Review by Lance Mercury

"The TNA of wrestling games"

In a world where SVR is king of wrestling's video game world, Midway forged into battle with its creation, "TNA iMPACT!" It had lots to live up to, considering "WCW/nWo Revenge" and "WWF No Mercy" are still considered the best wrestling games ever released. As someone who prefers TNA to every WWE show besides SmackDown!, I was excited to see what Midway could do, especially after the awesome "War Zone" and "Attitude" games for PSOne.

The first thing that must be mentioned is the control scheme. It's fairly easy to learn and becomes more fun as you become better. A is to kick, X does punches, Y is for grappling, (with LB modifying the strength) and B is the all-purpose action button for pins, top rope climbs, etc. What raises a small red flag are the two mini-games. Submissions are tightened with a three-button combination and pinfalls are kicked out of by flicking the joystick back and forth. Look Midway, pinning predicaments are made for button mashing. That's why every THQ game outsold "War Zone." Simple is better.

I give the game props for coming up with an intriguing story line. Your character was beaten beyond recognition and left for dead in the desert of Juarez, Mexico. After some nice surgeons fix your face pro-bono, your character suddenly realizes his knack for professional wrestling. This is where you create a wrestler to lead through Mexico's underbelly, to Orlando's Impact Zone, with stops in Japan and England.

Along this journey, you become involved with or face literally TNA wrestler. Beer Money (Robert Roode and James Storm) get in your face down south. Your tryout match is against Jay Lethal. Kevin Nash becomes your mentor and Samoa Joe is your biggest fear. I like how every TNA superstar in the game, along with the inclusion of Ultimate X. However, you're also forced to wrestle nameless characters between matches with real wrestlers, which takes some wind from your sails.

Eventually, you remember the past. You used to wrestle as "Suicide" (after the Benoit tragedy? REALLY, TNA?) and had the most devastating finishes in TNA: the D.O.A. After refusing to lay down to Jeff Jarrett, he has LAX (Homicide and Hernandez) carry out the Mexico plan. I'm not telling you anything the telling hints and an iota of common sense wouldn't have.

Single player includes exhibition, tag, handicap, falls count anywhere, and Ultimate X modes. Moves will give you style points, which accumulate with every victory and unlocks finishers for your CAW, characters and arenas. I suggest getting a second controller and take some aggression out on a defenseless opponent because unlocking everything will be quite the chore.

However, what hurts "iMPACT!" most is what it doesn't have. There isn't a battle royal mode or other standard match types: cage, ladder, battle royal, etc. Also, there are NO Knockouts included. The women's division was the best thing TNA had during 2006-07 so this game does them a mad disservice. Also, there are no titles to defend.

I haven't played online so I won't comment. Commentary is very repetitive but mildly compared to some SVR games. The last thing I want to say is how weird it its seeing the roster, knowing more than 90% of them are still employed by TNA. Most WWE games have a handful of wrestlers gone from the company months before.

Bottom line: TNA has done a good, but not great, first foray into the gaming world. With its license in limbo, I hope a sequel is possible to include Matt Morgan and D'Angelo Dinero. Rent it or buy it for less than 10 bones. Can't hurt.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 11/09/09

Game Release: TNA iMPACT! (US, 09/09/08)

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