Metascore
64

Mixed or average reviews - based on 63 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 63
  2. Negative: 4 out of 63
  1. Wheelman has enough explosive thrills that you’ll be yelling and laughing the whole time.
  2. 85
    Wheelman is a good game, with a bit more polish it might have been a great one. Having some good dialogue, a great soundtrack, and pretty cool premise helps distract from the pop-in that comes up every once in a while.
  3. Even though Wheelman combines myriad genres, gameplay styles and presentation references into a single title, it actually pulls it off quite well.
  4. 82
    Much like a lot of the leading mans films, Wheelman is brainless entertainment without any pesky delusions of grandeur to trip over. Yes the plot is daft and the action as unrealistic as it comes but crucially it's also, for the most part, thoroughly enjoyable.
  5. Wheelman isn't going to win any awards at the end of the year, I wouldn't think. But it does the most important thing casual gamers look for, and that's ‘be fun'.
  6. Fun can be found in the simplest of things, and Wheelman nails car combat to the extent that it carries the whole game on its wheels. There are clear issues, with re-spawning enemy drivers causing a whole heap of hassle at times, and the aforementioned on-foot combat is forgettable at best, but for the most part you'll want to stay behind the wheel.
  7. 80
    A successful game, that certainly is going to keep you playing for a long time. The gamelay makes up for the lower quality graphics, but overall a title you certainly want to play more than once.
  8. 80
    Its arcadey addictiveness and cinematic style successfully lands it in a sweet spot right between those two genres, taking players for a ride that's totally on par with the summer movie excitement it emulates.
  9. Like a big, dumb action movie: this is a game best played with a big bowl of popcorn. [May 2009, p.79]
  10. Taken as a whole, Wheelman is a fun weekend title that fans of arcade style racers will enjoy, however briefly.
  11. It's cool to drive on Barcellona's ramblas, chasing down enemy's vehicles, hijacking cars and destroying city's environment. This funny curious mix of GTA and Driver, starring Vin diesel, has a lot of different missions, pretty good visuals but sometimes is plagued by an awful artificial intelligence, especially in the on foot sessions.
  12. So, if you are looking for an action game with a heavy focus on vehicular combat, over-the-top driving sequences, and ridiculously unrealistic abilities, you should definitely check out Wheelman.
  13. Notwithstanding its defects, mainly in the on-foot part of the game and overall graphical look, Wheelman proves to be entertaining and able to keep the gamer involved until the end of the story. The action-racing part of the game offers some unique and interesting gameplay ideas that we'd like to see recycled in games with higher production values.
  14. The Wheelman is a solid driving game which is perhaps let down by some poor handling (for an arcade game) and some sub-standard graphics.
  15. 75
    If you're looking for just having some dumb fun driving in a big sprawling city, smashing and shooting every last thing in your way, then Wheelman is a great pick. However, it never even attempts to reinvent the wheel from any other free-roaming action-adventure.
  16. The collaboration between Vin Diesel’s software house and Midway has given birth to something original and exciting, with fast paced action and Hollywood blockbuster’s style as the best elements in the game. Longevity, around 15 hours, is another strong point in the production, making of this game a must have for all the free roaming action game lovers, who will find in Wheelman the right dose of adrenaline and cinematic action.
  17. The Wheelman can’t beat the likes of other driving and carnage games out there, but it’s worth a try if you’re a fan of Vin Diesel or enjoy jumping into speeding cars.
  18. Packed with high-speed chases, car combat (you can bump rivals into walls) and ridiculous explosions, the game's still far from perfect. Sloppy looking characters, excessive loading and average on-foot shooting keep it several steps behind the competition. As a rental, however, Wheelman offers some decent thrills.
  19. Though it’s fun at first due to the arcade steering, Wheelman quickly decelerates to a halt, because of the dull story and the imbalanced difficulty.
  20. Wheelman isn’t exactly the smartest video game out there. In fact, it’s quite possibly the dumbest game I’ve played in a long while. However, it’s wickedly self-aware of its own silliness and revels in it, leading to the kind of guilty pleasure that can only come with such a willful grasp of absurdity. And smashing things up, of course.
  21. Wheelman is saved by the fact that none of its flaws affect the core of the gameplay and, by extension, its entertaining value. It's an incredibly direct game, a rarity in this generation. If you can look beyond its absurd plot, going berserk in Barcelona has never been this fun.
