Vin doesn’t play baddies, so you are an undercover agent named Milo Burik trying to collect intelligence on the criminal underworld. If you are looking for a coherent or in-depth plot, look elsewhere. Since when did an action movie need a plot? The set up is a thin excuse for lots of madcap mayhem on the streets of Barcelona. You pull off jobs for the competing gangs and freelancers worming your way into their confidence.
The game mechanics are easy to pick up and the focus is on crazy action. Missions start out very gently and you are introduced to the basic controls during your first job, as you outrun the cops and help a robber escape with her loot. You can pull various maneuvers in your car, swiping right to left or ramming enemy cars, to send them spiralling through the air landing as twisted burned out wrecks. You can also pull off some death defying stunts, using Airjack to leap from your vehicle onto another and seize control in one fluid animation.
Wheelman is gratuitously violent and you can cause a huge amount of carnage. Everything apart from buildings seems to be destructible, and both vehicle handling and collisions are forgiving. For example if you crash into a car head-on while driving a motorbike it will be bashed out of the way instead of sending you tumbling along the road. The aim is not realism - this is the stuff of action heroes and your abilities are suitably impossible.
There is some gun play breaking up the driving action and if you charge up your Focus meter you can pull off some special moves. Targeting specific spots on enemy cars will cause dramatic explosions and your meter can be charged up by pulling off nifty manoeuvres. As time slows down the camera zooms in behind Vin's head allowing you to aim and shoot to pick off enemies. You can also use this ability to spin round if your enemies are behind you and there is a basic speed boost at your fingertips too.
Missions are marked on the map and although you can drive from place to place the developers have allowed you to skip direct to missions by clicking on the location. This means you can stay constantly plugged into the action which is what the game does best. There are also various side missions challenging you to steal cars or deliver people to destinations at high speed in a taxi. You get ranked for each of these side quests so there is some replay value. The game-play on foot is less enjoyable and the less time you spend out of a car the better.