Before we tear into this dull, dull game like a coyote mauls a young lamb, we’ll include this disclaimer: we are actually massive darts fans. Enthused by years of watching ‘greats’ like John ‘Darth Maple’ Part, Steve ‘The Bronzed Adonis’ Beaton and Richie ‘The Prince of Wales’ Burnett, we spent hours consigned to the barn honing our skills on one of those cheapo boards you can get from Argos for a tenner. Ah, we love those misty water-coloured memories.
Still, that doesn’t mean we’re blind when a turkey comes a-gobbling. Granted, darts has never been the easiest sport to convert into dynamic, exciting videogame fodder – after all, ninety percent of the time you’ll be chiefly aiming at treble twenty – but by going for authenticity devs Oxygen have created something particularly dreary. Just look to Sega’s Touch Darts on DS for a rival with bags more character… and infinitely better controls.
Yep, as far as slinging virtual arrows is concerned, the control scheme is king – and PDC’s is a stinker. Whereas at least in the similarly-iffy Wii version you get to pseudo-lob the motion-sensing controller, 360 PDC is hamstrung by clumsy use of the analogue sticks. Left simply applies targeting, while the right is where the magic happens. Much like Tiger Woods, you’ll pull back to prime and push forward to follow through while attempting to keep the stick straight to avoid veering off and landing your dart in some irate punter’s pickled egg. Trouble is, the vapid novelty wears off after five minutes, leaving us all sad and wishing we were back in our barn.
If you’re a big darts fan, you’ll appreciate the party games and the odd classy detail on the motion-captured athletes (chortle) – from Phil Taylor’s fluid action and trademark celebration to Part’s weird jerk-o-throw. Shame the arrow physics aren’t as slick; while the darts have a weighty feel to them, they shamble rather than soar through the air with anything but the greatest of ease. Just like this, really.
Oct 6, 2008