  22. Something about The Wheelman doesn't feel entirely finished. It could be the graphics, which look sloppy and fall victim to all of the downfalls of the Unreal 3 engine. Texture pop-ins are almost constant, and they don't even look that good once they are fully displayed.
  23. This game is actually a lot of fun while it lasts, but the missions soon begin to blend into one another and the side missions are just not that entertaining. The on foot sections of the game are frankly dire, but if you are after a few hours of fun you could do much worse than lose yourself in this.
  24. While it won’t win huge awards, The Wheelman remains a fun game to experience. The saddest part of all is that Midway’s economic problems have clearly hampered the development of the game. It feels unfinished, unpolished and compressed into its simplest form. When you go to the store to buy it or rent it, just don’t expect to be blown away and it won’t hurt your feelings.
  25. While Wheelman won’t win any games for originality it’s still a fun game which is packed to the brim with action, it’s definitely worth the cost of a rental fee if you are on the fence.
  26. Wheelman is a relatively successful movie based game without a movie. It translates spectacular over-the-top cinematic racing action to an accessible game, set in the pleasant surroundings of Barcelona. Unfortunately its gameplay is so dumbed down that it lacks any challenge whatsoever, making Wheelman a decent – but flawed – snack that lies somewhere in-between GTA IV, Driver, and Burnout.
  27. Quite frankly, we’re as stunned as you are. Just take one look at that box, that exploitable genre, that celebrity-endorsed title; everything about Wheelman screams disaster, except the game itself.
  28. I wasn’t expecting much out of Wheelman, and then Vin showed me he means business. Wheelman is a fun ride, but ultimately forgettable once it the ride is over.
  29. The story is bland and doesn't match the fast pace of the gameplay, but actually playing the game is really fun. The glitches occur a bit more frequently than I would like to see, but overall the experience is fun, and delivers on the sense of being a totally badass wheelman.
  30. Midway Studios Newcastle and Tigon Studios have created one of the most frantic games of the market, which unfortunately fails in its lack of depth and repetitiveness.
  31. My expectations and hopes weren't dashed. I instead got a sort of fun action game that has some cool missions but some terrible flaws and an awful story.
  32. Wheelman draws influence from a number of other titles, and fails to provide anything really new to the mix. Some initial excitement is offset quickly by repetition, and ultimately the game suffers for it.
  33. The Wheelman is a fusion between the sandbox and the race genre. Featuring ideas taken from games like Driver, Need for Speed and GTA, Vin Diesel is the main figure of the staff between the game. Controlling Milo Burik, a sort of undercover cop, we´ll travel to Barcelona to see what´s happening there. We´ll never know which is our real objective, and the plot lacks depth and connection. Racing through Barcelona, we found a decent game that has a mix of driving and shooting. Pack this with a fair graphic engine and you have a title that performs well but is not at the level of the best.
  34. Wheelman is a merely correct videogame that could be improved with more inspiration in its development. Nothing is especially good or bad in this Vin Diesel flick, but it needs that point that pushes us to play and/or recommend it. With the enormous supply of quality Sand-Box in the market, the option of Wheelman is only useful for those who are done with Saint’s Row 2 or GTA IV.
  35. I appreciate Vin Diesel’s love for gaming, and the plans he has for future games, but I can’t help but hope that the subsequent releases from his studio don’t cater to his Hollywood nature. His games will benefit from it.
  36. 62
    Unfortunately, while on paper it might have sounded like a Fast and Furious calibre idea, in reality Wheelman is barely a Pacifier.
  37. While Wheelman is great fun in a vehicle, on foot it becomes decidedly average. [May 2009, p.122]
  38. But poor storytelling, dull mission structure, lack of variety in the location and a lack of polish left me wanting much more.
  39. This could have been an inspired game, and it certainly contains some original touches and good ideas. However, just when it should be hitting top gear it is knocked back into neutral by inconsistencies and average execution.
  40. Wheelman is best described as a B-movie. Bad production values and a lousy script. However, the funny one-liners, bad dialog and over-the-top action make up for lost ground. Wheelman is by far a good game, but still a very enjoyable one.
  41. If you mix together gameplay elements from Driver, Grand Theft Auto, Burnout and then throw some Vin Diesel in there the result is The Wheelman. An action filled experience where driving cars actually offers an entertaining experience during the somewhat repetitive missions. There is a total lack of storytelling in the game, and the sequences on foot are quite mediocre, but if you can look past this you'll be treated to a decent action experience.
