Growing up in the mid-80's, I was such a big pro wrestling fan that I had everything, including my styrofoam Hacksaw Jim Duggan 2X4 and my Brett Hart sunglasses. I thought I was such a badass. I eventually grew out if it, but like most, came back during the renaissance in the late 90's. I was totally nWo 4 life brotha'. But I once more lost interest and haven't watched wrestling seriously in about 10 years, so I had no idea what TNA was when I went to check out TNA iMPACT! today.
I've played most of the wrestling games from the Playstation/N64 era, so I think I can tell the good wrestling games from the bad ones. Like with the rest of the Midway games from today, I didn't have a lot of time and go over every feature, so consider this some sort of lightning preview.
For me, what makes or breaks a wrestling game is the grapple system. It was great in the Nintendo 64 games, but not so much in, say, WCW/nWo Thunder for PSone (remember that game?). But luckily, the developers for TNA iMPACT! patterned their game after WWF No Mercy for N64, which is often considered one of the best wrestling game ever made, so that's good to hear.
Something that still bothers me about a lot of games today is the animation, especially in sports games. I'm always down for better textures and more polys, but if the animation is sub par, then why bother? Not only do the wrestlers in TNA iMPACT! look great, they also animate realistically just as they should. Oh, did I forget to mention the game is 60 frames-per-second?
As for the controls, I found them to be very welcoming. Sloppy controls in a wrestling game are a no-no, but TNA got them right. They aren't sluggish or unresponsive. There are three different types of attacks: grapple, kick, and punch, simple. But if you hold down the left bumper/L1, you can do strong attacks for each. You can also do all the basic moves when the opponent is on the ground or in the turnbuckle. I didn't play a ton of matches, but it passed my initial test.
The only disappointing part about the demo was finding out there is no battle damage on any of the wrestlers. No smeared face paint, no bumps or bruises. Nothing. I'm not asking for blood or Blitz 2-esque injuries, but a little something would have been nice.
I didn't have time to get into anything else, unfortunately, such as the career or multi-player modes. That will have wait until another time. But it was a good first impression if I do say so myself.