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November 29, 2005
Eye Toy: Play 3 - Review
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Getting some Perfect scores.
One of the big success stories on the Playstation 2 has been the Eye Toy peripheral. Essentially a web cam the peripheral has become one of the biggest gaming phenomenon’s of all time with millions sold worldwide. In Europe particularly the peripheral has not only sold extremely well, but the number of games supporting it has been impressive. From sports games allowing you to use the device to include your own face in games, to fitness workouts with Eye Toy: Kinetic it's all here. The game (or should that be compilation of mini-games) that kicked it off was Eye Toy Play which is now back, two years later, for a third outing. One has to ask the question, how much can Sony pack into a title, and is the concept still one with fresh legs? Here's our verdict...

For Playstation 2 owners this game should need no introduction. Taking the same formula from most Eye Toy titles the game plays with you standing in front of your TV with your camera pointed straight at you. It's your task to then interact with the object on the screen simply by moving your body parts - Arms, Legs, head, or whatever else comes to mind! This simplicity means that even the most non-gaming person you know can participate in the fun, and what fun it is. Eye Toy: Play 3 is packed with dozens of mini-games four up to four friends to compete in.

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Who is that chick!?
When you start the game there are two main options available to you. The first is the Playroom which includes a range of weird mini-games or tools which don't really fit into the main game. Sure, some of these are fun but their lifespan is fairly limited so moving onto the main games is something most gamers, ourselves included, will do within a matter of minutes.

As expected playing this game on it's own has fairly limited appeal and much like Sony's SingStar titles the most fun can be had in multi-player. If there is more then one of you playing the game you're given the choice between Party, Tournament or Quick Match. The Party mode allows you to all play together while the tournament sees you competing in a series of mini-games while the quick match allows you to select a specific mini-game to play.

The actual mini-games can be split up into three main categories - Sport, Music and Variety. The Sport games include Volleyball, Bowling, Athletics (which is available in multi-player only) and Touchdown. By far the most fun we had here was in the Bowling modes. After pushing up into the air your can wave your arms to one direction or the other to add spin to the ball in order to knock down the pins. Quite entertaining. The Touchdown game was interesting for a couple of reasons. The first is that it's based on American football, quite strange when you consider that the game was developed in England - perhaps they're trying to draw in the US consumers. Secondly the game plays quite well. You're video image appears as a character on the field (albeit with background also showing) but then you must react to opposing players coming in to tackle you, you may have to sidestep, duck, punch or jump.

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Ready to go bowling?
There's plenty of other mini games here. The Variety games includes a Boot Camp in which you not only have to perform the actions, but also shout responses back to the Sergeant. The Beauty Salon allows you to make people look like stars and so on. Slightly more interesting is the music section which includes things like being a DJ and hitting the turntables at the right moment, or the Maestro where you pick up the baton and control the band.

There's tonnes of mini-games like this with varying difficulty, although experienced Eye Toy gamers should cruise through most games, even on the harder levels. Ultimately the major problem with this package is that while it's tremendous fun, especially in multi-player, we've seen it all before in previous versions. Sure there might be a slightly different spin (American Football instead of Soccer) but the games all play the same - move in time with the icons on screen, react to the actions, or wave your hands fast enough and so on. Where Eye Toy: Kinetic at least tried to bring something new to the table - and succeeded in massive doses - Eye Toy: Play 3 just seems like another package with a different gloss to it.

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Time to wash that hair!
In terms of audio and visuals there's nothing too spectacular here, but nothing offensive either really. The audio is fairly good quality with plenty of lively music and appropriate effects when you perform an action in one of the games while the graphics have been improved slightly from previous Play titles with more action in the backgrounds, more vibrancy and a some nicer animations in places. Yet again there is good reproduction of the video image from the camera. One of the bigger disappointments graphically is that in games such as Touchdown (American Football) the fact that the screen shows not only you, but also your camera backdrop is disappointing. Surely the developers could eliminate the need to show the background.

I've thought long and hard about the whether or not to recommend this game. I guess younger gamers will still love a third helping, but for many older gamers there simply isn't enough in these mini-games to sustain long term interest. Indeed within minutes of booting the game it already started to feel old. If you don't have an Eye Toy yet, by all means purchase Eye Toy Play 3, if you do have the previous two Play packages then you should consider something like Eye Toy Kinetic instead. Sadly this is a series that is loosing it's way and is running out of ideas, fast. This package is really for those still looking to invest in the camera.

Review By: Dave Warner

Order your copy now from Gameswarehouse (PAL version).
GRAPHICSAbout the same as previous titles, that being nice and clean overall.
SOUNDNothing too special or out of the ordinary here, no surround.
GAMEPLAYFrom the first few moments it's all a case of been there done that.
VALUEIt's fairly cheap, but seasoned Play players will tire very quickly.
OVERALLEye Toy Play 3 is a great package - if you don't already own the previous two titles. If you do own the previous games then get ready for pretty much more of the same. As a party game it's tremendous fun, but I'd like to see Sony take the Eye Toy to the next level (as they did with Eye Toy Kinetic).

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