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We don’t know what’s more surprising – that people turn up in their thousands to watch lumpen men in shiny shirts throw needles into a tiny target, or that they do so as far afield as Blackpool and Las Vegas. Beer probably accounts for a lot of the darts’ appeal, hence its traditional location in a mouldy corner of every pre-Wetherspoons local pub. But while intoxication certainly won’t improve your score in this new Wii adaptation, it might increase your tolerance towards its quirky control system.
Like a simulation of the mysterious ‘dartitis’ that finished the career of ’80s champ Eric Bristow, PDC 2009 can take a bit of persuading before it’ll let you let go of your dart. You’ll take a practice swing to judge how much power is needed, then another that gives a completely different reading, then release the A button and… nothing. Those misfires happened to us loads of times, to the point where it seems as though the game just can’t reliably calculate the force of the throwing motion towards the screen. We thought we were doing the same thing every time but the power meter would read anything from zero to three-quarters full. In the end, Bristow called it quits…
Because this throwing motion is all you ever do in a darts sim, any issues you might have with it are fundamental problems. When it works, PDC 2009 is a pleasant distraction but if you or any of the friends you play with (the game supports four players at once) have as much trouble with it as we did then you’re not going to have much fun.
We’re not blaming the game for our own darting crapness – we got thrashed by Phil Taylor in our first career match, although our 20 aborted practice shots per successful throw wouldn’t have been much of a crowd pleaser. Assuming you can get it working better than we could, it’s a decent enough game. The TV-style camera angles are good, the announcers are suitably exuberant and the venues are atmospheric. You can even make your own player to join the pros, although there’s only one face and a choice of bad haircuts. Step up to the sticky oche…
May 29, 2009