Playing in the Impact Zone: Part One

The time of year has come around where Christmas shopping kicks into gear and the computer games market pumps out some of the biggest releases of the year. With that barrage comes the only wrestling game, WWE's annual release. The Smackdown games have been a staple of the games industry for a decade, building from the first release on the PSX, through a few name changes and now WWE '12 is only weeks a way from release. Can TNA re-enter this market and break WWE's chokehold?
TNA Impact! Screenshot
The only chance so far to be Styles
It has been 3 years since the release of TNA Impact! and to date is the company's only release on home console. If most viewers are like me, then we are screaming out for a new release, so we can play as our favourite superstars once again. 

I Want To Mic Check Daniels Through A Table!

WWE '12 looks like it will be a good game and Yuke's have perfected the look and style of the games over each release. But what good is the style when there are no wrestlers that you actually want to take control of? Looking through the roster, CM Punk is about the only current wrestler I would want to play as! It shows this year with the over reliance in big names from the past such as Stone Cold, Eddie Guerrero, Brock Lesnar and the centrepiece of all the advertising so far, The Rock!  
Hardy vs. Angle in a ladder match!
(WWF Smackdown 2: Know Your Role)
TNA have a wealth of likeable wrestlers that fans will want to take control of in either single bouts or a fully fledged career mode, which is where the first game was lacking. Only a handful of names were available to play as before unlocking the rest in a season mode, which you had to partake in as a created wrestler. 
Many of the current roster were either not included or not in TNA for the first game, leaving a wealth of talent including the likes of Jeff Hardy, Mr Anderson, Kazarian, RVD and Austin Aries that  fans are missing to create their dream matches.  

How Do I Kick Out?

As enjoyable as playing as your favourite wrestlers can be, it can be very annoying when the control systems let you down. The first Impact! game has a basic control system, which is great, as you can learn how to enact moves quickly, but it was let down by a few controls inparticular. The biggest, in my view, was that you had to vigorously waggle the analogue stick to fill up a bar to be able to kick out of a pin. This often had me losing matches I had been dominating and only been hit by a few moves. 
TNA Impact! Screenshot
Not the thrills Ultimate X usualy provides
It was also difficult to pin point areas in which to attack, as heads and torsos were the only areas to get injured, meaning getting anybody to tap out for a submission was very unlikely. Ultimate X was fun up until the point of trying to get down the X, which took six or more attempts to fill your meter and having to just kick your opponent down, which in turn made it boring and repetitive.
Tagging in your partner was also a pain due to the same button controlling multiple other tasks. Many times when you would want to tag you ended up climbing the turn-buckle to the top rope or exiting the ring, which is just a pain, especially when there are other buttons on the controller going to waste. 

With a progression of the control system and a more simulation feel, rather than beat em up style, TNA could give the WWE series a run for it's money on the console front. Looking at what was included on the handheld only TNA Impact!: Cross the Line and the subsequent mobile game, the ideas are there, we are just waiting for the end product!  

In part two, we will be looking at how the career mode can be improved upon and which match types should be included!

Robbie G 

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