Jan 3, 2011Food 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
Replay Value: 1
Verdict: If you want to, play the demo, nothing more.… Expand
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.