|PDC World Championship Darts 2008|
|Developer: Mere Mortals
Release Date: Out Now
Last year PDC World Championship Darts arrived just before the actual PDC World Darts Championship started on Sky Sports, instantly raising everyone’s interest in the game. Yes, it’s amazing how much more appealing this sort of sports sim is when the real thing is on the TV. This year someone has dropped a clanger, and the game arrived just after the annual darts-fest (bizarrely, there’s not one but TWO world championships held every winter, and this year they ran back to back). So with my interest in darts already heading for hibernation until next Christmas, can this year’s effort do anything to get it back?
Well, an all new enhanced game engine is supposed to allow darts to fly more like the real thing than ever before – “see them flutter through the air and stack as on a real board” the blurb says… And the PDC Pros have been mo-capped and their throwing styles and walk-ons are now part of the game. Well I have to say I can’t see much difference from last year’s game, darts definitely do get deflected sometimes, but stack like in the real game? No not really. You can aim at the exact same spot on the board and darts will sometimes overlap, so I don’t believe the physics have had quite the overhaul that they claim. And motion captured Pros? Well maybe, but as they’re nearly all fat blokes who throw pointed bits of tungsten at a wall then waddle up and pull them out, there’s not a heck of a lot to that either.
A commentary by Sid Waddell (well, as we said last year “commentary” might be the wrong term; inane and sometimes surreal ramblings might be more accurate) and Sky-Sports style presentation make for a spectacle not unlike the real thing – the camera even zooms in on the treble twenty when a 180 is in the offing. The player likenesses (including new World Champion John Part, Phil Taylor, Roland Scholten, Ronnie Baxter, Terry Jenkins, Kevin Painter, Andy Hamilton, Andy Jenkins, Raymond van Barneveld, Peter Manley, Wayne Mardle, Dennis Priestley, Adrian Lewis, Alan Warriner-Little, Colin Lloyd and Mark Dudbridge.) are a bit better than last year’s, but frankly they all look a bit too good to be true, and some players seem to have lost some weight and a lot of character, as well as wrinkles and extra chins. WWE for the PDC this ain’t, despite the walk-ons.
Each season requires you to take part in the available tournaments and exhibition matches in-between, with the aim being to rise to the very top and become world number one – good luck with that! The tournaments are insanely long and the game plods along as you have to sit and watch your opponent’s turn with no option to skip. I love watching top pros playing darts on TV but sitting there and playing a video game version of it for hours, nay, weeks? – No thanks. I’m sure there are gamers who are darts fans out there, but surely they go and play real darts on a real board if they want to play for this length of time? Whatever the case, with no online options the multiplayer party games are the only way to get away from tournament play. These games allow for up to 8 players (Around the Clock, Cricket, Killer, Black & White, Fives, Shanghai etc), but unless you have 7 mates who are all darts mad then these are only going to be a brief diversion, and they don't really work as party games, because despite having simplified controls, they still require too much prior experience to be competitive.
- All the top players
- It’s like the darts on Sky Sports!
- Lots of tournaments
- Party games
- Phil Taylor
- The control method doesn’t allow for accuracy or consistency
- A few party games but where’s the fun element?
- No widescreen option?
- Do you really want to play darts on a console?
- Peter Manley