We’ve had quite a few AR games in the last few years, as far as I know, the first one on the PS3 was Eye Of Judgement but there have been more stuff like EyePet and Invizimals among many others.
Before you guys skip this whole article, this is not a rubbish game/concept like many of the VITA’s AR games like that football and ice hockey etc crap.
The concept is quite natural, you buy a book with loads of odd signs/symbols which is called the PlayStation Wonderbook and you buy “books/games” for it, and those symbols turn into stuff on the screen and in this case, it’s an actual book where you have to change pages (by hand) and so on and in the end it feels like an authentic experience.
The Move controller in this game is simply a “wand” which you wave to cast spells and select dialogues and effects which again feel authentic (moving etc).
At the moment there is only one book/game available and that’s J.K. Rowling’s Book Of Spells which is from the Hogwarts library and a book/game about becoming a magician and learning spells.
The Wonderbook requires a Camera and a move controller so if you got none of them from earlier then this is a very expensive entry price as the book with the game bundle is around 20 English pounds on import or if bought in retail in Norway it costs 400 Nok (which is something like 40 GBP).
The Bundle with Wonderbook+BookOfSpells+MoveController+Camera costs like 80 GBP!!!)
Sony has announced that the book/games will be cheaper when not bundled with the Wonderbook and that there will be standalone versions with the next book which is due in early 2013.
The book has 12 pages and the book of spells has divided 1 chapter up into 2 parts so that’s 24 pages and there are 5 chapters.
The technology might be dated by now but i still think this is the best attempt so far and it’s awesome to play with the actual book while stuff is happening on the screen for instance tilt the book and stuff falls off the book on the TV, you can rotate or whatever the book and look into holes, under tables and so on without it messing up and making the experience less fun.
I am playing Book of Spells with the book on my lap as i haven’t got the room for putting the book on the floor as demonstrated in the “how to” video and seriously, it works great!.
So does the game suffer from the usual issues that EyePet had? nope. the book doesn’t need the lighting in the room to be over the top to work and no you can move around without it destroying the experience and the move controller doesn’t go out of sync.
The first game/book Book Of Spells feels solid enough but it goes stale over time as there is so much to be learned (spells and story) before the various tests you get and i at least have problems actually remembering why, how and where.
Is the thing good? i think so and it’s cool that they took the time and money to do the production values they have as unlike the harsh EyePet 2! graphics this looks gorgeous. (mind, EyePet 1 looks ace too).
The game has been localized in many languages like Sony always does with family games and as always they use actors and proper scripting and sound quality.
My Son was very excited when he heard the voice of the guy doing Norwegian voiceovers acting in “Andy & Kip” and in my opinion, it was wise of Sony to choose him.
Would i recommend this to people? , no, not really as it’s too expensive (if you got no Camera + move controller it’s very expensive even) right now as there is only 1 book/game but as soon as there’s another book/game then this will change for sure but hey!, if you’re a Harry Potter fan then this is an Instant Buy for you and while i am not a huge fan i still bought this as i love big boxes and new tech no matter how childish or stupid it might be.
Replay value? , i guess this is the biggest problem unless you’re a young kid as most core people or whatever will probably complete it once and never look at it again…. ( but at the same time enjoy the book/game a lot while it lasts ).
Edited/Updated: I did a follow-up article to this game and series 1 year after the release of this game, check it here: https://blog.amigaguru.com/?p=927Follow Us... Inspire Us To Get Better... Keep The Flame Alive