Review: TNA iMPACT! (360)
Detract four points for their use of capitals.
When it comes to wrestling games the best 2 games in my opinion are Virtual Pro Wrestling Two for the N64 and Fire pro wrestling D for the Dreamcast. Yet the biggest franchise is the Smackdown series, which hasn’t had a good game since Smackdown: Here Comes The Pain which came out in 2003. So fans of wrestling games have had to get their fix from indie PC games and mods for VPW2 and Fire Pro.
So with the release of a new Wrestling game in the shape of TNA: iMPACT! (their spelling and punctuation not mine), fans are interested to see if it’s any good. Well it’s certainly better than the Smackdown Vs Raw games, though that wouldn’t be too difficult. So how does this game shape up?
The game has a linear story unlike the Smackdown games with their different branches. The story isn’t too bad though and certainly better than the ridiculous stuff in the Smackdown games. The story starts out with your character Suicide winning the TNA championship, but afterwards you get beaten down by LAX and get kidnapped and left for dead in Mexico. You are so badly beaten that you get your face reconstructed by plastic surgeons and this is where you create your character for the game.
Unlike most wrestling games you can only use a created wrestler in the story mode and the create a wrestler isn’t too bad. Its not as detailed as in the Smackdown games, but your character looks a lot more defined than in SVR08. So you lose the ability to layer patterns and modify practically everything for a higher definition character.
Another thing this game does different is that, most wrestling games make you assign points to your characters. This game doesn’t have this, the only difference to the characters is either what type of wrestler they are. So each type of wrestler has a different move-set. So you can’t make a super powered character, which is definitely a good thing when it comes to playing this game on-line.
Once you’ve decided on the look of your character its time for your first match, because although you’ve got amnesia and don’t know who you are, you know you’re a wrestler. Unfortunately Your amnesia also spreads to your wrestling knowledge. So as you progress through the story you learn new moves to add to your repertoire. This is done by the points you accrue by how well you do during your matches.
When it comes to wrestling games the mechanics of how it plays are very important and luckily the mechanics are pretty good. First of your basic attacks are punch kick and grapple holding down the left bumper make you do a hard version of these moves. You press the right bumper to reverse moves and this is where the game shines, because you can chain together reversals. So for example player one tries to whip player two into the turn-buckle, P2 can reverse it and whip P1. Then if P1 reverses that it will get P2 on their shoulders for a Samoan drop, well P2 can reverse this into a swinging neck-breaker.
This mechanic works very well and makes the game rather unique. Unfortunately the rest of the move-set is rather lacklustre. So a lot of the wrestlers share the same moves apart from one or two signature moves and generally the game is rather more arcadey than a simulation. Which isn’t really a bad thing, since having a stamina meter judging how many times you hit someone just doesn’t work.
Does this game have the impact it requires to topple the Smackdown from the top spot? Well the short answer is â€œnoâ€ but that won’t cover two hundred words. TNA iMPACT has a great game engine with the most fast paced and fun wrestling mechanics I’ve played for some considerable time.
My real complaint is that the game feels rushed and a lot of content that I would like to have seen in the game did not quite make the cut. In fact a few of TNA’s top wrestlers, such as Petey Williams, were not included due to time constraints.
That said while this game is lacking in options and gameplay modes it’s easily the most fun I have had playing a wrestling game with friends huddled around my 360 since WcW vs. NwO Revenge and that’s saying something.
With all that said this is a really good start by Midway and TNA but they really do need to build upon this in the next instalment, assuming there will be one, because the fighting engine is fine but the game really does need more content in the way of more match types and wrestler customisation.
Secondary Score: 6/10
The character models are very good and animations are great, with a great feeling of impact with the moves. The cut scenes use the character models from the game and the facial animations are good as well. Though some of the cut scenes are done in a weird comic panel style with a voice over. When this first happened I thought my 360 was freezing up on me.
The majority of matches in single player are against fictional wrestlers made up from the parts in the create a wrestler stock. Actual TNA wrestlers are used as boss characters of sorts. So you get to the end of a chapter in the game and have to fight an actual wrestler. This makes the game a lot longer without having you fighting the same guys repeatedly.
The sound in the games is another good thing, plenty of suitable thumps, crashes bangs and wallops. All of the wrestlers lend their voices to the game, so there’s no sitting there reading subtitles of what the wrestlers are threatening to do to you. Unfortunately the commentators are very repetitive, luckily they can be turned off.
This is a good game, but the lack of moves ultimately let it down. Each wrestler only has one finisher which is a shame. It wouldn’t have been too difficult to add different finishing moves. For an example if you whipped someone into the turnbuckle you could do an aerial move from that. The potential is there for a great wrestling game, its jut not quite there yet. The groundwork has been laid down and hopefully any sequels will improve on this formula.