TNA iMPACT! Preview for Xbox 360

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Kurt Angle says TNA Impact! will revolutionise the wrestling genre.
Kurt Angle says TNA Impact! will revolutionise the wrestling genre.

Kurt Angle says TNA Impact! will revolutionise the wrestling genre.

Wrestling games are, on the whole, either above average or just plain average. Once you get over the novelty of being able to mess about with huge character models of your favourite wrestling stars, and perhaps dabbled in the creation of your own oversized muscle bound freak, you're left with little more than a poorly made, clunky and repetitive fighting game.

So it is that TNA Impact! arrives on the scene, a new player not only in video game land but in TV wrestling land too. And while TNA Impact! lacks experience, it certainly makes up for it in confidence, with a promise to revolutionise the stagnant wrestling video game genre and pretty much destroy the WWE Smackdown VS Raw franchise. The big question, of course, is whether or not that confidence is justified? We oiled up and threw ourselves into the hexagonal ring with wrestling star Kurt Angle to find out.

On the face of it there's little to suggest TNA Impact! will be any better than WWE Smackdown VS Raw, which has been getting poor review scores in recent years. You've got a 25-man roster, including Kurt Angle, Booker T, Sting, Jeff Tarrett, Christian Cage, Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, Rhino and Rick Steiner to name a few. You've got a story mode which allows you to create your own wrestler, customise him and embark on a career. You've got signature moves, over-the-top entrances, off-the-top rope action and online play. Everything you could want from a wrestling game in terms of features. But does it play well?

We had the opportunity to spend a couple of hours in the company of the Xbox 360 version of the game, playing some one versus one exhibition matches to get a feel for things. Unfortunately, this early build showed little to suggest the game will be any better than WWE Smackdown vs. Raw, which is a shame really, since there's definitely an opportunity to overtake it in terms of quality right now. It is worth stressing that the build on display was apparently a few months old, although we can only comment on what we played.

With Smackdown vs. Raw flagging, will TNA Impact! wrestle away top spot?

With Smackdown vs. Raw flagging, will TNA Impact! wrestle away top spot?

You've got the big character models, as you'd expect, with sweat and fairly realistic reactions to attacks (like holding their back after a suplex). But controlling the beasts is clunky and feels like trudging through treacle. The graphics too aren't anything to write home about. Kurt Angle says the thing which will set TNA Impact! apart from WWE Smackdown vs. Raw is the tremendous authenticity. From what we've seem the game looks and feels pretty much the same except with a six-sided ring and different wrestlers. Good for fans of THQ's series but not so great for wrestling fans wanting something different.

The controls in TNA Impact! closely follow those found in Smackdown vs. Raw. You have a punch attack, a kick attack, a grapple attack, a run, a pin and a counter. What our matches boiled down to was a race to see who could grapple who first, and thus who could perform basic wrestling moves like pile drivers and suplexes. We understand that special moves do become available when your Impact meter fills up, displayed underneath the wrestler names at the top of the screen, but we couldn't seem to trigger them. The counter button allowed us to swivel around our opponent when we were grappled, but apart from that the actual fighting, which all wrestling games are judged on, was basic and at times frustrating.

Because we haven't had the chance to get our hands on the final game, we'll give Kurt Angle's trash talking the benefit of the doubt. He talks about the motion-captured wrestlers, realistic facial expressions and a crowd that reacts to what's going on in-ring rather than just cheering all the time. He talks about all of these things without going into the finer gameplay details though, which is interesting. We'll see how things turn out come the summer, when the game is scheduled for release.

Here's hoping the development team is hard at work polishing the hell out of it right now, otherwise we feel the opportunity to wrestle the number one spot from WWE Smackdown vs. Raw, an opportunity WWE publisher THQ has itself gift wrapped, will slip right through its oversized, oiled-up fingers. Wrestling fans are screaming out for a solid game to come along and challenge the WWE series, if only to force THQ into making changes. Only time will tell if TNA Impact! is the game to do it.

