TNA, Total Nonstop Action wrestling, has finally gotten a video game and when you get a company like Midway behind you good things can happen. This game will definitely appeal to the masses and that’s what they have to be hoping for since their hardcore audience probably isn’t broad enough to suffice.

The intro is very dramatic and it shows off some of the company’s best and worst moments and gimmicks. I had to look twice to see if that was Randy “Macho Man” Savage but after further review it was Jay Lethal. After the video footage leaves the screen and the video game highlights kick in there wasn’t a major drop-off, which made me think the wrestlers just might jump off the screen in all of their HD glory with the help of my PS3.

The dramatic voice helps build the drama and when you rip through the well-designed simple menus you can play a quick match in about 10 minutes. You will have to wait for the game to be installed but the game plays back the various wrestlers intro music while you wait so it’s not too bad.

There are 17 live wrestlers like Samoa Joe, Kurt Angle, AJ Styles and Sting and then there are 8 that have to be unlocked like Kevin Nash and Abyss (all of the wrestlers have their famous moves and that’s a must in wrestling video games). The Knockouts, though, have a very small presence in this game.

The announcing can be downright comical at times and why not? Mike Tenay is terrific at his job. Don West is in there and JB is in charge of the “Behind the Scenes” footage, which is fun to watch.

There are a lot of different matches to choose from like the Standard match in a six-sided ring (way cool!) or Tag Team. Free For All (every wrestler really is out for himself and that’s a credit to the AI), Ultimate X, Ultimate X FFA, Submission, Handicap, FCA Match single and tag team. The game has multiple venues as well.

The game includes a story mode that lets you create yourself as a wrestler. You can’t ask for more than that and there is even a training mode, but the game is pretty easy and I don’t think many of you will need it.

Of all the intros I saw, Sting’s was perfect and to get that exactly right in a video game isn’t easy because of the shading and the light and dark tunnel effect. Only the next-gen machines are able to pull this off.

I played every type and liked Standard and Free for All the best. The sound in this game is phenomenal and when you get hit multiple times with a chair, and I did, the bending action looks incredible.

Moves are easy to pull off after 5-10 minutes or roughly two matches. I am a known button masher which sometimes frustrates my opponents and that’s how I get a feel for the game rather than trying to memorize all the pinning combinations. It took me some time to get style points because I had to learn how to make them happen first.

The gameplay is sweet and I only encountered two phantom punches that I was able to connect on, so that’s not bad at all.

After all my years of playing games, and I played this for hours, I actually felt a lot of pain in my thumb. It has recovered today but I had to stop playing yesterday because of the booboo. Ok so I’m not as tough as a TNA wrestler but I enjoyed playing this game and so will you!

Platform: PS3
Publisher: Midway
Developer: Midway L.A.
Release Date: Now
Genre: Sports
Number of Players: 1-4 (online 2)
ESRB Rating: Teen
Graphics: 4.8
Sound: 4.9
Control: 4.7
Game Play: 4.8
Fun Factor: 4.9
Overall Rating: 4.82 out of 5

Russ Cohen’s video game reviews can be found at Sportsology