Review by trackdemon
An Impact in the Pro Wrestling Genre
When Vince McMahon bought out WCW and ECW in 2001 it left WWE as the sole national promotion. With the buyout of those two promotions it left WWE without any competition for TV ratings, PPV rating and in the video game market.
With TNA Impact! the WWE finally had some competition, but does it stack up.
The Story in Impact puts you in the role of a wrestler named "Suicide". As suicide you are the number one wrestler in the world. Jealousy builds in the locker room until the TNA stars decide to jump you and leave you for dead in Mexico.
When you awake in a hospital, you have no memory of who you are or how you got there. Shortly after waking you participate in a wrestling tourney in Mexico. As you work your way up you reach the US indies and eventually TNA.
The story is simple, but different enough from other wrestling games to keep it fresh. Wrestling through the different venues is a real treat. The Mexican venue is dusty while the Japanese venue has nice subtle touches such as the crowd acting more respectful during the match, as they would in real life.
The only downside is the fact that many of your matches are against other Indy wrestlers instead of TNA stars. Luckily it does not distract from the game and is hardly noticeable once you get immersed in the story.
The sound effects on this game are some of the best heard in a wrestling title. The Crowd sounds exceptionally realistic while the ring sound is spot on. The ring entrances are typical TNA fare and keeps the game sounding as authentic as possible.
The menu music is taken from the wrestlers entrances, which is a very nice touch.
The graphics are exceptionally good in TNA impact. The player models, while not perfect, look very accurate to real life. Sting, in particular, looks very realistic.
The arenas, as mentioned above, are top notch and easily the best arenas ever rendered on a wrestling game.
Each arena has a different feel to it. The Impact Zone is a photo-realistic coopy of the Impact Zone in Orlando, FL. The Mexican Arena has some very nice touches such as dirt at ringside, as well as the Mexican city ambiance that will make one feel as if they are on the streets of Mexico City.
The Armory has a very nice rustic feel to it that emulates many of the US Indy Promotions.
However, the best arena in the game is easily the Japanese venue. The Japanese venue has the respectful crowd that is normally seen in Japanese matches and add a touch of realism previously absent from wrestling games.
The gameplay in TNA impact is leaps and bounds better than the Smackdown series. Midway has scraped the sometimes difficult control scheme from the SVR series and instead opted to go with a simple control scheme reminiscent of the WCW vs nWo series.
Reversals are fairly easy to pull off. While the computer may seem to reverse your moves quite often when you first start to play the game, once you figure out the system it is not bad at all.
The game requires you to beat down an opponent before attempting big moves. The more tired and damaged an opponent is, the less likely they will reverse a move.
The pick up and play controls help add to the enjoyment of the game. The wrestling matches feel much more authentic than any other next gen title. Most of the action is back and fourth and have a very solid and fluid feel to the game.
The controls are very basic and easy to understand. Moves require pressing the face buttons with the left thumbstick to pull off different moves.
The response is top notch and makes it very easy to pull off some good wrestling moves. However, it does still offer enough strategy that it will still take a few hours of playing to master the game.
Kicking out of pin attempts requires the player to wiggle the control stick back and forth. While this can be annoying at first, it is pretty easy to kick out of attempts once you get the hang of it.
The only downside in TNA is the lack of wrestlers. However, the roster that is on the game is top notch. With Sting, Booker T, Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, Christian and Double J in the game, the lack of other wrestlers doesn't deter from enjoyment of the game.
The game modes feature one on one, tag, free for all and ultimate X matches. The gameplay is fast and fluid enough that it will keep you occupied for a long time. The Ultimate X match is top notch and a very good multiplayer event.
Overall, a quality wrestling purchase that will be revisited over and over.
+ Easy control system
+ Fast gameplay
+ Good Storyline
+ Great graphics
+ Ultimate X Match
- lack of game modes
TNA impact is worth a purchase for any wrestling fan. Impact offers a great change of pace from the WWE games and is the best wrestling game available for the next gen systems.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Product Release: TNA iMPACT! (US, 09/09/08)
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