John Woo Knows how to make a video game.

Every cop, deep down, is depressed by their gross inadequacy compared to Inspector Tequila’s utter manliness.

Stranglehold is John Woo’s video game sequel to his cult-hit action movie, Hard-Boiled. The game just reeks of epic John Woo project–if this game doesn’t put up a strong fight with Bioshock for game-of-the-year I will be beyond shocked. Every thing about this game is truly deserving of being called next-gen. Inspector Tequila is most certainly the most awesome action game lead in years. He has so much style and personality to him. After a cop goes missing he goes to track him down only to find out he’s already dead. The investigation turns into an all out war between crime syndicates and Tequila is stuck right in the middle with only one thing on his mind; revenge. Somebody has got his old girlfriend captive–he’s going to get her back and nothing is going to stop him.

This game is made of pure epic and ohmygodwickedawesome.

There was an extreme degree of detail paid to the graphics of this game. You will find fruit stands and the like all over the place, there’s not an empty patch of ground to be found anywhere. The city at the start is a bustling town , always crowded and busy. There is a great part in the beginning when you find the Golden Rabbit sign and the whole area starts getting shot up. There’s fruit flying everywhere and bits of sale stands getting blown off in every direction. Which brings me to the next topic…

Everything is destructible–everything.

Physics. This game has got Physics like no game I’ve seen before. Everything is destructible in this game. If it’s not bolted to the ground it will go flying when it gets shot at–tables, chairs, birdcages, random fruit, fences, walkways, crates, barrels–anything can be damaged in some way or another. It’s not just for the sake of looking cool either. These Physics actually play a large part in the game. At times there may be a group of enemies in your path that would be dangerous to try and take on straight shooting, so you shoot down the gigantic sign mounted on the building just above them. Or perhaps your enemies are using pillars for cover–just use a Barrage and shoot the pillar until there’s no pillar left to shoot. Then you’ll have a clear shot to your enemy These sort of things happen every couples seconds in this game. The environment is very interactive and you have to take advantage of that or you would never be able to complete the game.

What other game can you slide down the back of a golden dragon while blasting at Hong Kong mafia flunkies?

This game very much has John Woo’s flare to it, from the doves you see flying off just before you reach an epic battle to the truly epic fight scenes that link together non-stop right to the end of the game. There is never a dull moment in this game, just non-stop action from start to finish. But even with the non-stop action they still did an excellent job of keeping the game very story oriented with short few second cut scenes every few minutes. The cut scenes aren’t at all intrusive, they did an excellent job of keeping them separate without slowing the pace down. After blowing up a boat in the second chapter Tequila makes a quick phone call before continuing down the wooden walkway another 15 feet to the next gun fight.

Oooo…Buy this game. Your God commands it!

To summarize, this is the single most epic and action-packed shooter of the decade. If you liked the Max Payne games you will absolutely love this. Many have said it is very similar to Max Payne’s style–that’s because Max Payne’s style was very strongly inspired by old John Woo movies. Max Payne tried to bring John Woo’s style to video games, but now the real thing has arrived and boy did it make a flashy entrance.

Stranglehold is available in both regular and collector’s editions for both the PS3 and Xbox 360 at Play-Asia.

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