E3 2008: The Wheelman Hands-On

We jump from car to car in Vin Diesel's latest action romp.

Vin Diesel is no stranger to starring in video games alongside his big-screen blockbusters. After lending his voice and face to The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay a few years ago, it's clearly time for him to try his had at another action packed offering. We went hands-on with The Wheelman today, an open-world driving game that will set the stage for the eventual movie release.

As can be guessed by its name, the majority of The Wheelman is comprised of driving missions. We controlled the getaway car after a sloppy bank heist, avoiding cops while trying to find a safe place to hide. We were able to ditch the police by going somewhere they didn't dare follow: an office building. The developers promise a number of unique paths along the way, so you won't be stuck on the save paved roads the whole time.

Vin has some fancy maneuvers in his repertoire to make the driving a little more hectic than just getting from one point to another. By nudging the right stick, you can slam into enemy cars, though they will also ram into you and dodge your attacks if you're not paying attention. If you hold the right stick down, you can look behind you and try to stem their pursuit with firepower. Or you can slow down time and manually shoot out your foe's tires; or just shoot the other drivers in the head.

The new move they were showing off at E3 is an air jack jump. Reminiscent of Pursuit Force, you can leap from one car to another, commandeering enemy vehicles along with those owned by helpless civilians. It is fun abandoning your clunky ride for something with a little more pep, but being able to leave your smoking car after taking damage does remove some of the challenge.

The game takes place in Barcelona, and though a lot of it is modeled after the real city, the developers also took a few liberties to make the driving faster and more focused. We were able to see some landmarks while trying to blow up overly aggressive cars, which is a nice touch if you're a sentimental assassin.

The story mode should take about 10 hours to complete, but most of the game is contained in optional missions. There are 25 story missions planned and 105 side missions. Some of the side missions can earn you new powers, such as the taxi missions, which unlock warp points throughout the city. There is no multiplayer component planned at this time. You'll be able to test your own driving abilities sometime this fall.

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35 comments
jelly76
jelly76

Is it just me or are Gamespot getting slower with their reviews?

jelly76
jelly76

I must confess guys, I was totally dreading a Vin Diesel game, lol only a matter of time, however, I currently have the russian version installed, starforce protected so please dont accuse me of pirating, its pre-order, comes out 12th March in Russia. And I gotta say,its pretty sweet, if you can forget the lead character lmao. Seriously It runs sweet on my q6600 4gb ram 8800gt sli rig 60fps all day long everything maxxed out @ 1680x1050 monitor max 4 x AA after much online translating the menu options lol. The graphics are nothing groundbreaking but do the job very nicely, couldnt figure out how to turn blur off, but thats a personal preference I guess. What makes this game shine is the CONTROL system believe it or not...ingenious for mouse/keyboard, I wont bore you with the specific details but trust me it works very very well ram with mouse or cursors, drive with space, wsad etc The 'jump' from car to car makes me laugh everytime, but I think its a bit overused and Ive only played about 2 hrs lol. But listen, Midway have got a possible GTAIV beater on their hands here, but obviously only single player :( If they release a demo defo try that first, but I think its actually quite good :) Bogatyr Thanks again for the advance copy if your reading this ;) cheers dude xx my screenie pic here http://img23.imageshack.us/img23/7378/wheelmanscreenies.jpg

overhang
overhang

I hope there will be a mod to change the main character's appearance...

theodosis21r
theodosis21r

i would buy it just to kill people in front of sagrada familia! barcelona is the most beautiful city in the world

Wej_accept_it
Wej_accept_it

Normally, I'd say a game endorsed by a celebrity like Vin Diseal would be dodgy, except, I've played Butcher Bay and it was friggen sweet

nbalive50
nbalive50

Looks cool! When is the demo coming out?

Jackyll87
Jackyll87

Escape from butcher bay went farther than the movie and i liked it more than the movie. Hope this also follows its own story rather than the movie's storyline.

jmrwacko
jmrwacko

Not all movie games have to suck. Goldeneye? Chronicles of Riddick?

Sharvie
Sharvie

10 hours? That's longer than CoD4's SP. :o

yosef95
yosef95

posting at all sandbox games ****** nolife

yosef95
yosef95

scorch plz kill yourself

gmax
gmax

And aren't we all really just sentimental assassins?

Alf
Alf

i don't give a damn about the game, i know i'll get it just to hear his voice. vin diesel has one of the best voices around. i can't forget some of his catch phrases at the chronicles of riddick series.

ognen
ognen

passing as well

TehFuneral
TehFuneral

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

gimousis
gimousis

I guess it's just a mix of older best-selling games such as GTA, driver etc. Although, I don't want to be absolute about the game if I don't see the gameplay with my own eyes!

ryo_strife24
ryo_strife24

Since I don't call a game good or bad by the graphics like some small minded gamers. I'll going to see how this game will shape up. I enjoyed Driver 1 & 2, and really wanted another one but got Driv3r which was horrible. Hopefully more info and videos will surface before its release.

plm3d_basic
plm3d_basic

This game has lots of potential but they need to really improve the graphics b/c so far it doesn't impress in that department.

jakeboudville
jakeboudville

yup, i don't like games w/o the normal multiplayer

Pete5506
Pete5506

We dont always need multiplayer

Hungry_bunny
Hungry_bunny

Not sure about this game, Vin Diesel won't make the game instant AA. I'll wait for more info.

Cube_of_MooN
Cube_of_MooN

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

grambyte
grambyte

Vinny being into games isn't strange, but I expected to see a lot more from him by now.

WizengamotX
WizengamotX

What I'd really like to see most is the "next-gen remake" of Butcher Bay. Until then I can live with this. The issue with me is that this looks to be extremely repetitive.