staroceaner's TNA iMPACT! (Xbox 360) review

TNA: Total Nonstop Annoyance

When TNA was established back in May of 2002, they were WWE’s biggest competition. The WWE already had a huge fan base, and sold out more shows, but TNA kept fighting, and is now close behind WWE. Some consider TNA better than WWE, some may disagree. But that doesn’t matter. The WWE was dominant for the beginning years. They had a bigger fan base, more wrestlers, and they had wrestling video games. TNA has recently teamed up with Midway to bring another wrestling game into our homes, a frustrating wrestling game I might add.

TNA: The Video Game, isn’t necessarily a bad game, it’s just that its negative qualities heavily outweigh the good. If you are not familiar with TNA, it’s similar to the WWE, except instead of fighting in a four-sided ring, they fight in a six-sided one. TNA wrestlers are fun to watch because they can do most things that the people in the WWE could never do.

However, TNA is a beautiful, beautiful game. The graphics are astonishing, and the crowd sounds and reactions couldn’t be better. The only downside is during the entrances of the wrestlers. They look amazing, with the wrestlers entering the same way as they would in real life with their music and all that, but the entrances are extremely short. They only show them exiting the tunnel, showing off a bit, and then cut to the next guy. It repeats, and then the match begins.

The first thing you probably will want to do when you pop in your copy of TNA is play a match and get used to the controls a little bit. Thankfully, TNA has an easy control scheme that’s easy to learn and fun to use. Your basic attacks, such as punching and kicking, are done by pressing the X and A buttons. You can also deal out more pain in your attacks by simply holding the Left Bumper and pressing either X or A. The Y button is used for more technical moves such as suplexes and other moves. Again, you can deal more damage to your opponent by holding LB. If you have an opponent on the ground, simply pressing B will allow you to pin, and holding LB while pressing B will let you do a submission.

It sounds confusing, but you get used to it. While the controls are easy to use, it’s a shame that you’ll rarely get to see the moves being performed. The wrestlers in TNA have a tendency to reverse a lot of your moves, and that becomes frustrating. You’ll eventually end up in a match where every move you try to do will get reversed. Reversals are done by pressing the Right Bumper at the right time. Time it perfectly, and you’ll hear a little chime indicating you’ve successfully reversed. If you don’t do it correctly, your wrestler will end up flat on his back. The wrestlers make reversals look so incredibly easy, but when you try and do it, it almost never works.

Submissions are executed by holding LB and pressing B. If you manage to successfully put somebody in a submission hold, you’ll go into a mini-game where you have to press three buttons a total of three times. If they manage to press the three buttons faster than you do, then they will kick out of the submission. Basically, submissions are pointless and stupid and serve no purpose in the match.

Matches will frustrate you because the opponents are really difficult no matter what difficulty you play on. They’ll constantly reverse, and once they gain momentum, they never stop. If you get pinned, you have to shake the left stick left and right. A bar will pop up with a meter and you must fill that meter before the fans count to three. It’ll take around 3 finishers just to put down one opponent, but not even one finisher to put you down.

The game also has a Stun Meter, and an Impact meter. As you continually dish out damage on your opponent, this little red meter will go up. Once it fills up the bar, your opponent will be stunned and unable to move, allowing you to deal out as much damage before they get up. However when it happens to you, you cannot reverse any moves, and it takes forever just to get un-stunned. The Impact meter is filled by dealing damage to your enemies and once it’s full, you have a short amount of time to grapple them and execute your finisher.

While all that is increasingly frustrated, thankfully the match options are good. There isn’t a whole lot of match types to choose from, which is a bummer, but the Ultimate X match is a fun match to play. You must climb up the turnbuckle and hang onto the rope and shimmy your way to the hanging X and you’ll execute a mini-game in which you must press the A button when the thing hits the green zone. It’ll get faster upon each succession, so it puts pressure on you to hurry up and be fast, which will cause you to screw up most of the time.

There also are not a lot of weapons to choose from. As a matter of fact, the only weapon you can use is a chair. And you’ll notice that your opponent will constantly go and grab the chair and use it on you. There is no sense of realism here because there is no referee in the middle of the ring to stop the guy from beating you with a chair. So every match you play is a no-holds-barred, anything-goes type of match.

If you choose to play story mode, you’ll still be disappointed. Not only is there still the problem of opponents constantly reversing your moves and always winning, but now you have a storyline. The story goes is that you are a famed wrestler named Suicide. You had everything, fame money, and you even won the world championship. Then two thugs beat you up and leave you in . You get surgery done and that prompts the character creation. Once you finish creating your character, you will have to fight in several matches until you get a chance to go and wrestle in TNA. The storyline is completely bland, and you really start to lose interest about a quarter of the way into the story.

Character creation is fun however. You’ll start with a guy and you’ll be able to pick all sorts of different options. At first it’s limited to a few moves, but you’ll eventually unlock more throughout the game by earning Style Points, which are earned based on your performance in a match. You’ll also get to choose clothing, tattoos, and other things to customize your character with.

Overall TNA is a really, really frustrating game. Reversals happen way more often then they should, and the story mode is bland and uninteresting. The game is fun to play with a friend, granted they don’t reverse as often and the computer does and you’ll actually stand a chance unless they play religiously. TNA can be a fun game, and is an amazing looking game, but that’s all it is, an amazing looking game. It has the easiest control scheme you’ll see in a wrestling video game today, but what fun is that if you can’t perform the moves because they keep getting reversed. TNA is a game you should avoid, unless you are a huge fan of the show. Even if you are, it is a little difficult to enjoy this game.

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