Wait—I wanted Riddick! WTF?!?
When I first saw the movie Pitch Black, I felt kind of bad for Vin Diesel. I thought he would be forever type-cast as “that guy with the eyes”. So when I found out that his eyes weren’t really all glowy, I felt even worse because let's face it, he hasn’t got much else going for him. His voice sounds like you’re having a stroke and he possesses all the thespian range of a recovering crack addict.
[image1]In Wheelman, Vin plays the only other role besides Glowyeyes McGillicutty, and that is Wheels McGillicutty (don’t bother correcting that, Fast and the Furious isn’t worth defending). Wheelman is the first hand in a double-slap to the face from ol’ Vin, as it is going to have a big blockbuster Hollywood sequel, but judging by how bad the plot is in the game, the movie will no doubt be worse than your average B-movie and not even realize it.
Wheelman feels as though it was supposed to be a movie itself, but no one would agree to be in it, so they made a game for half the cost and hired a bunch of lousy voice actors to fill in the other roles. You play as Milo, a secret agent type who’s gone undercover in Barcelona to uncover a drug ring…or terrorists….or your long-lost sister…or something. The story is pretty bad. Fortunately, there isn’t much of it so I guess that’s a plus. The downside to this is that you still get copious amounts of voiced lines from the supporting cast, most of which come from your sidekick/love interest, Lumi. If you think Vin Diesel’s voice is bad, it’ll sound like a sweet siren’s call after you hear the nails-on-chalkboard shriek this broad tries to pass off as a voice with her ridiculous pan-European accent.
[image2]Keeping with the theme of shittiness, the gameplay plays like Baby’s First Grand Theft Auto. When you’re not in a car, your options are limited. You can either run around and not do much, or you can walk around and not do much. There is of course the option to carjack somebody and go tearing through the city in one of the eight or so cars in the game. This particular vision of Barcelona is also incredibly lenient towards traffic violations. You can steal a car, mow down a dozen pedestrians, ram another car off a bridge, and not a single cop will come after you. Maybe the Spanish authorities were all enamored with Vin Diesel’s performance in The Pacifier.
As the name suggests, Wheelman focuses on the driving which is functional but not great. The driving is arcade-style (presumably because his fans aren’t smart enough to drive?) so there are a bunch of stupid things like handbrake turns and inexplicable ramps throughout the city, one of the more ridiculous (but still not the worst) mechanic being where you have to nudge the right stick to the left or the right to push enemy vehicles into the wall. Your car doesn’t actually turn when you do this, the whole thing slides horizontally. You’re right, that does sound stupid. The running around on foot missions didn’t really wow me either, but they get the job done I suppose. The shooting mechanic is passable but again not great.
[image3]The worst feature is the “air-jack” (just typing it makes me feel stoopidder). where you tailgate behind a car you want to steal, charge up your little air-jack gauge, and when it’s full, you jump from your speeding car to the speeding car in front of you and steal it. This is the kind of stupidity that gives Michael Bay wet dreams and why nobody likes America anymore.
There really isn’t much more to say about Wheelman other than “don’t buy it”. It’s the gaming equivalent of the movie Transmorphers; a cheapo knock-off so when grandma goes to Best Buy to buy baby-junior-Ritalin-pants “the new Vin Diesel game”, she’ll grab this instead of Riddick like he actually wanted. 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.
If I have offended any Vin Diesel fans in this review, I apologize for nothing. Although if you’re one of his fans, odds are you can’t read this anyway.