IGN Review of PDC World Championship Darts
Were this any other review, I'd normally begin by talking about the franchise's history, the state of its genre, or perhaps give a little background into its development. For PDC World Championship Darts, I'm not going to bother, instead just outright telling you that this game is complete and total crap.
Yes, I'm giving the PS2 version of the game a 1.0. I'll get into numerous other reasons why it's terrible in a second, but let me just get a major, major issue, the thing that makes it worse than its Wii counterpart, right out of the way: you cannot tell the difference between a 5 and a 6 in your score. This is a darts game, where in a standard game of 501 you must finish a round exactly at 0 points to win. If you do not know what your score is, you can't actually accomplish this. Yes, that means that the game does not work on a fundamental level, and is in fact broken because of this.
Now, this isn't always a game-breaking issue, and is actually only true half of the time. The first player to go in a round will have his score displayed above the second player's. This top score is fine. It's the second, lower score that has a major issue in that the font that the numbers are displayed with cannot correctly render the difference between a 5 and a 6. Do you have 15 or 16 points left? I have no idea because the game is broken.
Now, keep in mind that I tried playing the game with both a PS3 and a PS2, on both a CRT and a nice Sony XBR HD set, and with filtering and scaling turned on and off on the PS3. In no combination could I get the score to render clearly, and in every case a 5 looked exactly like a 6.
Dear PDC World Championship Darts: You are broken.
The game has numerous other fundamental issues. One major thing is that the control scheme totally and completely sucks. You aim with the left analog stick, then pull the right analog stick back to build power and then flick it forward to toss it. The issue is that you aren't exactly controlling the power with the right analog stick, but simply starting its build-up. In other words, you can't hold it in place and sort of adjust your distance before flicking it forward. Once you start pulling back, the power starts building and doesn't stop.
On the lowest difficulty setting, you have a meter in the bottom-left-hand corner of the screen that shows you how powerful your throw currently is. This works, but then all you're doing for the entire game is managing a power meter. If you play on the Pro or Master skill setting, you don't have this power meter. You can't actually tell how hard your toss is going to be. Your players' arm animation isn't timed with your analog stick movement, so even if you wait for him to flinch and then toss it, you've already built up too much power and thrown it too hard.
I tried playing with the meter off for a while and simply could not even come close to beating the computer. In my opinion, it is completely unusable unless you're playing with friends and decide to drag them through hell with you.
If you do choose to play on the Amateur level and use the power meter, then yes, the game does become playable in some minute and vague sense of the word. However, accurately timing your throw is the only thing you'll ever do in this case. Your aiming reticule stays pretty still unless you're going for a triple-20 round or are about to win, in which case it wobbles around so fast that you can't even try to time your toss correctly. By the way, this is a really stupid design decision.
So anyway, again, all you do is pull back the stick, wait until the meter gets to the right spot and then flick the stick forward. It's easy to keep it straight, so it all comes down to timing. That's it. Some might argue that golf games offer the same mechanic. In golf games you at least have to worry about club choice, your current lay, risk versus reward, the wind, your golfer's skill levels, a changing environment, and a number of other factors that actually makes golf videogames fun. Here, nothing changes. Ever.
PDC World Championship Darts not only doesn't play well, but it goes on forever. In my second major tournament playing as my created character "Ryan Clement" (the game only supports seven letters in either part of a name, so I couldn't even fit "Clements"), I was playing in the UK Open, a 64 player tournament. That comes out to six full rounds. Good. The problem is that each round was a best of 21 legs. You can replace the word "legs" with "rounds". So, I needed to win no less than 11 games just to beat a single opponent and move on. That means that if you're perfect, you will have to win 66 games to take home the trophy. If you're perfect, you would have to throw nine darts per round to win. That's a minimum of 594 darts thrown if you're perfect. Since you probably aren't, even if you win you'll be closer to 1,000 or more tosses for that single tournament.
So again, pull back the analog stick, watch the power build, and then flick it forward about 1,000 times in a row and you might win a tournament.
Oh, but there's so much more. The announcer is a static model that doesn't move and just stands there with a mic in his hand. When he speaks, he only has one sample per line. Since you will almost always be going for triple-20s, you'll end most rounds with either 100 or 140 points scored, which means you get to hear him say "one-hundred" or "one-hundred and forty!" over and over and over again.
By my math, you'll hear these phrases about five or six-hundred times (or more) in a tournament since you can't skip the computer player's turn. And then there's another one when that's over.
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