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Platform

Xbox 360

 

Genre

Fighting

 

Publisher

Midway

 

Developer

Midway, Los Angeles

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

September 9, 2008

 

 

- OK single-player story mode, although most gamers won’t have much difficulty completing it rather quickly

‑ Online play runs smoothly without any lags, but it can take a while to find an Xbox Live rival to square off against

 

 

‑ Sometimes frustrating and unexpectedly schizophrenic controls, particularly during tag-team matches

‑ Takes much too long to finish off some matches, even when gamers have completely smashed and mashed to a pulp a seemingly incapacitated opponent

‑ Reliance on furious back and forth thumbing of the Xbox 360 controller’s thumbsticks for pins and breaking holds will send more than a few gamers to the local gaming store to buy a replacement for their now-broken controller

 

 

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TNA Impact!

Score: 7.0 / 10

 

For this reviewer, all the fun and excitement of professional wrestling took place back in the ’80s when the World Wrestling Federation’s popularity exploded with stars such as Andre the Giant, Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, Randy “Macho Man” Savage, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, Ivan “the Polish Power” Putzki and especially the one and only Hulk Hogan.

 

tna impact          tna impact


Although once those stars dimmed from the wrestling scene to be replaced by the next generation or two of grappling stars, so did this reviewer’s interest in pro wrestling. However, the “sport” has continued to be a popular attraction through various wrestling organizations over the years, and that popularity is why there

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have been so many wrestling videogames released.

One of the newest is a first-time wrestling effort from Midway, which brings TNA (Total Nonstop Action) wrestling to the Xbox 360 with TNA iMPACT! (apparently there’s the need for an exclamation point – along with a crazy spelling of “impact” ‑ to really, really make some kind of impression of excitement, or something of the sort).

 

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Bringing a collection of TNA stars including Sting to the virtual ring, along with a bunch more that this reviewer has no clue who they are except big, beefy, brawny brawlers such as Christian Cage, Scott Steiner, Jay Lethal and Eric Young. There are 25 wrestler in all that gamers will either wrestle as or against in the many modes of TNA iMPACT! The single-player mode pits the gamer in the leather boots and mask of a wrestler named Suicide, who, after winning a match and getting beat down then left for dead in the streets, makes a comeback from the lowest ranks of wrestling to reach for the brass ring and the chance of superstardom in the TNA. It’s not exactly the most original story, but suffices to get gamers into the action and learn its intricacies, although the single-player story can be completed relatively quickly.

Another one of TNA iMPACT!’s modes is a very good online component via Xbox Live. It may be difficult to find matches quickly on a regular basis, but once you’ve entered the Xbox Live ring against another online wrestler, TNA iMPACT! performs with a high level of smooth, lag-free gameplay.

However, the controls, particularly during tag-team matches, can be frustratingly unresponsive at times and schizophrenically unpredictable. When a gamer is fighting one part of another tag-team duo and happens to be near the other member of that tag team, the game inexplicably focuses on the unintended wrestler, which can lead to an inadvertent beat-down from behind from the wrestler that’s supposed to be a gamer’s intended target in the ring. The gamer’s wrestler will literally turn his back on his opponent, losing focus on the brutal beefcake he’s supposed to be fighting.

 

tna impact          tna impact

 

Essentially, the game’s moves are nothing more than button-mashing combos, with each button providing some sort of wrestling move, including a variety of punches, kicks, tosses and slams. Gamers can also use chairs strewn outside the ring to crash down upon opponents. The most destructive move in the entire TNA iMPACT! repertoire can’t be unleashed on an in-game foe. Instead, it annihilates the Xbox 360 controller. To both pin and break out of a pin, gamers must rapidly and violently throttle the Xbox 360 controller’s thumbstick back and forth, certain to send more than a few gamers to their local gaming store to buy a new controller a replacement for their now-broken controller.

One annoyance of TNA iMPACT! is that it’s hard to finish matches without learning a crapload of in-game moves first. An on-screen meter shows the amount of damage to every wrestler’s body parts. When gamers successfully get an opponent down on the mat, particularly injurious attacks can be used, including crashing with extreme prejudice onto helpless opponent’s arms, legs, head and yes, even testicles. But without the move expertise learned from memorizing the button combos of hard-core and potentially match-winning moves and using them with a proper timing technique, matches can drag out for what seems like forever, even if a gamer is wailing the literal life out of a opponent (according to the health meter) with wave after wave of devastating seemingly bone-breaking moves.

Despite getting slammed harder than a flying elbow smash to the cranium with some aggravating control issues and a somewhat short single-player experience, wrestling gamers, especially TNA fans, will be able to tolerate TNA iMPACT! if for nothing more than the chance to control one of their favorite wresters in what turns out to be a just-OK wrestling videogame lacking the impact that its name implies it possesses.

‑ Lee Cieniawa
lcieniawa@armchairempire.com

(November 3, 2008)

 

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