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TNA makes a light Impact on Wii
By JON WALDMAN -- SLAM! Wrestling



When TNA announced some time ago that they were entering the video game world, I was intrigued and excited, mainly because, as much as I love the WWE/THQ series of games, I wanted to see something different. Not since the short-lived Def Jam Vendetta series had there been a wrestling game that stood to rival anything from the Fed as virtual sports entertainment.

With that in mind, I eagerly anticipated the arrival of my Wii version of the game, especially in light of just how boring I felt Smackdown vs. Raw 2008 was for the 5th generation Nintendo system. I hoped that I would have found my “forever game” for the new system, like I had with Royal Rumble for Super Nintendo, No Mercy for N64 and Smackdown vs. Raw 2006 for Playstation 2.

Alas, much like the anticipation for an episode of the namesake show to be gimmick-free, I ended up somewhat disappointed.


You see, the Wii version of Impact, much like SVR ’08, is a stripped down shell of what gamers on other systems enjoy, and when you’re already dealing with a game with features that are already pretty sparse, you’re in for a less than enthralling evening of digital entertainment.

Let’s start off at the beginning, middle and end of a game -- the controls. Your Wiimote essentially acts as your action device while the Nunchuck is for movements. There are buttons for kicking, punching, reversals and taunts, which are spread out from the top of the stick down to the bottom. Trying to move your fingers up and down that quickly is a hard task and really becomes an annoyance quickly.

I also was dissapointed by the lack of variety in moves. At times, it seems like there are only three options for grapples, which is a far cry from the 20 or so options that there are in SD! vs. Raw '06. Additionally, there are no back grapples -- only forward-facing ones. This means a lot of button mashing as you punch and kick your way to weakening your opponent, which for the gamer addicted to Jakks-Pacific's WWE line, means boredom.

Now I should say that despite these complaints, I do like the run of types of matches TNA has on the game, including Free-For-Alls and Falls-Count-Anywhere bouts. Including Ultimate X, as well, was a nice touch since it is a TNA signature match. As much as fans may fear some of the other TNA bouts being booked for PPVs (King of the Mountain, Reverse Battle Royal etc.), I think these would work on a video game and should be explored for future TNA titles.

To me, the best quality of the game, by far, is the career mode. Here, you are given the character of Suicide (yes, a great name for a character that will primarily be played by kids and teens) who wins the TNA Championship after refusing to lay down in a title bout. As punishment, you’re taken out by LAX (who I guess were heels when the game was first developed) and left essentially for dead in Mexico. Awakening with amnesia (Cactus Jack anyone?) and severely beaten and brutalized, you are “rebuilt” and begin you quest back to Orlando, fighting in Mexico and the States before you reach the big time.

While the story is phenomenal and, dare I say, well planned, I do take issue with one facet, that being that the recreated Suicide is presented to you with not much more than a change in costume. If Mr. Cide is being rebuilt, should Wii gamers not have the opportunity to customize him as they see fit? Should we not be able to make the Six Million Dollar Man?

Well, kiddos, here inlies the most visible problem with the Wii version of Impact -- no create-a-wrestler (CAW for short) feature! This is a major failing on two levels. First, the ability to build your own grappler has been a staple of wrestling games for nearly a decade, and second, when your main roster consists of 25-odd wrestlers from TNA (many of whom you have to unlock in the aforementioned story mode), you’re going to get bored quickly and make CAWs of missing wrestlers or those from other promotions. I'm sorry, but I'm not buying that the Wii version is at the same level as Playstation 2 for memory, so there's no reason why a CAW feature isn't here.

With all that being said, I really have to recommend TNA Impact for Nintendo Wii as being rental-only. I certainly would not discourage anyone from picking up this game, because it is a fun game in short spurts (as was the case for my two-week or so review period), and stacks up very well against SD! vs. Raw '08 for Wii, and in fact and may be better than the WWE game. My hope is that this isn't the only TNA release, because Midway does show a lot of potential here and one can only hope that Impact becomes an annual release.

Rating: 5.5/10