Stranglehold Demo Impressions
It’s starting. Can you feel it? The magnitude of amazing gaming titles in store for us this year is starting to become a reality. In the last few days we have seen both the Eternal Sonata demo and now the Stranglehold demo hit us square in the face. What’s even more amazing, is that in a normal holiday season, either one of these titles would be seen as some of the most highly anticipated. Not this year. This year, the course laid out at our table is a veritable feast of happiness. So how does the Stranglehold demo hold up? Let’s brave the 1.3GB waters and find out.
Story: John Woo and Midway worked closely together to bring this game to life, and nowhere is that more evident than the story. The numerous cut scenes flow perfectly with the rest of the action, and the directing style takes a page directly out of Mr. Woo’s playbook. You really feel as if you are playing one of his movies. While the themes may not be that complicated, (Injustice happens, Tequila gets pissed, people die) you never really feel slighted because the action sequences tell the real story.
Sound: If there is an object in the game, it can be destroyed. Watermelons, metal carts, concrete poles, lights, wooden shelves, everything. So what does it sound like when you have a marketplace full of these items and a gunfight is raging inside? Well, it would sound exactly like Stranglehold does. Iâ€™m not sure how they managed to perfectly recreate various squishing sounds of fruit, but you hardly even notice the quality of the effects, as the driving score keeps the action frantic.
Graphics: What is there left to say about the Unreal 3 engine? Every game that has implemented it comes out looking absolutely fantastic. Couple that with the Havoc physics engine, and you have something truly special. The Xbox360 handles it with ease, as the frame rate stays smooth regardless of the insanity of the firefights.
Combat: Max Payne would be proud. All you need to do to execute insane acrobatic maneuvers is press the left trigger, with the AI controlling various movements automatically. (If you run into a table, he will automatically slide across it.) Fill up your Tequila meter by killing enemies in creative ways, which you can then use to execute your special attacks. My favorite of these is the ability to zoom to enemies, sniping them from far away, which results in a satisfying slow-mo death sequence.
So should you download it? Absolutely. Not only is Stranglehold seeming to be one of the greatest action games in years, the demo itself gives you an unmatched level of replay value. I give kudos to Midway for really setting the standard with demo material, with this demo including exclusive footage (Multiplayer! Yeah!) and even the ability to unlock new Tequila moves by finishing the demo on various difficulties. So what are you waiting for? The 1.3GB demo will take 40 minutes or so to download, so might as well start it now.