To call John Woo Presents Stranglehold, the video game sequel to his monumental film Hard-Boiled, a game with an over-the-top sense of action would be one of the biggest understatements of the year. Midway is striving to achieve a true sense of Hong Kong action cinema in a video game, and it definitely seems like they could pull it off with this next-gen title.
The demo we were given showed Chow Yun Fat’s Inspector “Tequila” Yuen in a restaraunt shoot-out of truly epic proportions. The environment is almost completely destructable, and the constant gunplay quickly began to wear away at Tequila’s surroundings. Yeah, yeah, yeah, almost every action game these days likes to brag about the interactible nature of its environments, but Stranglehold definitely makes the destruction seem realistic: every tile on the walls can be knocked off by projectile impact, facades can be blown apart with ease, and cover will gradually fall apart if it continues to get shot up. Tequila’s clothing also shows how much damage he takes in the fight and can eventually be reduced to ribbons. What really completes the John Woo-esque sense of style is the way that Tequila can use his world to get around. In the tea house, there were various carts that can be surfed upon, chandeliers to swing across rooms from, tables to slide across, and bannisters to run/slide on. Finally, players will have real-time cinema attacks which can get you out of a tight situation at their disposal (akin to the focus attacks from The Punisher).
Keep your eyes on Stranglehold, folks: when it arrives for PS3, Xbox 360, and PC in the winter, it could very well redefine the action genre as we know it.