For quite some time, WWE has been the king of the wrestling world with no real competition. Likewise, THQ and Aki's SmackDown series has been the only real wrestling game on the market for most of the last decade. Yes, there have been other games, but they have come and gone. Has a legitimate competitor finally risen in Midway's TNA Impact! game?
Featuring the stars of TNA Wrestling, the upstart wrestling organization formed in 2002 to one day take on WWE, Impact! is not the first game developed and produced by Midway — Backyard Wrestling takes that honor. This new game features several game modes, including an exhibition mode that features multiple matches, a character creation mode, online play, and a story mode. The roster is pretty deep, featuring some 20 to 25 actual TNA wrestlers alongside a few that aren't real. It's a good-sized roster and contains most of the major players in TNA today.
The game features your standard fare of matches — tag matches, falls count anywhere, submission, fatal four-ways, etc. The only new addition is the Ultimate X match, a staple of TNA featuring two ropes crossing the ring with a X hanging from the middle that you must retrieve. In that sense, it's similar to a ladder match, but without the ladder. To untie the X from the ropes, you have to enter a timing mini game where you press a button to stop a bar at the right point. The game speeds up and becomes harder, adding a bit more challenge to the match. It plays much better with more than one wrestler, simply because it can become chaotic and crazy with players knocking each other down and racing to the X in the middle.
The bad news is that there isn't much diversity in the matches outside of these limited options. There are no ladder or table matches. In fact, there are no ladders or tables in the game — just chairs outside of the ring that you can use up to four times before they break. This is a bit of a let-down, as I expected a bit more variety in a wrestling game.