Any legitimate wrestling fan knows why it’s important for TNA Wrestling to release a good sports entertainment product. With the buyout of WCW by WWE owner Vince McMahon, the industry is almost a monopoly. At the height of the fierce competition between WCW and WWE in the ’90s, fans enjoyed some the best drama in years. We saw the creation of the NWO, Hogan turning heel, Stone Cold Steve Austin getting over on Bret Hart, and the “Attitude” era that finally stopped treating fans like idiots by pretending wrestling was real. TNA is the spiritual successor of WCW, and TNA Wrestling Impact marks the brand’s debut on the iOS platform.
If you’ve ever watched a TNA production, you know the brand hits you hard, and right in the face. Big graphics, loud overlays, and an overall bombastic feel that lets you know you’ve arrived to a party. TNA Wrestling Impact captures this very well. Many signature looks and sounds provide authenticity, a sense that’s reinforced by the game’s two dozen TNA wrestlers. Several signature match types also found their way into the game which is all fine and dandy. Appetite whetted, we wanted to check out the gameplay to see if everything came together.
Have a seat.
TNA Wrestling Impact uses a fairly simple interface for the action. A virtual joystick moves your wrestler around, and it’s supplemented with buttons to control attack, grapple, and running commands. Contextual buttons pop up to climb the turnbuckle and fire off finishers once your super meter powers up. Seems like all bases are covered, but the execution is woefully unfinished.
First off, the TNA Wresting Impact takes a fast-paced sport and slows it to a crawl. Granted, the character models and arenas look fantastic, but it seems like the frame rate is compromised because of it. The clearest instances this issue is felt comes when jamming out attacks. There is a real perceptible delay that is frustrating enough to encourage additional presses to ensure inputs are registering.
Another issue is the horrendous collision detection. You’ll regularly see dropkicks connect when there’s a huge distance between wrestlers. Clipping is another problem that messes up the action. When you see Jeff Hardy’s arm going through Tommy Dreamer’s knee for the 30th time, it detracts from the fidelity and flow of the game. A poor frame rate combined with questionable collision detection is a brutal combination for any fighting game.
Hulkamania is in full swing.
The poor moment-to-moment gameplay undermines an admirable Career mode. TNA Wrestling Impact has options to fight in Heavyweight, X-Division, and Tag Team career paths that are thoughtfully put together. Cut scenes with personalities like Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff move the story along with purpose.
Rounding out the game is great multiplayer support, with options to play over Bluetooth or the Internet with Game Center matchmaking. It’s a shame the gameplay is so broken right now, but we have no complaints about the structural support in place.
Like the TNA wrestling brand itself, this game has a couple of serious flaws to address before it can reach its full potential. We’ll keep an eye on this brawler to see if it gets patched enough to be worth your time.