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Impressions: Stranglehold

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This game means a lot to me.? My first cinematic John Woo experience was when I saw Hard Boiled here in San Diego over 10 years ago.? It was mind blowing.? His use of two guns…priceless.? The body count in the film,? record breaking.?? I was seeing a new genre of cinematic action right before my eyes.? John Woo was my new hero.?? I’ve supported him from his move from Hong Kong to Hollywood and now to next generation gaming consoles.? Not only will Stranglehold prove that good directors can make good games, it also marks a long awaited comeback for Midway.

The demo is simply amazing.? Now I know we’ve scene games like this before, but the one thing that makes this game so special is it’s actually the sequel to Hard Boiled.? This game will appeal to 3D action geeks, HK movie fans and of course, John Woo fans.? The main character is Tequila, played by Chow Yun Fat himself.

Graphically, it’s exceptional. It’s using the Unreal III engine and is very clean.? I think a little improvement on the textures could be done, but other than that, the game is fast and smooth.? The destructible environments are a sight to behold.? I spent my first 5mins of the demo wasting all of my ammo on destructible objects.? I destroyed? legs off of tables and chairs and watched them fall, I plugged holes into bags of rice and flour, I knocked down neon lights and blew up tires and canisters of propane.? It was fun and it was exciting.

The game has the usual slow cam action which can be triggered by a button push, but also turns on automatically when you dive and target someone.? When you run towards tables and objects Tequila will slide or hop over them.? You can slide down rails, roll on the ground, slide on the ground, ride on top of carts and run up rails.

You get stars for performing stylish kills.? The stars fill up your Tequila bomb bar which enable you to heal, do precision aiming and a barrage attack.? I unlocked the precision aiming and couldn’t stop using it.? You pin point a spot on your target and watch the bullet fly to the target in slow mo.? After you hit the target, you get to see the painful reaction.? If you hit the foot, the target will wobble.? Hit the arm and the body reacts accordingly.

My only gripe…leave the bodies on the ground.? After you kill someone they disappear.? I want to enjoy looking at the carnage I’ve created.? Plus it will add to the realism.? LEAVE THE BODIES THERE!? You have the next gen power to do what you want now.? Stop cutting corners on what would add to the games immersion.

What a blast this demo is.? I don’t want to get into too much detail as it’s only a demo.? I implore you to download it and play it.? It’s been added to the top of my list of games.? PS3 owners are lucky enough to get the new Hard Boiled Blu-Ray with their game.? I still own the Criterion Collection version that can’t be found anywhere.? I still might pick up the new Dragon Dynasty remaster for the quality and extra interviews.

Thank you John Woo and Midway.

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