"2009 has made some big steps up from its previous version, but that everything about the game is so budget that it hardly looks any different from the initial outing made two years ago on the PS2 isnít something that makes it an easy recommendation. "
History lesson, kids: PDC World Championship Darts started its career back in the tail end of 2006 modestly, spawning low-key versions on the humble PS2 and PC, to a quizzically good reception that left a lot of people baffled. I wonít pretend it was a world-changing event, but it showed that playing darts on a home console could be done well and actually offered you, the lazy couch-bound slob, yet another excuse to put off having that long overdue shower and wandering down your local pub to interact with all those non-digitalised people.
Rightly fuelled by the success of their product, the obligatory annual update offered up the next year made the leap onto the newer generation consoles, sprawling across platforms like the Xbox 360, PSP and DS. But, also, in what was set to be its crowning achievement -- the Wii. With the Wiiís motion detecting properties, a darts game seemed the perfect match for Nintendoís newest console.
It didn't go over well.
Despite the other versions of PDC World Championship Darts 2008 being slight steps up from their earlier incantations, the attempt on the Wii was botched. The throwing gimmick tied into the remote was farcical and uncomfortable, and the rest of the game features produced in extremely basic methods.
But now itís 2009, thereís a new developer on the title and change is in the air! Thereís some alterations, such as new pros being bought in (most noticeable, James Wade, who gets a mention because heís a friend of a friend, not because he just won a major event -- go James!) and the throwing methods have been greatly refined. To throw the dart, you hold the wiimote in an approximately dart-like manner and hold down the A button. You bring it towards you to replicate pulling the dart back, then sweep it forward, like you were actually playing darts, letting go of the A key as the shotís power tag indicates. Itís tricky to get the hang of and your first few shots will end up peppering the board randomly, as anything but a smooth throw will swing your shots all over the board, but itís doable and a big step up from the last gameís more clumsy attempts. Itís the straightness of your throw that decides if itís going to be on target, and itís when you let go of A that decides if youíve over or underpowered the shot. Your throw is even effected by the weight of the darts your chosen player prefers.
Aiming, however, is a huge pain as the super-sensitive motion control makes mapping a shot annoyingly difficult, often leaving you waggling away in frustration as the crosshair you use to aim flashes across the screen with unparalleled speed. Which is even more of a shame considering that, the rectifying of last yearís wonky aiming aside, very little seems to be new.
Credit can be given for the pro players playing more like the pros theyíre meant to represent, but they still look like wax models left out in the sun for a little too long. Things like the playerís entrances have been added this year, but theyíre all the same lengthy cut-away of the player in question walking out to the same chorus of fan-chants and stock music, flanked by the same scantily-clad girls as the last one. The create-a -character is still found lacking, offering only the most basic of creations available for someone wanting to hurl their own likeness onto the oche and take on the likes of Phil ďTHE POWER!Ē Taylor and chums. Unless you have a ludicrous hair style, youíre probably bang out of luck.
2009 has made some big steps up from its previous version, but that everything it is so budget that it hardly looks any different from the initial outing made two years ago on the PS2 isnít something that makes it an easy recommendation. Which would have made this wrap-up difficult, if not for the sheer niche appeal PDC carries. If you want a darts game, thereís no better series to rely on as long as you can overlook that itís nearly as violently opposed to evolution as the most hardened evangelical preacher. For the majority of the rest of you, itís a dartís game, and Iím amazed you read this far into the review. Thank you, though.
For the bizarre middle ground, itís a game worth trying. Itís that or actually leave the house to play some darts, and thereís wolves out there.
If you enjoyed this PDC World Championship Darts 2009 review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!