PDC World Championship DartsESRB:
Developer: Mere Mortals
Publisher: Oxygen Interactive Software Inc
Memory Stick Duo 416 KB game save
Wi-Fi Compatible (Ad Hoc) (1-2 players)
The PSP has had some great games over the years. Everything from popular puzzle games, action games, to some of the best sports titles, the library is quite diverse. Now, comes PDC World Championship Darts. I must admit darts is not really my cup of tea, but I was somewhat intrigued at the prospect of some regular gaming on Sony’s little handheld.
Graphically speaking the game looks and flows similar to a real life darts match you may see on T.V. It uses many of the real life arenas and as well as actual players from the circuits. For the most part the latter are quite faithfully re-produced with some of them being spitting images, big tummies and all. Most fans of the sport will instantly recognize them, along with the venues. The create a character mode is somewhat competent too; you can upload a picture of yourself and have your virtual self be your avatar. Overall the graphics portraying these least athletic of athletes is generally excellent. On a side note, the game has a few areas that display some slow framerates, but overall the game moves very well.
The games audio is virtually the very same as the Wii version. The games best players have the game’s best commentary duo in Sid Waddell and Bruce Spendley. They are quite funny at times and do re–create the sport of darts atmosphere very well. The crowd also makes great noises as they cheer and clap, but really how much can you expect out of a crowd of dart fans. I suggest that you utilize the PSP’s headphone jack as headphones are the best way to listen the various sounds in PDC World Championship Darts. I found that the music is nothing to be impressed about and as I sit here and type this review I think the same tune was used throughout the whole game.
I must admit I really love my PSP. I use the system for RSS feeds and internet radio applications galore. Unfortunately the often forgotten system is starved for games and it doesn’t get the play time it deserves. As a result the gizmo collects proverbial gaming dust.
While Darts may not be on gamers lists on this side of the Atlantic, I’m excited to be actually gaming on the mini PS powerhouse.
I found quickly PDC World Championship Darts is not an easy affair. I have always had a bone of contention for the PSP and its analog nub for a controller. I, along with many other gamers I am sure, wish for a second nub. Control in PDC World Championship Darts is a hit and miss affair (no pun intended) and an exercise in futility at best. You aim your darts by moving a crosshair around the segmented dartboard, aiming at the section you want to land your dart in, then let fly with a sadistically unforgiving slide bar similar to those used in most older golf titles. This is made easier depending of the difficulty setting, giving you either a marker bar to aim for or letting you try and judge the power needed on the fly. It’s not easy and while practise will obviously improve your throwing you are never guaranteed to hit the target.
You can zoom in and out on the dart board with the L and R shoulder buttons buy placing the circular aiming cursor exactly where you want to aim. It seems to suggest that the whole process is going to be pointlessly easy; but it’s not in the least. High pressure shots like the winning throw or a chance to sink that third dart into the triple twenty and earn a top score of one hundred and eighty will shake your aiming reticule, representing the pressure of the one glorious shot. Score it and give in to unlimited smugness, miss it and perhaps miss the chance at victory that comes with it. As opposed to the Wii version the PSP is sadly lacking the control department.
Take the unforgiving control with a grain of salt and the rest of the game is somewhat decent. PDC World Championship Darts has a plethora of modes as well as a not often seen game sharing feature. You can go head-to-head with some of the greatest PDC Champions. Take on 16 of these greats in single and multiplayer matches. Players can take on the pros in four different game modes: Exhibition, Tournament, Career and Party Games. Player AI is calculated using real life averages from major tournaments. Three difficulty levels offer extended play and learning curves (Amateur, Professional and Master). I must give kudos to the development team for trying to make the game as realistic as possible.
PDC World Championship Darts also offers wireless multiplayer for two players, as well as the aforementioned game sharing. You can also import your own customized photos through your Memory Stick Duo and assign them to a profile as well as customize your playlist for the game using your MP3's, making PDC Darts World Championship Darts on the PSP System the most personalized version yet. So for gamers on the go this version packs quite a lot of punch into the handheld, it’s unfortunate the control is so terrible.
I should mention that there is another major flaw besides the control in the PSP version of game that I didn't find in the Wii counterpart. With a bit of exploring you can exploit a weakness, and cheat over and over again. I found this trick, if you will, purely out of chance while fooling around with the nub. By aiming at the top of the dart board and then tossing the dart with no power you can have it wind up hitting the triple-20 every single time. You have to get your shot straight, but with a little practice this isn't very difficult. The game actually helps you cheat because when the scoring meters extend to show you the number of 120, 140 and 180 point rounds that you and your opponent have racked up, it winds up becoming the perfect target for you, allowing you to use this method anywhere on the dart board to finish out your round. You can of course ignore this cheat and try to do things on your own, but once you realize that you can do this if you get into a pinch, it'll be hard not to pull this card out of your sleeve and cheat to take home the prize.
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