Stranglehold Xbox 360 Review

08 October 2007 | Xbox 360 Review

Stranglehold is a John Woo game through and through. It definitely does not tread new ground in either story or gameplay, but does a pretty good job fusing familiar elements from all of its influences.

Gameplay: 8/10
Pros: The gameplay is just plain fun. It’s a mix of Max Payne Bullet Time gameplay with some pretty flashy new moves and situations. Face-Offs are nice gun duels that break up the monotony of running and diving. Story is serviceable if a little over the top and out there even for John Woo.
Cons: Enemies are retarded. They pretty much run straight at you and spawn from closets/doors strewn throughout the level. Deaths can be frustrating because it’s due from an enemy spawning in a door behind you with a shotgun, rather than a lack of skill on your part. Interaction with the Environment can be difficult/frustrating.

Graphics: 8/10
Pros: Nearly everything is destructible and when stuff starts exploding in slow motion, it’s a thing of beauty. There’s a fantastic array of levels and locales. Animations, bullet effects, etc. are good.
Cons: Actual character models are somewhat blocky- this becomes more apparent during cutscenes where these characters try to exude emotion. Without all the bullet time effects this game would be standard issue in the graphics dept.

Sound/Music: 8/10
Pros: Voice Acting is top-notch and the visceral sound effects and music from Woo’s movies make it into the game.
Cons: It would be nice to have the option of having the more authentic Cantonese or Mandarin soundtrack since the game take place mostly in Asia, but because of the English…it sometimes feels like they are just in some US City Chinatown. It detracts from the authenticity of the story.

Lasting Appeal: 6/10
Pros: The single player experience is a nice ride while it lasts, Multiplayer and unlockables give you incentive to pop the disk back in for more.
Cons: The Multiplayer is action packed, but requires little skill and is completely forgettable. The single player game can be beaten in a few days making this a great rental, but a questionable purchase.

Average: 75.00%
Tilt: +/- 0.00%

For a licensed game, Stranglehold definitely delivers on its promise for John Woo style action. The super moves are flashy, and interacting with the environment (firing while riding roll carts/hanging from chandeliers/etc.) is great fun. If you’ve played Max Payne, you’ve got the basic controls/gameplay down, but Stranglehold gives you a lot of new wrinkles which keep you playing. It suffers in the replayability category, but is a fantastic rental. If you download the demo and love the gameplay than a purchase is probably the right decision for you, but otherwise save your bucks for something else.

Verdict: 75%

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