- Publisher: Midway/Ubisoft
- Developer: Tigon
- Also On: PS3
- ESRB Rating: “T” for Teen
- Genre: Action/Driving
- Pros: Great driving gameplay
- Cons: Awful on foot sections; short, clichéd story
Wheelman tells the story of Milo Burik, a burly, bald, one-liner spouting wheelman that likes to drive fast and blow stuff up. By the way, Vin Diesel plays Milo, so if the description sounded familiar there is a reason for it. Milo/Vin is an undercover agent sent to Barcelona to try and infiltrate the city’s criminal underworld. The story and characters and dialogue are all pretty clichéd and predictable, but for the 8 hours or so it takes to play through the story it definitely keeps you entertained.
Beyond the story missions there are also side missions that boost your special abilities, which add a few hours to the overall playtime. It is still pretty short, though, and since there isn’t any multiplayer Wheelman is a game you’ll play through once and likely never touch again. In other words, it’s a rental.
First, though, driving. The game uses arcadey physics that let you drift around corners and bounce off walls with ease. It is very player friendly in this way, and it is very easy to pick up and play and just have some mindless fun with. The real key to the driving comes in your special abilities. First off, you can steal cars while you are driving so if you are in a long chase and need a new car you don’t even have to stop. Secondly, you can melee attack with your car (just violent side to side movements, really) but you can take out cops and create a lot of havoc this way. Third, you earn slow motion attacks that let you shoot out tires or gas tanks all in super slick Hollywood-style. It is all very cool and the driving sections of Wheelman are really quite good.
What aren’t so good are the on-foot sections. While the driving is fresh and fun, the on-foot stuff is absolutely generic. Clunky targeting, braindead A.I., and an overwhelming sense of deja-vu (as in, we’ve done this walky/shooty stuff a million times before in crime sim games) make the on-foot stuff feel like a chore.
Graphics and Sound
The sound is merely okay. The dialogue is only so-so and Mr. Diesel sounds like he was asleep through most of his lines. The music generally pretty good and the seven radio stations you can listen to as well as the exciting chase music during missions is all well suited to the action onscreen.