PDC World Championship Darts Review
PDC World Championship Darts 2008 was previously released for the Wii (and every handheld/last generation console to boot) a few months back, and has now landed on the Xbox 360 for all you lucky gamers out there. Jumping straight into the game you will find that the previous poor presentation has been reworked to something far more appealing and easier to navigate. Every mode and option that an avid darts fan would desire has been included–everything from how many sets are played to the type of match can be changed at the flick of the analogue stick. Before you know it you are selecting a darts player and ready to throw!
All of the big star names from darts are present, from England’s own Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor to Raymond van Barneveld of the Netherlands. Aside from the long list of professionals on offer, you can also create your own player using the create-a-character feature available. Unfortunately the feature is very shallow and results in a generic character with very little customisation options available. Whilst the choice of how the player holds the darts is a nice touch, it would be fantastic if there were more than a single shirt to pick from.
The different modes available include a normal exhibition between one or two players, a career mode, tournament play (supporting a long list of dart tournaments and leagues) and party play. Party play mixes up the overplayed formulas of old with variety for you and a friend. Thankfully the majority of games can be player in multiplayer or alone (other than party play), and a good selection can be taken online to play against others on Xbox Live.
Gameplay controls could not be simpler, with the left analogue stick aiming the crosshair and the dart thrown by pulling down the right analogue stick and pushing it up at the right moment of power and accuracy. Due to the flimsy nature of such precision on an analogue stick you will often find that guaranteeing targets is nigh impossible and frustration will ensue. This is not helped at all by the commentator’s continual declaration of “Naffarama!”
On a whole the in-game presentation is poor to say the very least. It is clear that the series origins is from the previous generation of consoles, as the models and textures are of a generally low quality, with some of the worst voice acting you will find in a game. Not by the quality of the audio, but the horrendously poor lines that are constantly spoken. “Supermundo”, “Brillyantey” and “Tension is building up moment by moment, better call the bomb squad” are personal favourites.
The main problem with the gameplay, other than the mundane controls, is the simple repeatability that is darts. In a normal environment darts is a perfectly fine pastime, but in a video game the continual flicking of two analogue sticks could make paint drying sound a whole lot more interesting all of a sudden. As rounds progress and sets end you will find that the game plays exactly how it started hours before, with no change in pace or difficulty what-so-ever. The game’s best attempt at making events more interesting is by performing a poor heart beating audio loop with the continual rumble of the joypad, coupled with slight additional movement of the aiming crosshair.
PDC Darts Championship is possibly something that darts fans can find some enjoyment from when not participating in the activity themselves. Unfortunately for the bulk of gamers, you will certainly feel a losing streak as you not only miss the 180, but the dart board all together. Dart board – £20, Darts – £5, Not having to play this game – Priceless.