Cubed3 Nintendo gaming, Wii and DS

PDC World Championship Darts 2008 (Wii) Review

You could hardly be blamed for not jumping up in the air with excitement at the arrival of a game of darts; to the outsider, it's not exactly the most thrilling of sports. Of course it has its fans, as can be seen by the plethora of people who turn up to watch the games unravel, and it is to them that we imagine PDC World Championship Darts 2008 will most appeal. Sure, you could go out and buy a darts board - but is that going to let you play alongside your darting heroes?

We've been looking forward to playing the completed version of PDC 2008 since we got to go hands-on with it while it was still in development stages. Back then, we said that it offered an improvement over the original PDC game (released a couple of years ago on Playstation 2), though there were a few niggles with the controls. What's changed since then? Well, in all honesty, not a lot, aside some smoothing of said niggles. That's not meant as a detrimental comment towards the game either, as it was already looking pretty great a few months back.

You've got two options in terms of control scheme. You can either use the nunchuk's analogue stick to control the power of your throw, or you can use the proper option, in our opinion the only one you should bother with if you're going to play the Wii edition (if you're just going to use analogue sticks, you may as well just buy the coinciding PS2 release as far as we're concerned). This proper option involves aiming your throw with the pointer, locking down your target by holding A, pulling back your Wii remote and then using a throwing motion, judging your power by how much you pull back and how forcefully you thrust forward again rather than simply using a stick to give you an exact measure. Obviously this method is more difficult (move slightly wrong and your dart is going to go way off target), but what is the point of playing a darts game if you can be getting perfect scores all the time? It's ultimately more rewarding to learn through experience using the motion sensor (unless you want to cheat and use two hands to steady yourself...). As in the preview build, sadly, we still have the problem of the on-screen player's arm not moving in sync with the actual direction the Wii remote is going on occasion (when we move back the arm will move forward, and vice versa), but this doesn't affect the actual throwing; it just means you have to learn to not trust your on-screen avatar's actions all the time. We were really hoping that this would be fixed so that it never happened, but happily the other issue we had at the time of preview has been rectified. Your targeting reticule is no longer skipping all over the place, seemingly confirming our fears of light sources at the time of our play test messing the sensor bar around.

Screenshot for PDC World Championship Darts 2008 on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

There's no point going into PDC 2008 expecting an easy ride, because when you first play you will be practically bundled into a body bag courtesy of Phil Taylor and friends. Make no mistake, it's one of the most challenging games we've played in a while, and it'll take a few games for you to get used to how to play if you're going to do it the proper way, and then probably a few more until you start actually winning. Once you do find your comfort zone, though, things slot into place a lot more and you'll find that you may stand a chance every once in a while. It's a little difficult to see how non-fans are going to take to this, though, as at its heart PDC Darts 2008 is a very repetitive experience - aim, throw, aim, throw, repeat - and as such many may not stick with it long enough to peel back its layers. There are some great touches that some may miss because of this, such as the remote rumbling and beating like a heart in pressure filled moments, or the AI's subtle replication of nerves when you appear to be getting the best of them, missing vital shots as a player might do.

Perhaps to try and get around this, Mere Mortals have put in a selection of party games that are based around the ol' darts board. In here the focus is multiplayer, and you can play such near-incomprehensible variations to the acknowledgeable-about-darts such as Cricket and other random things. These extra game types may be confusing to the outsider, but they keep the title fresher than giving you nothing more than the lengthy career mode to tumble through. Being multiplayer based, this area is probably where you're going to spend most of your time with PDC 2008 - likely as a post-pub title.

In terms of audio PDC 2008 is great, with crowd noises recorded from actual tournaments and Sid Waddell insulting you at every turn, though it could have done with having more recordings from him to avoid the same ones cropping up over and over. The same cannot quite be said for the visuals - while the players themselves look better than they did in the first game, the crowd is abysmal, just rows and rows of cardboard cut-outs that are painfully obvious 2D pixelated things with a scattering of them having a generous three frames of animation. While overall the presentation is fine, it's little things like this that bring it down.

PDC World Championship Darts 2008 is a must for fans of the game, while others shouldn't be afraid to give it a shot if they can find it for the right price. It's probably better value for money to just go out and pick up a darts board for a few coins, but when it's wrapped up in a nice tidy package like this you could do a lot, lot worse.

Screenshot for PDC World Championship Darts 2008 on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

A challenging game if you're using the great Wii motion controls, which are the only controls you should be using in this edition really. It is repetitive, but you can't expect much more than lots of throwing in a game about darts.

Graphics

The players themselves are nicely done and the presentation is decent. Crowds are appalling, environments aren't the best.

Sound

Well voiced if repetitive commentary, atmospheric sounds. Not very much else. The darts make a good thwack as they hit the board...

Value

Bunches of multiplayer games to test out and a lengthy career mode should keep you playing for a while.

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Good - Bronze Award

About this score
Rated 7 out of 10

If you're after a challenge, PDC 2008 isn't going to disappoint you; getting good at the game is almost akin to getting good at the real thing. It's doubtful that any video game is going to replace the actual game of darts, but this is about the closest that they've come to it, and it's clear that the game has been improved by the functionality of the Wii. You might get frustrated by the learning curve, but persevere and you'll find a fun game beneath. We just hope you like Sid Waddell's insults, because you're going to be on the receiving end of them a lot...

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16.03.2008

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Developer

Mere Mortals

Publisher

Oxygen

Genre

Sport

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10 (13 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Mere Mortals should be pleased with how this sold on Wii, considering it bombed on other formats...then two weeks later the Wii edition hit and the game appeared magically in the UK Top 10!

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Sounds promising, certainly a good use of the Wii methinks. Shame I find darts unbelievably boring unless I'm slightly tipsy. Nice reviewing Mr. Mason.

Trying to think of a witty signature after 'Hacker-gate'...

I though this would be crap. Sounds like fun. Too bad I have have a set of darts at home. Smilie

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