"What we’re given overall is serviceable and commendable. Two words that perhaps don’t scream game of the year, but the reality of the situation is that, no matter how I dress it up in eccentric Britishness, the topic of today is still a dart’s sim. That sound you hear is the vast majority of the PSP consumer base stampeding towards the fire exits. We’ll throw in a metaphorical pause while they close the doors behind them before I slide in the dramatic twist -- PDC Darts 2008 is a fun little game nonetheless."
Life sucks in merry old England right now, but, really, it always has. We’ve endured plagues, sweeping fires, tyrannical Germans, hordes of Vikings, crap weather, crap food, an embarrassing national football team, and we’ve done it all with good old British repression. All in all, it’s probably been the reason we’ve all come to covet one thing above all others.
For there’s a place we can depend upon. A place that will grant us shelter from the damp, chilly outside world and envelop us into comfortable circles of like-minded ilk seeking an escape from the miserable grey sky and constant drizzle. We love our pubs; we love them so much we’ve managed to take a popular public house game and turn it into a professional sport. We and our need to consume moderate and always responsible levels of alcohol give you, the world, darts. Developers, Mere Mortals, have taken that and given us a way to play that outside of bars -- which only saddens me a little.
Their first attempt at this was back in 2006 when respectable darts games broke on to the PS2 and PC. This time around, the title has come far enough to move on to this generation’s handhelds of choice, giving the great British public the chance to have some link to the pub while partaking in this country’s second-favourite activity -- queuing!
What we’re given overall is serviceable and commendable. Two words that perhaps don’t scream game of the year, but the reality of the situation is that, no matter how I dress it up in eccentric Britishness, the topic of today is still a darts sim. That sound you hear is the vast majority of the PSP consumer base stampeding towards the fire exits. We’ll throw in a metaphorical pause while they close the doors behind them before I slide in the dramatic twist -- PDC Darts 2008 is a fun little game nonetheless.
You aim your arrows by moving a crosshair around the segmented dartboard, aiming at the section you want to land your dart in, then let fly with a sadistically unforgiving slide bar similar to those used in most golf titles. This is made easier depending of the difficulty of you setting, giving you either a marker bar to aim for or instead letting you try an judge the power needed on the fly. It’s not easy and while practise will obviously improve your throwing, you can never guarantee hitting the target. High pressure shots like the winning throw or a chance to sink that third dart into the triple twenty and earn a top score of one hundred and eighty will shake your aimer, representing the pressure of the one glorious shot. Score it, and give in to unlimited smugness; miss it, and perhaps miss the chance at victory that comes with it.
Kudos need be given for the tightness in which their title gives out, but note should be made of how PDC 2008 makes use of a lot of the PSP features that a lot of the bigger games ignore. While the create-a-character mode displayed is competent, you can upload a picture of yourself and be your own virtual avatar. You can also overlay the love-it-or-hate-it commentary from offbeat whackjob, Sid Wadell with whatever music you may have snuggled at the back of your memory stick.
Also to note to those of you who follow the professional darts trail is the attention paid to the people you’ve heard of and the rest of us haven’t. The game is refereed by Bruce Spendley, and, while it’s expected that the bigger names like Phil Taylor and Raymond Van Barnveld are catered towards, you’ll find a welcoming smattering of players you might not have expected to see housed within a video game.
But PDC‘s biggest flaw remains its biggest appeal, and that's how niche the title is. It’ll be somewhat expected of me to recommend it to people already enamoured with darts, but you probably don’t need my prompting to give the title a try. So, instead, I’ll strike out towards a new audience: if you’re looking for something different to plough time into, you might want to consider introducing your PSP to darts. You might find yourself pleasantly surprised.
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