A Personal Response To Mitchell Jones

by Chris Gorst on 22nd September 2008

Welcome to the latest edition of Total iMPACT. This column is devoted to a comment made by Mitchell Jones in my review of TNA iMPACT. For those who haven’t seen the review itself, the link is here: http://www.totalwrestling.net/2008/09/16/tna-impact-the-video-game-review/

The comment made by Mitchell was this:

Whoever called it a paid-for beta is correct. This game is horrible. The “small needs” you mentioned are not small at all. They’re absolutely important – more moves, more wrestlers, better design, more matches, better commentary, etc etc etc. This game is far too repetitive, the commentary, much like on TV, is the drizzling shits, the story mode is boring, the gameplay is more like a poor-man’s Street Fighter and not realistic in the slightest, and most importantly, there’s about 4 characters worth playing as. Only hardcore TNA fans will think “Man, I’d love to play as Shark Boy”. I truly beleive I will probably play as about 4 guys in total, whereas SmackDown has enough guys that I can like a good half of them.

This isn’t touching SmackDown for a quality game yet. SD might be a faltering brand, but Impact isn’t even close to taking the crown yet. It needs a major overhaul next game around, if Midway even survives that long.

Well, that has to be a joke? I admit, it would have been nice to have more moves to select from, but take a look at other first generation games. While you obviously see THQ as the maker of nothing but great games, need I remind you of the equivalent games?

Let’s compare shall we.

WWE RAW (Xbox)
43 playable superstars
4 unlockable superstars
Unknown amount of arenas
No story mode
7 different modes in exhibition (including singles and tag team)

WWE RAW 2 (Xbox)
62 playable superstars
14 arenas
A season mode starting in April ending in March
9 different modes in exhibition (including singles and tag team)

WWE Wrestlemania X-8 (Gamecube)
36 playable superstars
6 unlockable superstars
9 arenas
Path of a champion mode instead of a story mode
7 different modes in exhibition (including singles and tag team)

WWE Day of Reckoning (Gamecube)
35 playable superstars
5 legends
12 arenas
Linear story mode (start in development, work your way onto the main roster, win the title at the end)
15 different modes in exhibition (including singles and tag team)

So, based on those facts, when you compare it fairly to other games that were built from the ground up (and I’m giving some credit as DoR and RAW 2 were effectively sequels) its nowhere near as bad as you seem to claim. To address another of your complaints, the lack of wrestlers will be addressed when the first DLC pack is released which will apparently contain Curry Man, Petey Williams and Kaz (those are pretty much confirmed). There will also be other DLC packs in the future adding to the roster. So, it’s not as bad as you seem to make it look.

Now, the gameplay isn’t perfect, but its a lot better than the SmackDown! games. Actually, in my opinion, it shits all over the SmackDown! games. I prefer the realism that comes from this game. An example, Triple H goes for a Pedigree, someone goes to clothesline him, in reality, it lands and Triple H goes down without hitting the move. According to the WWE games, during the time you are in the middle of a move (any move, not just finishers), the person hitting the move is apparently invincible. Another thing I noticed between playing both games, on SmackDown! games, the only way to reverse a move is before its been hit, where is the realism? On the TNA iMPACT game, the added realism is a part of the package, you can reverse a backbreaker into an armdrag mid-move, and you can reverse a reversal (something THQ claimed was in the last game but was pretty much a failure).

Your example of only playing as 4 people on the TNA game, it could be said the same for WWE games, or any other game. Did you always play as every character on Mortal Kombat? How about on Street Fighter, did you play as every character? How about when you play a football game or any other sports games, do you regularly play as anyone other than your favourite team? I know I don’t tend to. From time to time I may drift and play as another team for a couple of games, but I always go back to my favourites. And your comment about “only hardcore TNA fans would want to play as Shark Boy”, that may be the case, but how about Kurt Angle, AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Christian Cage, Booker T, Sting, Jeff Jarrett, Christopher Daniels, Abyss, Team 3D, Rhino, Homicide, Hernandez, Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin. There are a number of wrestlers I have already played as, in fact, I’ve played as everyone on the roster, but I usually go for one of those mentioned above.

Take for example SmackDown! vs RAW 2009, looking at the roster, there are probably about 4 people out of the entire roster I’d like to play as, problem is, 2 of those are available in story mode (CM Punk and Chris Jericho). I hate Cena, I hate JBL, I hate Batista, I hate Randy Orton. I also don’t care about playing as jobbers like Santino Marella, Jimmy Yang, Mark Henry or any of the divas. I don’t care if they put Candice Michelle or Kelly Kelly or Michelle McCool in the game as I have no intention of playing a bra and panties match anytime soon.

Let’s look at the main feature people care about, Create-A-Finisher. Its only took them 4 generations of the SmackDown! vs RAW franchise (which itself was built on the SmackDown! game engine which was created for SmackDown! Just Bring It). Don’t get me wrong, I play the WWE games, while they may have lost their quality in recent years due to THQ/Yukes not realising “if it isn’t broke, don’t try and fix it” but I still play them from time to time. Of the SmackDown! franchise, Here Comes The Pain is the pinnacle, or at least that’s the general feeling on gaming sites. SmackDown! vs RAW 2008 was shit, I bought it on release day, and I was pissed off that within a month it was selling at £22.49 because it did so poorly, so I couldn’t even get a decent trade in value.

Now, just a minor fact for you, Midway will be around. You see, while THQ last year had WWE SmackDown! vs RAW 2008, Frontlines: Fuel of War, MotoGP ’07 amongst others, Midway didn’t have any major releases in the same time period. This year they have TNA iMPACT, Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe, This Is Vegas and Wheelman, so considering those games all do relatively well, then Midway will be around to produce TNA iMPACT 2. In fact, before iMPACT, the only game I recall being released by Midway was Stranglehold.

Honestly, I never said the TNA iMPACT game was perfect, in fact, it has a number of flaws that I hope will be addressed in the sequel, but for a first time effort, it’s one of the better attempts at making a first generation wrestling game in many years.

Now, I understand that there are very few options in the Create a Wrestler mode, and there aren’t many match types to keep your short attention span, but seriously, would you rather play a game with mediocre gameplay, good graphics and many features, or a game with good gameplay, good graphics but not as many options? I know which I’d choose, but then again, based on your comment about this game not “touching SmackDown for a quality game”.

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