PDC World Championship Darts 2009 Wii
Published by: Oxygen Games
Developed by: REDOUBT
I have to be honest and admit that I rarely bother to put on the wrist strap that's attached to the Wii remote. The reason for this is that when playing multiplayer games where you pass the remote, it's much quicker if you don't have to undo the wrist strap all of the time. However, there are some games where it's essential that you're securely attached to the Wii remote and PDC World Championship Darts 2009 is one of those games. Having to hold the remote like a dart and perform a throwing action (although you shouldn't release the remote as you would a dart) is only going to lead to disaster should it accidentally fly out of your hand and into the TV or whatever else is in its path.
PDC World Championship Darts 2009 offers a variety of modes and local multiplayer support for up to eight players. The modes on offer are Exhibition, Play It Your Way, Career, Party Games and Practice. Play It Your Way allows up to eight players to compete in custom tournaments and leagues or you can choose to take part in official events with the US Open, UK Open, Las Vegas Desert Classic, World Matchplay, World Grand Prix, German Darts Championship and World Championship available to compete in. Career mode allows you to take either a Pro player or a custom created player (male or female) through a virtual career. Party Games is a mode for up to four players and offers games such as 301, 501, 701 (with double-in variants for all three), Around the Clock, Around the Clock - Doubles 'n' Trebles, Black 'n' White, Cricket US, Cricket UK, Fives, Half It and various others too.
The most important aspect of the game is the control system and how effective it is. Holding the Wii remote like a dart (either with the A button facing upwards or to the side) certainly seem like an intuitive control system and in all honesty it works quite well although it's not quite as accurate as it could have been (support for the Wii Motion Plus next year I assume). The game does allow you to enable an aiming assist and it's certainly a good idea to use these assists whilst you're getting to grips with the controls. The one reservation I have is the with the weight of the remote. Now I haven't played darts for years but from memory the Wii remote seems significantly heavier than the darts I used to play with (I actually preferred the slim barrels rather than the chunkier variety) and I began to find it uncomfortable during lengthy playing sessions. This probably won't be a problem for those with studier wrists but for everyone else and children especially, it certainly might be an issue.
The game also takes on board the concept of dart weights. You can opt to use either a heavy, medium or light dart. Heavy darts require a harder throwing action but their advantage is that you don't have to be quite so accurate in regards to lateral and vertical movement. Light darts, as you would expect, are just the opposite being easier to throw but are much more sensitive and require a greater deal of accuracy. Medium darts are the safe in between option and by default you'll be using these darts. It could be argued that the concept of dart weights is simply a gimmick and nothing but a sensitivity setting but it does add some additional depth to the game.
Graphically the game looks marginally better than PDC World Championship Darts 2008 on the PlayStation 2 but it's still have a game that's rather disappointing in terms of its graphical quality. The player models could have looked better and the various arenas you'll play in are disappointing. During a match the screen is split in two with the dartboard being displayed on the left half and the right half being occupied by a graphical depiction the player taking his throw. Personally I would have rather just had the dartboard fill the screen but it's no big deal and you soon get used to how everything is laid out.
The game isn't bad for deaf gamers even though no real attempt has been made to make it deaf gamer friendly. Commentary and announcer comments are not subtitled so you'll miss out on some of the game's ambiance. Whilst this is unfortunate, it doesn't provide any obstacles to enjoying the game as all of the important information is shown visually. In fact the commentary is repetitive and rather grating as a result. The game manual is very basic and could have been more informative but again this is more of a disappointment than a problem. At least the game does a good job of providing text descriptions of how to play all of the game variants on offer.
Those looking for a darts game to play on their Wii console will definitely find that PDC World Championship Darts 2009 is a satisfying experience. It's not perfect and whilst the controls are mostly OK, they could stand to be more accurate. You also have the problem of the weight of the Wii remote to contend with and whilst this isn't a problem for short sessions, I found it rather uncomfortable during longer games. The lack of online play is disappointing. Finally, the game itself is more expensive than buying a real dartboard and a set of soft tipped darts although you could really argue that's irrelevant, if you're taking the game on its own merits, but it's certainly a consideration.