20 Apr, 2005

EyeToy: AntiGrav Review

PS2 Review | Yet another Eyetoy game. An innovation or tried and true formula?
Here at PALGN we've reviewed just about every Eyetoy game to hit the market, ranging from Eyetoy: Play to Sega Superstars. While we do think the Eyetoy is one of the most revolutionary peripherals for a console for a very long time we are yet to see any game use the camera for anything other than short themed mini games. It seemed our prayers were answered when we heard all the way back at E3, 2004 that Harmonix were developing Eyetoy: Antigrav.

So what is Eyetoy: Antigrav? It is the first game released for the Eyetoy that is a full game rather than a collection of mini games. It is a futuristic snowboarding game that looks and feels really similar to Airblade. Eyetoy: Antigrav uses body movements to lock onto body parts of the player. By using the Eyetoy camera, players are able to race, soar and perform airborne tricks through five futuristic worlds. The concept is the best idea we've ever seen for using the Eyetoy. But is the game any good, or does the novelty die after ten minutes?

The original idea for Eyetoy: Antigrav was that it came with coloured armbands that helped to track the players movement. However, this idea has been ditched and now all that is requires is the Eyetoy camera. Eyetoy: Antigrav is the first 3D character based Eyetoy game since the camera was released a year and a half ago. By standing in front of the camera, players can move left, right, jump, duck and grab onto rails, in one of the most athletically straining games we've played for a very long time.

It's a long way down.

There are eight playable characters, who all possess their own equipment and style. The game also features eight levels and also allows for certain tricks to be performed by waving your arms. All the courses are ridiculously varied and feature shortcuts, huge jumps and unlockable sections.

There are only a few modes for the player to entertain themselves in, the tutorial mode is pretty straight forward, but an essential before playing the two other modes. Speed mode is a race against other boarders and Style mode encourages the player to score big points. While these two modes are good, we would have liked plenty more to keep us amused.

Because the game is set in the future, players will be dodging traffic filled cities with airborne cars and high skyscrapers on their hoverboards. The game gives an instant rush and by the end of the track (which are all very long), you are completely and utterly exhausted. Never has an Eyetoy game had players working so hard, by jumping, dodging, moving and grabbing.

The game play is just insane and some of the most addictive we're ever seen in an Eyetoy game. While we are still impressed with what the Eyetoy camera can do, there is no other time that we have been more impressed than with Antigrav. The camera picks up movements really well, and the entire game could have been ruined by the camera, but it is enhanced. In what seems to be a new trend for Sony, the player very rarely appears on the screen, instead a bar in the bottom right hand corner shows which direction the player is facing. This makes Antigrav feel more like a full game.

The graphics in Antigrav fit the style of game, the futuristic scenary is a great setting and really involves the player. We just cannot stress enough how addictive and flowing the game is. There is a lot happening at once and Harmonix have done a great job convincing us that we are in it is a futuristic city. The colours are very vibrant and the environment feels like a living and breathing city.

Oh, look at the beautiful sunset distracting me.

As we mentioned above, Apollo 440 provided the entire soundtrack. While this could become a little stale after a while, it actually fits the style of the game really well. The only real problem with the sound are the character's comments which are pretty poor. From the very beginning the comments are average and there is not a very vast amount of dialogue.

However, the lifespan of the game is what really lets the game down. We could have thought of a few other modes that Harmonix could have included to make the game longer, but unfortunately they have only included Style and Speed. There is no championship mode, which would have been great. There are only a few unlockables, but in an effort to make the game seem bigger, players have to individually unlock every track from the beginning. The tracks take about four to five minutes to complete each, multiply that by the eight available tracks and you have enough to keep you going. There are multiple paths and shortcuts which means the tracks never really become too repetitive. We definitely had the inspiration to play through the tracks more than once, but we did expect more. Eyetoy: Antigrav reminds us of the other Eyetoy games in that, with mode selection, it is very shallow.

The final scores we have given the game are really varied, which is something we don't do very often, but it simply cannot be helped. Antigrav's game play is brilliant fun, but it simply ends too fast. Eyetoy games are renowned for their quick fix game play and shallow lifespan. We were hoping that Antigrav would remove our apprehensions about the lifespan of the Eyetoy titles and yet it fails to do so.

SSX, eat your heart out.

However, despite our criticisms Eyetoy: Antigrav is a really enjoyable game; it is quick fix fun that retails for $59.95. Anyone who already has an Eyetoy camera and wants to see the best they can get out of the camera would be mad not to pick this up.

Harmonix have managed to convince us that the Eyetoy camera has many uses aside from just mini games. We can see a big future for other Eyetoy games that don't centre directly on just mini games, we're looking forward to seeing what directions Harmonix take with their next Eyetoy game.
The Score
Eyetoy: Antigrav is a really great game that feels a leap ahead of its other Eyetoy counterparts. We still can't help but get the feeling that it is a little light on features though.
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related EyeToy: AntiGrav Content

E3 2004: Eyetoy Antigrav announced
12 May, 2004 Including first screenshots of the game in action.
EyeToy: Play 2 Review
21 Oct, 2004 PALGN delivers the world's first verdict.
Binge & Purge: Pounding the Mainstream
18 Oct, 2004 A game! Featuring plastic Kongas! Featuring a Monkey (ape)! Featuring frantic friends and family pounding the silly toy in your living room! Mainstream gaming nirvana! But we’ve been here before, so I’ll be at the bar.
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    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

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  Sony Computer Entertainment Europe

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