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.