TNA Impact! Cross the Line PSP review
Having launched two years ago on home consoles, TNA Impact! has been a long time coming to the handheld platform. It’s easy to see why, as the original console versions were published by Midway, the troubled publisher that has now gone the way of the dodo. However, SouthPeak Games has gotten a hold of the PSP and Nintendo DS versions of the game, and they are now finally seeing the light of day with TNA Impact! Cross the Line.
The PSP version of the game could be considered a completely different iteration of the TNA franchise, offering up a story mode that has you playing the role of a fallen wrestler working his way back up to the top of the circuit in a quest for victory and revenge. Additionally, you’re able to fill the shoes of other famous wrestlers from the TNA Wrestling universe, including Mick Foley, Kurt Angle, Sting, AJ Styles, and plenty of others (sadly for PSP owners, Hulk Hogan is exclusive to the DS version of the game).
Unfortunately, even with the story mode, Cross the Line is a very shallow experience. There is no way to customize your wrestlers or even create your own, leading the story to be a hollow one-off experience that you won’t care to revisit when all is said and done. Additionally, the wrestling mechanics themselves could use a lot of work, feeling stiff and lacking in fluidity. All in all, this is a hollow experience that will be tough for even the biggest TNA fan to feel heavily invested in.
The controls are pretty standard for a wrestling game. You have the ability to punch, kick, and grapple against your opponents, with the left trigger serving as your modifier for more powerful attacks. You have a few advanced moves as well, including Irish Whips and counters, but nothing you haven’t seen in other wrestling titles.
The controls could've been improved upon due to the slight lag between button presses and moves being carried out. This problem isn’t that noticeable when you’re button-mashing your way through a punching combo, but when you try to utilize the overly-touchy reversal mechanic, it can be a huge issue. Pulling off a proper reversal correctly is a real pain, and can lead to some frustrating beatdowns.
The game offers up a story mode that puts you in control of Suicide, a popular fighter within the TNA universe. During a championship match, you decide to win against your opponent instead of taking a fall. This wasn’t the smartest move, as Suicide is then severely beaten and left for dead. After an extensive rehabilitation and some reconstructive surgery, you begin the long hard road back into the wrestling circuit, and try to discover who was behind your assault.
The game’s story mode is a simplistic affair throughout, lacking in any sort of customization elements and only serving as a means to unlock characters for exhibition matches. The story is nothing to get excited about, but the lack of any form of customization is definitely the biggest bummer. There is no way to upgrade your character or gain new abilities as you play through the story, which simply unfolds from one cutscene to another and from one fracas to another. There’s no way to personalize the experience whatsoever.
This also carries through in the exhibition modes. There is no proper season mode outside of the story mode, and the exhibitions modes are shallow. While there are quite a few diverse modes here, including fan favorites like Ultimate X, weapon-supporting Full Metal Mayhem, and a 16-player elimination tournament mode, these are ultimately empty events without any real reason to feel invested in the long term.
Graphically, the game is a mixed bag. Some of the character models look pretty simplistic and lack in overall detail, but the animations are well done and the framerates are solid. The music is pretty generic hard rock, and the voice work is pretty standard fare for a wrestling game, albeit pretty cheesy.
TNA Impact! Cross the Line has had a long road in getting to the PSP, but it’s hard to say that the journey really paid off. The game feels shallow and the wrestling isn’t very tight thanks to shoddy controls, meaning that this isn’t one to get excited about.