For some time now there’s been a monopoly in the wrestling game genre – but now there’s a new contender entering the ring in the form of TNA Impact – Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. As you’d expect you get to control a bunch of wrestling superstars as they grapple, slap and jump on top of each other to prove who’s the hardest. That description could relate to something else so we’ll move on quickly. You can also create your own wrestler and kit him out with a variety of tattoos, outfits and a limited set of new moves which you’ll earn as you play.
What I like about TNA is the simplicity of the control system. The Smackdown games in the past have put me off as there’s a move list bigger than the Bible. This one’s simpler in that there are hard and soft hits, a grapple button and modifiers depending on which way you move the stick as you press a different button. You can also put opponents in submission holds where you both have to press button sequences in order to keep or break the hold, and of course you can get on the ropes and leap onto each other from above.
It’s also very fluid and doesn’t feel like you always have to wait for an animation to play out before you make your next move. There are times when you can’t hit or grapple someone when they’re getting up which is a bit weird but this doesn’t spoil the action too much. The camera when playing tag team matches is also positioned a little too far away and sometimes your view can get obscured by the ring or the edge of the screen.
I also like the story mode where you begin the game as a wrestler called Suicide who gets beaten up badly after not rigging a title fight by taking a fall. You get to reconstruct your face which is a good excuse to create your wrestler.
When it comes to looks it’s a bit up and down. The motion-captured players look good but some of the player models look a little rough round the edges compared to the bigger cover superstars of AJ Styles of Samoa Joe. Match commentary is fun at first but a few different lines of dialogue wouldn’t have gone amiss.
With a fair few game modes, a fun story mode and satisfying Xbox Live play, this first outing for TNA is a success. It may be a bit too simple for some after a couple of hours of play but it’s still a genuine fun and accessible wrestling game. TNA iMPACT! gets a very good 7 out of 10.
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