It is nice in its own right but I wish there was more to it than just shooting people in the face and falling billboards for an attraction. But the action that it offers can spice up that boring living room and give you entertainment for as long as it lasts.
The game takes place quite a few years after the events of Hard Boiled. Your character, Inspector Tequila, is a rogue officer of the Hong Kong Police. After a member of your force is found murdered, it's up to you to find out what happened, snaking your way through the plot twists of gangs backstabbing each other in search of some goal. In the process, your previous girlfriend and your daughter get kidnapped and held hostage, which your character, of course, won't stand for. There is actually a pretty good crime drama story in there, in between all the shooting.
And there will be a lot of shooting. There seems to be enemies everywhere in this game, and they're all out for blood. That might be a problem, but you get bullet time, and they don't. If you've never played Max Payne, bullet time is when time slows down so that you can actually watch your bullets, and enemies flying around. This gives you the chance to get a bunch of extra shots off at the opposition, as well as get out of the way of their waves of lead. Implementation of bullet time in this title is done well, in that they didn't change much in the way it works, and it does the job of keeping the enemy count down.
There are also some other special moves in the game, called Tequila bombs. These four different special moves can help you get out of any sticky situations you should happen to get into, by providing capabilities like healing you, or providing invulnerability for a period of time while simultaneously spinning and killing every enemy in the room. These moves add an additional fun factor to the already rewarding gameplay.
The gameplay becomes even more rewarding when you start to realize just how much the environment is going to play a part of your battles. Almost everything in Stranglehold is destructible, leading to situations where the important thing is finding a clever way to destroy an object so you can get the guy behind it, or other situations that require the destruction of the scenery. You don't have to just bash stuff, though. You can actually interact with a lot of the things in the levels, like tipping a table on its side to be used as cover, or sliding down a railing. Creative use of these capabilities makes the already-enjoyable gameplay a blast.
While it's true that Stranglehold has taken its cue from other third-person shooters, it has done what not many derivative games have done and maintained the most enjoyable portions of the original game, while successfully enhancing them without adding a lot of new capabilities and features. This game tries to do again what Max Payne did years ago, and it doesn't fail at it.