Review: PDC World Championship Darts 2008
Posted 12 Feb 2008 at 01:41 by Stephen Thomson
Do you have the potential to become the next darts champ? Or more importantly, do you have the patience and skill? After all, without those how can you hope to do well in the world of darts?
As you can guess, the 'story' if you will, is to become the next darts champion through winning tournaments, gaining money and beating notable darts icons (the game's official licence ensures it is full of a fair few) with your own uniquely created character, albeit with some limitations to your choices. You go through the career mode participating the tournaments with your new found character to gain money and recognition so you can slowly move up in the ranks to take on the harder, more well known darts players until your final match to claim the title of champion.
With the Wii-mote alone, it sounds simple. Once the match has loaded simply hold the Wii-mote as you would with a dart, press and hold the A button, swing it lightly with your wrist and let go of the A button to release the dart. To try and help improve your aim you have a circular cursor showing where your dart will currently go. But when you throw it, it might not go where you aimed, and this is where it gets tricky.
There are several factors you need to take into consideration when trying to throw your dart. It's really easy to make a mistake, even if your wrist only moves a little. When you're in the middle of trying to throw the dart, the darts 'virtual image' on the bottom left of the screen shows the current direction it's about to be thrown and how hard your throw is, and will change accordingly on how you move the Wii-mote. Due to this it can be hard to make the dart where you want it to go so much practice will be needed until you can throw the dart just right, and you'll pretty much need this skill right away. Chances are you'll lose your first match while you try and adjust to the controls, especially with that opponent of yours getting a 20 easily and a double or a triple often - ranging his score pretty much always between 60 and 180. So it is a challenging game, and if you want to do well you'll need to practice to get those 20s since if you miss them, you pretty much have no chance in advancing further. Because of the control scheme, it will take a good few hours to get to terms with the game.
If you get discouraged by this control scheme you can always try out the Wii-mote and Nunchuck option which might be easier for beginners. For this scheme you use the Wii-mote to move your cursor and tilt the control stick on the Nunchuck back to build up the strength of your throw, though the control stick's strength is hard to vary.
Moving away from the controls to the graphics, you can see that the faces of characters such as the well known darts players are done rather well, though their hair sometimes looks unrealistic - especially on your custom characters. Character animations are good, though a lack of individual personality and a stiffness in them as they walk up to the dart board detract from this. Wouldn't you be excited if you got '180'? Instead they fold their arms in confidence.
So far this review may sound rather negative and since most of the article so far has been all about the flaws, it's really not as bad as this has made out to be. To try and help get the player in the mood, the charming commentator makes his remarks, be it cheesy or witty, such as "Nafarama" to try and make it more realistic to the players. Though after hearing the same lines over and over after a while, you might aim the dart somewhere else. There are several options which give you freedom to pick what you want to do if you are verses friends in multiplayer mode, in tournaments, the campaign mode and the mini-games giving it a fair bit of variety to keep things a bit different.
The fact is though, only people that have played darts will initially have a chance to play the game. When you start the game up, there isn't a tutorial for the controls, just a screen telling you what you should do before you start. Having ones on how to get the right strength, throw properly and aim better would make things much easier for the uninitiated player. As stated previously, it will take a fair bit of your time to practice, and because of this it will easily turn people off who picked up the game and have not played darts before, making the game reach out to a rather limited audience.
The thing that may bother the most (and this is more noticeable for darts players), is that the game did really have a potential to do well. If more resources had gone into development to smooth things out, it could easily have been a blast. For a game that may feel inaccessible you might feel cheated out of your money.
Overall though, it's a game to buy if you have the patience to learn the controls properly and also if you're already a darts fan, but if not, for now, stick with real darts. If Oxygen works on the flaws of the game for the 2009 edition, they could have a gem on their hands.
Scroll down for those scores...
N-Europe Final Verdict
Best for darts fans with spare money. Has potential that will hopefully be worked on for next year.
Several modes and options
Lots to do
Will appeal to a small audience
Controls are hard to get used to