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Wheelman: Not Your Usual Driving Game

by: Eric Stallsworth ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 4/17/2012 • Leave a comment

If Hollywood driving action is your style, then Wheelman will satisfy. This is a Vin Diesel game that mirrors the movie star's full throttle films. Though there are a few rough spots, the game does what it aims to do - thrill you behind the wheel.

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    The Drive Of Your Life

    Wheelman Usually storyline is the first thing to examine in a game, but in Wheelman, there's no point. This is a game designed around the idea of fast driving, scenes filled with action, gunplay, and stunts that would rival any Hollywood movie. Since this is the focus of the game, lets talk about it first.

    There's no arguing that this game presents driving in a truly unique and enjoyable manner. The driving aspects of the game are fast paced and exciting. You can do things here that will instantly remind you of being an action movie star, such as insane stunts on motorcycles. Performing drifts and full 360's in a car will come easily, as it should. You can even jack a moving car, leap frogging from yours to theirs. It doesn't take you long to get a feel for what you can do, and the possibilities using a vehicle are spectacular. There's really nothing more to be said other than the fact that Wheelman is about driving insanely fast while doing awesome stunts - and it accomplishes this goal incredibly well.

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    Vin Diesel On Your TV

    The visuals in this game are well done, if maybe lacking in a few details here and there. Where the game shines visually is during the driving scenes and particularly during the slow motion cinematics. The game is set in Barcelona, and it looks like it. As you cruise through the town - albeit faster than most tourists do - you get a good feel for what it would be like. The game does lack the same vitality one would expect, such as the limited amount of people and activity. But this doesn't detract from the game so much as to make it unenjoyable. The main character you play looks somewhat like the actor, but not enough has been done to keep him looking truly realistic. It's surprising, especially considering how much was done for previous games like the Chronicles of Riddick series.

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    Let's Take A Walk

    It's too bad they didn't limit the walking in this game even more than it is. Unfortunately things like jumping around obstacles and hiding behind cover are foreign concepts in a Hollywood action film, because they definitely are here. There isn't a lot of walking, but occasionally a mission comes up where you have to trudge through it - and trudge is the right word for the experience. One other truly bad aspect of the game is the lack of any multiplayer. Given the fun you experience behind the wheel, it's hard to figure out why they wouldn't have foreseen gamers wanting to take on each other using those same stunts. Such an unique utilization of multiplayer might have been enough to help you forget the games shortcomings, but unfortunately it's just not there.

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    Tell Me A Story - Or Not

    Much like the action films this game is based on, there really isn't a storyline. But if you're a fan of action movies, maybe you're not expecting one. You play as Vin Diesel playing the part of Milo Burik. He's in Barcelona to work his way undercover into the top three gangs in town. You can't harm civilians however, which is good since they seem to be invulnerable. It's almost hard to downgrade the game because of this aspect, because it's only doing what it was designed to do - give you the chance to drive cars fast in action sequences. In the end though, the game ends way too soon if you just walk through the storyline. Even if you go through the sidequests in this sandbox-like game, you'll still only be able to extend your game time an hour or two. The bottom line is this game has a skeleton story that almost seems like an afterthought, but it's not unlike it's movie predecessors so maybe that's okay.

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    Is It Worthy? Maybe

    For what it aims to do - meaning driving - the game succeeds. It can even be said the game succeeds spectacularly in this department, because driving in this game is pure fun. The storyline is definitely lacking, the visuals are okay, and the game ends a bit too soon. Oh, and don't forget how awful walking through Barcelona is. Is the game worthwhile to play? Sure, as long as you know going in that this isn't going to be a long gaming endeavor and you have to be okay with what the game does well. Buying the game for your library might not be the best idea, but renting it is good enough.