Version Reviewed: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPad Air
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When the world of video games and movies collide, it usually results in something along the lines of an adaptation of sorts. John Woo, renowned director of well-known films "Face/Off" and "Mission Impossible II," [Editor's Note: don't forget "Hard Boiled!"] has attempted to change that with his new game Bloodstroke - the result of a vision created after he delved deep into the world of video gaming.
Anyone who loves blood, assassinations, guns, blades, and a lot more blood will love this incredibly striking top-down on-rails shooter. Players take control of Mai Lee (codenamed Lotus); an Elite Private Security Agent for the Phalanx Company. Entrusted with the protection of one Doctor Koose, it is the player's task to guide the Doctor to his destination through the streets of Hong Kong and Beijing whilst eliminating any resistance at every given opportunity.
The controls are fairly straightforward and feel exceptionally smooth. Players will use the left touchpad for moving around and tap on the gun icon to shoot. The gun will lock on to a target automatically when firing as long as Lotus is aiming in the right direction, and melee attacks are as simple as running into an enemy’s path. Items such as grenades and health packs can be accumulated, along with some cash scored at the end of a mission.
Just after the third level, Peng’s Fight Club unlocks and from there players can earn further cash for upgrades - providing certain challenges are surpassed. With the money earned it’s advisable to head to the Store, where weapons and armor can be upgraded along with Doctor Koose’s equipment, armor, and health. Cash can also be purchased with real money, but it’s not necessary to play through the game. Peng’s Fight Club plays similar to a Horde mode, which involves fighting one’s way through waves of enemies and trying to stay alive as long as possible. Though it’s a nice alternative to the mission modes, I still think I prefer the ability to recklessly charge throughout the streets. But this might be because it’s much less intense in some respects.
As it’s a work of John Woo, it doesn’t come packaged without its own hand-drawn story and impressive original soundtrack (with music by Far East Movement). What stood out to me the most about Bloodstroke was it’s beautiful black and white hand-drawn art with its tasteful splash of red.
Though I was slightly disappointed by the lack of voice-acting for which the launch trailer had teased me with, the story was still engrossing enough to push aside this small letdown, and it definitely held my interest for the most part. One of my gripes was that there didn’t ever feel like there was enough cash being rewarded at the end of the mission, but I guess it gave me an incentive to play again.
Compelling, fast-paced, and action-packed, Bloodstroke is the perfect time-killer.