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Xbox 360 Game Review

PDC World Championship Darts


Format: Xbox 360
Oxygen Games
RRP: £39.99
5 060015 538214
Age Restrictions: 3+
Available 19 September 2008

PDC World Championship Darts brings together the high drama of major championships with a control method that recreates the skills of a top arrows player. Classic commentary from Sid Waddell and Sky-Sports style presentation make for an enthralling spectacle in both one and two player modes. Meanwhile for those post-pub gaming marathons there are 13 party games for up to four players...

Darts, one of the most boring sports on the planet! There aren't even any good looking blokes for the women in the audience to get excited about. Nope, just a bunch of fat, ugly guys chucking mini javelins at a small target. So, how do you bring all of the the glitz and glamour of the dart's world into your living room. Well, you could stuff a pillow down your top, drink nothing but lager all day, buy a dart board and get all your neighbours round to "ooh!" and "ahh!" as you throw your projectiles at the bull... Or you could have a look at Oxygen Games's PDC World Championship Darts.

Perhaps the biggest problem with this release is that it was launched back in January 2007 on the PS2, PC and Wii. So already it's over a year and a half out of date. But then does that really matter? Probably not. The graphics are not important, it's the design of the dart lobbing that's important.

PDC World Championship Darts is pretty close to cracking the art of bringing darts to the console market. As with real darts, the art is in the aiming and throwing of the darts. This is handled quite well in the game. You have to place a circular target over where you want the dart to go. Then pull back slowly on the left analogue stick while watching the on-screen meter. When the meter reaches the desired point, push the stick forward. If you accidentally push the stick to the left or right, then the dart will veer off target accordingly. However, hit the spot and the dart will sail straight to the desired target on the board. Going for maximum score? Well, when you hit a critical moment of tension (for example you've already got two treble twenties and are going for the magic 180) and the cursor starts to judder and the control vibrates mimicking a nervous heartbeat, making it even harder to hit your desired target.

To be totally honest there is a lot here that makes this game a totally naff offering, but for some unexplainable reason I was totally hooked. Even though I could see the bugs and should have been cringing at the poor commentary and bad animation, I was so drawn to beating my opponents that I kept on playing long after my review deadline.

It doesn't really seem to matter which mode you play (with the exception of the Party Games) as this is quite simply darts on your Xbox 360.

The commentary... The less said about this the better. This is truly awful - like some stupid goon got into the commentary box by mistake. Not only is it poor, but very, very repetitive. There only seems to be a handful of phrase, so I wonder why it was included in the first place. Thankfully the commentator seems to have been fixed after the disastrous PS2 offering, but it's still broken. For example on throwing my last dart I hit treble 20, only for the commentator to yell: "Room for two more in there!" His insults of the audience are few and far between and there not funny the first time, so by the 20th time you just sort of switch off.

The presentation is also pretty poor. The computer versions of the famous players don't really look that good. You can't really customise your own character, despite the fact there are some very limited elements that you can alter (like style and colour of shirt). You can't even choose the appearance of your dart flights!

I was also a little mystified by the WWE style introduction for the players - what on earth is all that about. Does anyone really want to watch a couple of fat blokes walking into the room?

On the plus side there are some interesting Darts facts that pop up on screen as the levels load.

If you want to get the best out of this game you're probably best off playing a two player game against a friend - and ignoring the Party Games mode all together.

It's an odd game. It's one that I enjoyed, on balance, but I would certainly recommend that you rent it first. The poor presentation may be too much for some gamers to overlook.


Nick Smithson

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