  42. The Wheelman can be fun in small doses, but it quickly becomes repetitive and even with the additional tasks and missions, the game can’t have the personality and vibrancy needed to keep us playing through the virtual streets of Barcelona for a long time.
  43. Wheelman offers plenty of movie-style thrills, although it's hamstrung by terrible on-foot gameplay.
  44. Fun, fast and, on occasions, furiously agitating, Wheelman is a rental-worthy release through and through.
  45. If you’re looking for a GTA-style title with Vin Diesel in it, then you’ve found your game. If you’re looking for an open-world, arcade-style racer, then you may want to look elsewhere. Wheelman flirts on the buggy side and the over-the-top, cinematic action is often bogged down by silly additions and weird design decisions.
  46. We couldn’t really recommend purchasing Wheelman – not at full price anyway. For the sheer fact that it isn’t necessarily painful to play, you might want to chuck some cash in Wheelman’s general direction when it inevitably hits the bargain bins, but that, as they say, is your whack.
  47. 60
    Brainless fun in small doses, but so many spare parts in the long run.
  48. Thrilling pursuits are the only focus of the game, because the free roaming aspect and the on-foot sections are not enjoyable. You can save Wheelman if you like Vin Diesel. Otherwise, save your money.
  49. It's certainly mechanically sound, but you should probably attempt to find it at a slight discount.
  50. You know, it’s not the end of the world, but it seems aimed squarely at people who have either never driven a car or like the cut of Vin’s jib. I’m neither, so I found it a difficult thing to appreciate in any way, shape or form. It’s too easy, too simple, too contrived. People who demand very little from their time on a game might disagree.
  51. 55
    You'll quickly discover the game runs out of tricks and you'll grow tired of the drudgery of plowing through missions. Just like any good adrenaline rush, you'll come crashing back down.
  52. Contains a few neat innovations, but it's too clumsy to let you really enjoy them. [June 2009, p.76]
  53. Sure, you might give the developers a hand when it comes to several “cool” concepts of slamming enemies into the wall with your car or leaping from car to car, but you’ll grow tired of the over-the-top action sooner rather than later.
  54. A clumsy and lifeless last-gen action game.
  55. There are some highs, but they all come early, in the thrill of your first Air Jack or Cyclone, or the first hilarious ragdoll enemy death or the sight of Vin Diesel on a scooter. After that, nothing really changes. It's all smoothly presented, accessible, and easy enough to play for a few hours, but it has very little to offer beyond not making you especially angry.
  56. Overall Wheelman is a below average Grand Theft Auto clone.
  57. It's passable for those just looking for some mindless action and fans of his films, but there's too many issues to hold this game aloft in the crowded action genre.
  58. On paper, the mission design seems suitably varied, but before long it grows deeply repetitive. It doesn’t help that outdated design decisions, such as artificially sped-up vehicles during chase sequences, rear their ugly heads.
  59. Wheelman delivers in some entertaining driving-based action that tries extremely hard to capture any who lust for a Driver rebirth; however, there's just too much missing from the overall formula to make it an engrossing offering.
  60. 48
    I wanted Wheelman to be a guilty pleasure, like 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand, but it's just guilty of being a poor game.
  61. The game effectively highlights the difference between a sandbox which facilitates player experimentation, and a game environment that only allows prescribed actions. [May 2009, p.95]
  62. Vin Diesel proves not to have the magic touch after all, with this technically inept Driver wannabe.
  63. It’s like an ironic mustache or mullet. Like having a Steven Segal DVD in your collection. You’ll never get any real use out of it. You just have it in with your other games to show you friends you have a sense of humor.
User Score
7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 54 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 11
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 11
  3. Negative: 1 out of 11
  1. Apr 7, 2014
    7
    Out of nowhere comes a game full of action sequences and fun gimmicks, that it is almost possible to forgive the poor design of this 3rdOut of nowhere comes a game full of action sequences and fun gimmicks, that it is almost possible to forgive the poor design of this 3rd person shooter/driver hybrid. Wheelman really throws some interesting stuff in front of you when you are behind the wheel. Unlike any game before it has there been so many options to take out rival cars or shake pursues off your tail, from leaping from a car that is about to explode it any second, to shunting a cop car into a pile of rubble, Wheelman really delivers the satisfaction when your speeding down the freeway.

