scratching the discs on the turntable when the icons move over them. The occasional mini-game like High Flyer, which involves sticking as many posters as possible onto a wall within the time limited, offers some variation within the DJ game.
The second sub-category in Games is Sport, which plays host to three different sporting games. Bowling simply involves guiding a bowling ball down the lane to knock over as many pins as possible. Volleyball is a simple game of beach volleyball that also carries the additional mini-game of bomb ball, which features a ball that explodes at random intervals removing a life from the opponent closest to the bomb when it explodes. Finally, Touchdown wraps up the Sport sub-category, which is essentially a game of American football. You need to run on the spot to catch the ball from the quarterback and then run to the touchdown line while avoiding the tackle attempts of you opponents.
The last of the types of games in the single player Games category is the Variety games. These consist of the Ghost Grab game, which is a simple game of hitting the ghost that are flying at you while avoiding the random furniture that they throw at you. Boot Camp is EyeToys version of a military training camp, requiring you to complete training courses that have you running, jumping, ducking, saluting and yelling. Finally, there is the Beauty Salon game, which involves applying lipstick, cutting hair, massaging and waxing hairs from off your high-paying clients legs.
After you have tired from the above offering of games, EyeToy: Play 3 also offers a solid multiplayer mode that allows you and up to three friends to compete in a range of wacky games. The multiplayer mode is also divided into different categories, such as Party, which has you competing in such games as Athletics, which has you and your friends running, long-jumping, throwing a javelin or discuss, running hurdles or participating in a relay. For those who have no interest in sport activities may be pleased to learn of the games Kitty Loves Me mode, which has you fighting to gain the affection of a cute little kitty cat. By winning a range of different games, you will earn enough fish to coax the kitten into loving you more than your friends. The last of the Party games is Monkey Rampage, which is similar to the Kitty Loves Me game. The Monkey Rampage mode has you competing for bananas, which makes your monkey grow in size, ultimately allowing you to destroy a large building quicker and easier than your smaller opponents.
The Multiplayer mode also offers the Tournament and Quick Game modes. Tournament is a simple competition that selects games at random, with whichever player winning the most games at the end of the round winning the tournament. The Quick Game mode, on the other hand, allows you to select from any of the games that appeared in the single players Game category and participate them in a turn-by-turn basis.
A major question that is likely on the mind of many gamers is whether the game is suitable for a single player or multiplayer experience. EyeToy: Play 3 does a superb job at attempting to cater for both the single player and multiplayer scenes, offering a solid mixture of games that are targeted to both equally. In the end, the game can be played in a single player atmosphere perfectly fine, however, more enjoyment is certainly gained when playing the multiplayer games.
Sonys London Studio has clearly put in the extra effort to ensure that EyeToy: Play 3 rises above its previous creations, providing a more technically advanced and enjoyable title that is a perfect title for the younger crowd, all the while attracting older gamers for its simple gameplay style that is perfect for when family or friends are together. Although Play 3 is clearly a step above the previous games in the series, the latest offering will not attract those who werent fans of the previous titles in the series, as the game retains the core gameplay style. Rather, the game aims to solidify itself in the hearts of its fans, which it does manage to do successfully.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.