Gameplay ImpressionsWhat do we like?
PDC 2009 does offer the complete darts package on Wii, there's no doubt about it. There's far more content then we bargained for with a whole host of features and game modes that ensure there’s plenty to do outside of the career mode. The introduction of 8-player custom tournaments allows family and friends to join in the action and the party games provide a good and entertaining respite from the intense career mode. Such is the attention to detail this year that PDC 2009 even caters for left-handed players.
Though it's impossible to mimic exactly what it’s like to throw a dart, especially when the Wii Remote doesn’t feel like you’re holding one, the control scheme has been implemented extremely well. It's the closest that any darts game has got to simulating the sport realistically and it’s clear that work has been done to improve targeting since last year's effort. When you’re standing at the oche, PDC 2009 does an admirable job at making you feel under pressure with every dart you throw and therefore it can be very exciting when you’re trying to check-out or hit that third, elusive treble-twenty.
The career mode offers a nice balance between accessibility and challenge. In the early stages it's quite easy to breeze past players, but as you meet some of the better players things really start to hot up and you have to rely on your skill to get you through. Apparently, opponent A.I. is calculated using real life averages from major tournaments. It means that during the latter stages you feel totally immersed in the action because you can't afford not to score high.
The audio experience has improved since last year, with a lively atmosphere in the crowd and believable commentary adding to the tension at the oche. With the official license, 18 PDC Pros to play as, customisable tournaments and plenty of party games to get stuck into, there's vast replay value once you've completed the career mode.
What don't we like?
The control scheme still needs refining. There are moments where it feels like whatever you do with the Wii Remote will result in the same outcome. It doesn't happen very often, but when it does you start to question the whole mechanic. While it does look better than last year's effort, there's still some horrible looking animations, particularly in the crowd, and unimpressive character models. When you glance around you it's clear to see that the developer mustn't have had a large budget by today's standards.
You can throw in as many game modes as you like, but it doesn't make up for the fact that there's no online functionality in PDC 2009. The series really needed this to step up to the next level: it's a glaring omission from a modern day sport's game.
The PDC franchise is certainly heading in the right direction. Though it lacks in presentation and online functionality, there's been plenty of improvement from last year's decent effort. Next year, if the developer can implement an online component and utilise the upcoming Wii Motion Plus add-on for a smoother darts experience, then fans will really be in for a treat. As it stands though, PDC 2009 is still the most complete darts package out there and should provide more than enough entertainment to keep fans happy for another year.
Final Verdict: 7.5/10