    Where Wheelman stalls is the awful third person shooting sections that are average at best and at times game breakingly frustrating. Also while having some unique special moves to target pursues with your gun whilst at high speed chases, some of the missions can be awfully unforgiving when trying to navigate the road and pick off targets with your gun when you do not have said special movies locked in.

    So many cool concepts and so much average/frustrating gameplay keeps Wheelman from being the sleeper game that could of really come up from behind.
    Full Review »
  2. Jan 3, 2011
    4
    Food critics will usually review a restaurant a few days after opening as the first night will have a show put on by the owners, a methodFood critics will usually review a restaurant a few days after opening as the first night will have a show put on by the owners, a method which could not be more apt for Wheelman. While the demo will suck you in, the game from then on will spit you out and desecrate you for good measure. Naturally, there are a few aspects of the game that deliver on its promise of the over the top action we've all come accustomed to from Vin Diesel films of late. You can attack other cars with your own vehicle using the right stick, which is useful for ousting enemies and police alike. You can also "air-jack" a car, in which you hold down circle/B, and when an arrow on top of your desired car turns green, you will leap from your car and get into the other person's. While this seems incredibly ridiculous, it is actually fun. Once you've sped enough (or something similar, I haven't touched the game in the past year and a half), you get points which you can use to slow down time while driving, and you can physically aim where to shoot through the wind-sheild, which is aided by an overly simple auto-aim. A more advanced version of this turns the car 180 degrees, which is incredibly useful for taking cars out behind you. And of course, there's a heap of cheesy lines from Vin to keep you going. And those are the good aspects. All of them. There are absolutely no more.This is a GTA clone if someone mixed up the embryos with a game from 5 years ago and created some mutant offspring. You'd think that if a game is entitled "Wheelman", there would be a great emphasis on driving. Not so, unfortunately. Most of the game will be spent on foot, with truly abhorrent controls. It's difficult to aim, and the cover system is beyond clunky. There are limited weapons, which Vin magically stores on his back. They could've just gone for the old-school GTA method of switching guns out of nowhere, but an invisible adhesive is used for some reason. The game focuses too much on explosions, with exploding barrels everywhere from an abandoned metro station (understandable), to a church graveyard, which is not. And what do you do if you want a car to escape this on-foot madness? You just press triangle/Y, and the nearest car magically stops, waiting for you to steal their car. And how many cars do you have to choose from? This may be an exaggeration, but my guess is 14. For a driving game, about 14 cars. GTA is both shooting and driving, and has over 200 cars. 14 is pathetic. And I'm not a car expert, but I counted 2 licensed cars, something which GTA will never have. What are these cars? A Vauxhall/Opel Astra, the embodiment of mediocrity in cars, and the Smart Car, one of the slowest on the planet. Awful, truly. The story is instantly forgettable. You're some sort of undercover agent infiltrating the infamous underbelly of Barcelona for some sort of agency. My guess is Interpol. But you still get pulled over by the police. Anyway, you get involved with each of the three gangs that control Barcelona, one with an African-European, who is the most obese character in a game I've seen since Big Smoke, one old school mafioso family and another gang, who I don't know for the life of me who they are, although it hardly matters. You'll do missions for one gang against one of the others, yet you'll be able to continue missions for the others. I remember doing a hit against an armed convoy, and going to the family on the receiving end the next day, at which the boss knows that it was you, but he lets you continue working for him due to you saying "I'm just a Wheelman". And you continue with your business. I'll be honest, I didn't finish the story, but I doubt it mattered much. I also didn't do any of the side missions, because I wasn't pushed to do them, they meant nothing. I didn't wonder around as you do in a free roaming game, Barcelona is such a nondescript city for a video game that you'll be bored in 2 minutes. The graphics could easily have been lifted from a PS2 game, and no one would know the difference, with glitches more common than not. Apart from Vin Diesel, the voice acting is terrible, and the soundtrack is dreadful, with radio stations called "Hip-Hop" and "American". There's no replay value with the absence of multiplayer, which would be accepted if the single-player was anything close to focused. Saying that, there's not much play value, either. Gameplay: 4
    Story: 3
    Graphics: 4
    Sound: 3
    Replay Value: 1
    Verdict: If you want to, play the demo, nothing more.
    Full Review »
  3. Petergriffin
    Dec 10, 2009
    9
    Fantastic game provides the thrills u expected from a game like. Car gameplay is one of the best while on foot gameplay is one of the worst.