TNA Impact! is scheduled for release on Xbox 360, PS3, PS2 and Wii in Summer 20008.

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tnastinks's Avatar
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tnastinks

Tna are total non losers wwe has the best wrestlers ,best highflyer (jeffhardy) batista,triphle h,reymysterio,undertaker,show,hbk,jerich o, and so many more

tna has got only aj styles and christian cage and the rest are all losers wich blab and keep barking like doggs
Posted 18:53 on 10 October 2008
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Diezel

TNA is are rum of wcw with a few new wrestlers and some ex wwe wrestlers who couldn't seem to make in the big time when u got christian or kurt angle as ur main eventers yeah ur show sucks they couldnt hack it in the wwe so they went some were more there speed and style a low budget re run of wcw which was put into the ground by who yeah thats right wwe and so will this wanna be ecw is even better to watch then tna
Posted 13:34 on 03 August 2008
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Fu#k TNA

TNA (total non action )has stupid wrestlers and besides most of the TNA locker Room are fired WWE Superstars that suck and went to TNA AND GET THERE PAD CHECK. WWE They triable the world. TNA Burly lives Universal studios and we all No that One They TNA Will get canceled and gone
Posted 12:44 on 25 July 2008
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NO ONE

wwe is better tna is sh*t
Posted 04:36 on 07 July 2008
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Alex

A roster half SvR's size? Gameplay that's exactly the same as SvR, but without the innovative changes in 09s? Its shining feature is crowd interactivity, kind of like the crowd saying "Rob Van Dam" in tune with RVD's points in SvR 07? But maybe I'm judging too hard. After all, who doesn't want to play as Tomko, or be stuck in a penalty box for two minutes in King of the mountain? Angle needs to stop talking trash and leave the speaking to more eloquent masters of English... like Curry Man.
Posted 19:36 on 29 June 2008
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SVR '09

Kurt Angle is really TALKING TRASH! He was a WWE wrestler before but he got tired of people shouting him "You Suck!", and come on, many TNA wrestlers comes from WWE like Christian, Jeff Jarret, Gail Kim etc.. the only good wrestler in TNA is AJ Styles (much better if he will join WWE)..

And we know that TNA is just following WWE's footsteps..
Posted 17:39 on 19 April 2008
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kurt_angle

well I look forward to gettingthe tna game
Posted 10:07 on 29 March 2008
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shane

it will be the best game of the year
Posted 07:47 on 19 March 2008
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simmo01

sdvr08 is sh*t thats the truth tna is a wrestling game that is d fact wwe has moved away fro the mane point of d game wich is wrestling summer is a long wate but it will be worth it TNA TNA
Posted 23:07 on 10 March 2008
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Blurt

mmm... I'd like to play a demo of tna 1st before I render an opinion... I do agree that the ealier SVR games were better on season mode by miles and that I found SVR 2008 somewhat disappointing =p
Posted 15:29 on 09 March 2008
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Anonymous

..........kennedy
Posted 20:53 on 20 February 2008
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Anonymous

mr kennedy
Posted 20:53 on 20 February 2008
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Anonymous

wwe is better by miles
Posted 20:51 on 20 February 2008
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anonymous

Summer is to long to wait
Posted 00:19 on 17 February 2008
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mrplatano1989

Oh and TNA is not new to "tv land", and they dont lack experience, its going to be 6 years since theyve been on ppv which is on tv, they are not making the game because they have no experience in that, MIDWAY is, and they have almost 20 years of experience, maybe not that specific studio, but the publishing company, SVR 08 on current gen is a very small improvement over the last gen games, it wasnt bulit from the ground up, just recycled and then chopped, tna delivers that next generation game we've been waiting for in the world of wrestling
Posted 17:01 on 15 February 2008

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Release Date: 12/09/2008
Developer: Midway Los Angeles
Publisher: Midway
Genre: Wrestling
No. Players: 1-4
Rating: BBFC 15
Site Rank: 517 42
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