Thursday , April 18 2024
Vin Diesel stars as Milo Burik (not Dominic Toretto) in this exciting racing action game.

PlayStation 3 Review: Wheelman

"The streets are his battleground, the car his weapon."

Every good movie…er, video game has a tagline right? This Midway collaboration game with Ubisoft delivers fast fun and a T rating so younger crime gamers can get in on the action and the now familiar Grand Theft Auto-like format. Vin Diesel takes center stage in this crime saga as Milo Burik, a smart hoodlum who just arrived in Barcelona from Miami.

This brazen criminal anchors an intriguing storyline, including skippable cut scenes (but don’t skip them), as Milo weaves through a dangerous thicket of thugs, criminals and international opportunists, plus gangs including the Romanians, Chulos Canalles, and Los Lantos.

Wheelman's familiar format gets an assist from kinetic AI and flexible mission selections from your PDA Bystanders (motorists and non-motorists), who are actually smart enough to get out of your way (much to the chagrin of sandbox psychos who relish running people down). You still get those aggravating crashes that come out of nowhere near the end of missions, but the car you’ve taken does not have to be perfect, even though your current manager may say otherwise.

So, after a successful mission that you thought was nixed, the manager congratulates you, and then threatens you over any damage he might find. That follow-up never occurs within the game, which is a missed opportunity. The repercussions would create more action and you would have the excitement of getting away with something for a while, which fits your criminal mode of operation perfectly. Maybe you would even get an occasional inspection scene (with optional dialogue choices and consequences) – it 's maybe not the most thrilling entertainment, but it would have boosted the storyline a bit.

Diesel, who also executive produced the game doesn’t have a hard time fitting into the “good guy/bad guy” role and his voice always gets your attention. Minor technical issues include some muddled character renderings, but the environments are solid. Familiar elements include fast-paced music and repair garages scattered throughout the large city filled with ramps for special jumps, and special lion statues where you can earn special bonus when you destroy all 100.

Action enhancers include special stunts like “air jacks”, which are amazing to perform, and a “cyclone” move where Milo can spin his car then shoot his pursuers. The racing, gunplay, and combined combat all impress with thrills “inspired by Hollywood's most famous action-sequences.” Be sure you have enough room on your PlayStation 3 hard drive though because it’s a large initial download, but well worth the ride. You can also look for The Wheelman in movie theaters soon. This movie, directed by John Singleton, will be a sequel to this game.

Wheelman is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for strong language, suggestive themes and violence. This game can also be found on: PC, and Xbox 360.

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