TNA iMPACT! (x360)
A wrestling game may seem like a strange choice. Cancel that, a wrestling game must seem like a strange choice: they’re traditionally very slow and robotic, difficult to handle, and very repetitive. They also don’t stand up to the same level of scrutiny in terms of variety and depth of gameplay that the Tekken and DoA legions demand.
TNA iMPACT! by Midway games has breathed new life into the genre and has changed my opinion of wrestling games for the better, although I’m not entirely sure why. The same combinations of buttons lead to the same moves that almost all wrestlers have in common, and after the first match you will have heard all of the commentry that the game has to offer. The handling is fairly intuitive (and very quick to learn) but still feels robotic in places, and there’s still no strategy other than to chip away at the enemy’s health bar and then try to pin him, regardless of the wrestler that you’re using and the wrestler that you’re fighting. The lack of strategy can be observed by watching the AI: sometimes they’ll block a punch, sometimes they won’t. Sometimes they’ll reverse a hold that you’ve put them in, and other times they won’t.
Given how little they could get away with it’s impressive to see the lengths that Midway have gone to polish the game. They clearly tried to make this game the best ever wrestling game and leave it in a position to hold the title for a while: there’s a story mode with an actually interesting and well-written story, with lots of colourful characters and good cutscenes. There’s a create your own player mode, and there’s four player multiplayer at one console. New characters, new moves for the create a player mode, and new arenas can all be unlocked (for the fans of collectibles). This isn’t a game for the hardcore beat ‘em up genre fans, in the same way that WWF isn’t for hardcore martial arts fans. This is a game for people who want a shallow but fun way to kill a weekend with a friend, or who enjoy the showmanship style of fighting. TNA iMPACT! is to DoA what Earth Defence Force 2017 is to Gears of War: simpler, brighter, but much easier to pick up and play. It’s also more addictive than any of them.
Laying the smackdown since 2007