TNA iMPACT! Review
Wrestling is so turn of the millennium. Worse still the highlight of wrestling for me was in the mid 1990’s. But yet worldwide there are still fans of this ‘sport’ and its something I refer to as a sport, fairly lightly. Huge men pretending to jump and beat each other up does feel somewhat far-fetched when there are far better extreme sports out there.
The WWE series (always WWF) to me has become evermore stale and once we were treated to at least yearly installments of the series which were a chart-topping seller. Alas no more and Midway has decided to turn things round a little and join in on the action in effectively a strong contender for the golden belt.
Unlike some of the WWE titles, TNA iMPACT Wrestling (also known as ‘Tits ‘n’ Ass’ – wonder who made that up?) is quite an easy title to get to grips with and doesn’t suffer from the sluggish movement that has marred wrestling titles in the past. The wrestlers are fluid, fast and perform all manner of attacks from kicks, punches and grapples at the push of a button.
An interesting system which has been implemented in TNA is the ability to counter-attack when your opponent grabs you. If you hit the RB button at the precise moment then you can perform a reversal which will see you over-power the opponent and grapple them to the floor. However a flaw in this system is how often the AI opponent manages to perform these attacks which can be frustrating. The best way to combat this is by lowering their strength (shown by the body meter; sections turn red if you are weak) by performing quick punches or attacks from the ropes then pulling off one of your signature moves to finish them off.
A variety of wrestlers are on offer (some stronger and more heavyweight than others) and unlike some games the wrestlers have actually motion-acted all the scenes in the game which means what you see is pretty much an accurate reflection of the wrestlers in real life. No fake actors have been used in the game and the only time the visuals let the game down is in some animation sequences where a jump or flicker are the only obvious problems.
When you are in the arena the obvious aim is to smack the life out of your opponent. However with each move that you perform you earn points for special attacks and the Impact meter will fill up. When this is full you can then perform a signature move and each wrestler has a different one. Perform this attack before the meter runs out and effectively you have won the game.
The other feature in-game is Submission and when the opponent grabs you in a headlock or similar move, a series of button options will appear in the top left hand corner. If you manage to tap these buttons in order, and quickly, you will probably manage to avoid being beaten if the opponent has you in a hold. If the opponent however bashes them first then you’ll probably end up with some nasty damage. The system allows you for a realistic way of avoiding being battered constantly when you are weak.
With all the strengths however with TNA, there has to be some weaknesses and yes it is back to the comparison with the WWE series (and after all we compare to see both the good and bad!). Unlike WWE games, there is a lack of modes available. That isn’t to say it isn’t worth picking up because what you do have on offer is nine match types which really isn’t a bad number. But for those who are used to the countless modes on offer in a WWE game then it may come as a let down.
The modes include basic singles matches, tag-team, free-for-all, submission with a tag variation, two-on-one handicaps and the most interesting of all the Ultimate X event. Players compete here to grab a giant X which is hung by chains in the centre of the arena and naturally things can get a little messy. The story mode on offer traces each wrestler’s ups and downs in the arena and is fairly comprehensive with achievements to boast.
As the norm in these type of games now, create a wrestler is on offer, but the options are fairly limited and the lack of female wrestlers (where exactly did the ‘tits’ nickname come from then?) means women fans will have to opt for the muscular men instead.
The games difficulty curve is fair and while moves are easy to perform it can take a few attempts to win the first match. Once you have the hang of things then it’ll feel more natural and you’ll be winning belts in no time. What Midway have created for their first wrestling game is impressive. Sadly without the wealth of option from the WWE Smackdown series, TNA Impact! won’t be making an impact on the wrestling world for the time being and we only hope that with a larger roster and variety of game-types, the next TNA will be a strong contender and bring wrestling back into the ring. But for now, big pats on the back.