PDC World Championship Darts 2009 Wii
Darts is not exactly the most exciting sport in the world, certainly not to watch anyway, but a game of arrows down the pub can be a laugh now and again. Of course you don’t need to drink for darts to be fun, but it does help, and the latest instalment in this franchise has done all it can to be a faithful recreation of the sport. But how does it measure up to the real game?
Well, I can’t comment on any other version of the game, yet, but the Wii version of PDC World Championship Darts 2009 has the most realistic control scheme of any darts game I’ve ever seen. This is something of a mixed blessing, as due to the way they expect you to hold your Wiimote it is the only game I’ve felt the need to use the wrist strap. It’s all very simple, hold the Wiimote like a dart and aim at the board on screen, hold down the ‘A’ button and swing as if to throw, releasing the button when you would release the dart. This is why you’ll need the wrist strap, as it is all to easy to actually throw the controller by accident, and with no nun-chuck needed to play the game there is only the wrist strap to stop you putting the controller through your TV screen. You can always hold your controller in a more conventional manner if you wish, but it does lose the realistic feel of the game, and unfortunately the game does not have much else going for it.
Another heavily promoted feature of the game is playing against the worlds top Darts professionals, something you’re unlikely to get the chance to do in real life. I’m not too sure how realistic this is though as the games AI seems patchy at best, or downright unbeatable at worst. I’m willing to accept that the highest ranked players very rarely miss a shot, but I’m sure some of the lower ranked players would be ashamed of the shots that their virtual counterparts make in the game sometimes. I’m not too sure how realistic the models of the players are either, but one things for sure, they are wooden as can be, you’d expect a bit of emotion from them after throwing a match winning shot, but no, nothing. The only sort of personality that the players project is in their entrances, which manage to be a little varied on the animations, but are all accompanied by the same music.
This brings us to another ‘feature’ of the game, the audio commentary by the ‘voice of darts’ Sid Waddell. Again, not being a fan of darts I can’t comment on how realistic it is, but one thing’s for sure, he is bloody annoying, not only because it gets repetitive very quickly, but it also gets very disjointed from time to time. If a player is playing badly he is quick to criticize, but as soon as they throw one good dart he seems to instantly forget that they’ve been playing poorly on the strength of one lucky shot. And please don’t get me started on his quirky and no doubt trademark turns of phrase, ‘sweating like a donkey full of Vindaloo’ wasn’t funny the first time, let alone the twentieth. You can always turn down the volume of the games voices to rid yourself of the annoyance, but you’ll also lose the voice of the scorer too, who is a serious soundalike for Frank Butcher.
The presentation may not be the best, but you certainly can’t argue with the amount of game modes on offer. The main single-player career mode is not great though; you get numerous tournaments to play in, but they get tiresome very quickly. Each round takes a minimum of six games to win, and if you are to win a tournament you have countless rounds to win. It may be realistic of the game as a sport, but unless you’re a hardcore darts fan you’ll probably find it very tedious. You can also practice or play exhibition matches, but where the real variety lies is in PDC’s multiplayer. Playing with a friend you can not only play the standard games of 501, 701 and the like, but you also get options for more informal games like killer, round the clock and blackjack, plus many more. It’s still just darts though, and as such never gets too exciting.
So, the graphics are on the ropey side, the sound is either uninspired or annoying, the controls are realistic, but take some getting used to, and the single player game is tedious as hell. However, this is the most realistic darts simulation to date. As with the real thing it can be fun playing with a friend after a few beers, but unless you are a big fan of the sport then there is no real long term appeal to the game. So, unless your idea of fun is watching darts on the telly wishing you could play alongside your sporting heroes, then best to steer clear really.