A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is a "Teen"-rated game about underworld crime that it doesn't push the envelope the way the Grand Theft Auto series does. Players can shoot other gang members and thugs as well as police officers (the act will cause cruisers to chase you, which serves as a deterrent as opposed to an incentive) But the game is far less graphic than the likes of the Grand Theft Auto series because there is no blood or extremely violent scenes. Some swearing can be heard and the portrayal of some women is questionable.
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- Kids say
What's it about?
In WHEELMAN, gamers play as Milo Burik, an beefy undercover agent and skilled driver-for-hire who arrives in Barcelona, Spain, to infiltrate three crime syndicates and stop a major deal from going down involving a mysterious briefcase. Not unlike a game like Grand Theft Auto, Burik begins taking on missions for seedy characters to win their trust. Most of these will take place behind the wheel of vehicles -- such as retrieving stolen cars, ramming a rival gang leader, evading a certain group, or driving someone to safety in a cab -- but many will also take place on foot, where Burik must use cover, and weapons, to take down thugs.
While racing throughout the digitally recreated city of Barcelona at top-speed, players will master a handful of tricks, such as racing over ramps, nitro boosts, and earning "focus power" to slow down time for more precise gun shots. Two of the more fun driving moves are "melee" attacks and "air jacking" where Burik can hop from one vehicle to another, if timed correctly, to steal the car he's pursuing. Great fun. Players can access their PDA to see a map of the city, accept the more than 30 missions (and 100 or so side-missions), and head to the garage to repair and re-paint vehicles to help evade the cops.
Is it any good?
Wheelman sounds like a winning combination for a successful video game: over-the-top driving action in an open-ended city, Hollywood-style special effects, and film star Vin Diesel who assumes the role of the lead character. However, it doesn't live up to its potential. The story is truly awful, as is the dialogue and delivery. Even Vin Diesel's cheesy lines are read without any feeling whatever, as if the actor was handed the script minutes before the microphone was turned on.
But the game isn't terrible: the high-speed shoot-outs and vehicular combat is quite rewarding, controls are intuitive, and the graphics are impressive (despite some odd bugs). But Wheelman could've been much more if any thought was given to the story, characters, and dialogue. Plus, the game doesn't offer any multiplayer modes at all, either on the same television or via the Net. Wheelman appears to draw heavy inspiration from the Grand Theft Auto games, but is less graphic. And while not as good of a game, It delivers an entertaining joyride for fans of open-world, run-and-gun-and-drive-like-mad adventures.
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