|System: PS3, X360, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Tiger Hill Entertainment||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Midway||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 29, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1, online mutiplayer||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Unfortunately, the graphics don't hold up the way they should have all the way around. By this I mean the environments look amazingly detailed; they would have to in order for the amount of destruction to look remotely believable, but the character models are not as spot on. This is a really unfortunate thing. When the environmental graphics look this pristine, I would have really liked the character models to look as sharp. With that said, these models are not the worst I have ever seen, but with a game that is supposed to be an accurate representation of the actual stars, it falls just a bit short.
I cannot stress enough how vivid the environments look in the game, and every splintered chair is equally matched with the emotion felt in the music of the game. Now, it is nothing new to have a dynamic score for any type of game, but there is a level of magic felt in every beat of drum thumped through my speakers. I would almost say that the music is worthy of its own official soundtrack. To compliment the score, the voice-acting had to be top notch, and even though I would have rather heard the original Cantonese dialogue with English subtitles, it works just as well with the English spoken dialogue.
There are few problems with Stranglehold that need to be addressed, however, one being the length of the game. If you dive into games, this one might only take you about six to eight hours to complete. This really isn't that bad of a thing, especially if you are the type of gamer who loves having that game you pop in every so often just to relieve some tension. This is part of the appeal to Stranglehold. If you prefer playing extremely long games, then this one might not be for you. However, it is so addictive that I will doubt anyone who says they didn't somewhat enjoy the game no matter its length. Another issue is easily fixed, the camera controls. There are regrettable instances where the camera is an irritating piece of work. For example, the camera swings in an insane motion when you are performing any of your various slow-mo movements and trying to aim. As I said, there is an easy fix for most of the problems you will encounter in the game. If you toggle on the Lookspring option, most of the camera woes disappear.
A final complaint I have revolves around the online play. While this could have been a truly amazing feat in online play, considering the many abilities allotted to you when playing the game, most of the features that make the game awesome hurt the online play, or worse are pointless to have. For example, the Tequila Time can only be used if two people start it at roughly the same time. Regrettably, the Precision Aim also works the same way, meaning that you may slow down to take your shot but the other players do not. The online play is at least worth checking out to see if you like it or if you and some friends want to get on and spray each other with lead.
Stranglehold will capture the hearts of anyone looking for an action game, period. It might even capture the hearts of anyone looking for a game. While there are problems with the game, you will quickly forget what those are as you continuously mow down your enemies with various execution techniques. It delivers on its tagline of being a true John Woo experience and then some. While the game may have suffered several delays, I can honestly say that all of the push-backs have been well worth the wait, and it easily strangles all competitors.
CCC Project Coordinator