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TNA Impact vs SmackDown 2009

Use of the remote

Impact
Uh-oh. The Wii version is currently under wraps, although we’re pestering the Wii team’s developers for additional information. TNA’s control system is extremely complex - all ‘hold down the shoulder buttons and press B to grab the ropes’ and stuff - and may not translate all that well on Wii. If there’s a classic controller/GameCube pad option, that’d be just grand.

SmackDown
An evolution of the ‘swing to chop, raise remote to superplex’ system that met with mild acclaim amongst players. This year, expect greater use of the Nunchuk’s motion sensing as THQ aim to refine the fighting system. The game engine is also more versatile than before, allowing you to pick up chairs, argue with the referee and lots more.

Winner: SmackDown

Presentation

Impact
The Xbox 360/PS3 version, certainly, is very nice. Midway tell us that the Wii version looks “every bit as impressive - at first, we thought it was the Xbox version”, and why would they lie to us? In truth, TNA Impact is a very professionally put-together game, reminiscent of the N64’s grapply glory days with titles such as No Mercy. With numerous stadiums from around the world, a huge roster and a fast-flowing form of wrestling, this looks to be a very good first effort by Midway LA.

SmackDown
Still looks slightly ropey, but now comes equipped with ‘interactive entrances’. When prompted, you can activate one of a number of preset poses. A similar set-up is in place for your victory celebrations - ranging from a standard arms-in-the-air “Yeaaah!” to the opponent-baiting post-match face slap. These celebrations should really come into their own during SmackDown’s ranked online battles. That’s right, online!

Winner: SmackDown

Overall

Impact 2 - 3 SmackDown

SmackDown is in danger of going all stale and green and moldy on 360 and PlayStation, and for fans of those platforms, TNA Impact offers a true alternative for the first time in forever. On Wii, it’s another matter. We get the impression than SmackDown ’08 was an embryo of something that could turn out to be truly special, and ’09 looks to be the next step along those roads. TNA is a strong challenger, but we think the specialised nature of SmackDown on Wii will see it leaving the arena with this year’s championship belt. For now.

May 16, 2008

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