It's not glamorous, it's not mainstream, it's not sexy and it's not attention-grabbing. None of these things would have been a problem for PDC World Championship Darts 2008 had it not been for a slightly more troublesome flaw that's harder to ignore - it's also not very good. At all.
You know it's bad news when you fire up the game and rock-lite dribbles out of the speakers with about as much enthusiasm as Andy Fordham eating a salad. Worse still, the music begrudgingly does its thing in a menu that would embarrass Paintshop Pro. It's not long before you know to lower your expectations.
True to form, the game itself never pushes beyond its low budget, low fun limitations. The control system has you aiming a reticle before pulling back on the analogue stick and pushing it forward to replicate the flick of your dart-throwing arm. That's it. No, that is literally it. Honestly. There's another button on the pad to zoom in and the start button pauses the game. The other buttons are relegated to pad decoration. You might wonder where the depth lies. We're wondering the same thing.
It starts off as mildly amusing but the career grind quickly crushes any joy out of you, as you go through the motions over and over and over again. Each match becomes a soulless routine of flinging three darts at the red triple 20 block. PDC World Championship Darts can't find any way of disguising how mechanical and robotic the whole process becomes, especially as the minute hand-to-eye co-ordination needed in real darts isn't replicated here. As a result, a couple of matches in, it quickly becomes a chore.
The sparse commentary and PlayStation2 emulator style graphics don't help convince you that you're not wasting your time. Multiplayer does improve things slightly, with the standard game being good fun and the mini-games being a fairly diverse and eclectic collection. Even so, it's not likely to keep anyone glued to their 360 for the afternoon, let alone more than one day.
It's tempting to praise Oxygen for tackling the tricky job of turning this pub sport into an enjoyable videogame but instead, all Oxygen proves is why darts is better off as a novelty mini-game rather than the main attraction.
Go down the pub instead
- + Well, it's fun...
- - ...for all of ten minutes
- - No depth
- - Horrible presentation
- - Really, really dull