Wheelman

Common Sense Media says

Gangster driver-for-hire; violent but less graphic than GTA.

Age(i)

2
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8
9
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Players can shoot at police officers and ram cop cruisers off the road. Plus, women are often portrayed as "easy" in this game, with references to prostitutes and imagery of dancers in a strip club (but with no nudity).

Violence

Players can shoot at people in the game -- including police officers -- or ram cars off the road. Unlike the Grand Theft Auto games, however, pedestrians jump out of the way of the speeding vehicle and there is no blood or gore in the game. Enemies simply fall down once killed.

Sex

The game has some suggestive dialogue about prostitutes and strippers and there is some imagery of an exotic dancer in a strip club, but there is no nudity.

Language

The game does have some strong language, such as "sh-t" and "assh-le" as well as some Spanish swear words. But there is no F-word in the game, or variances of it.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

Parents say

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Vin Diesel's performance in this video game. And for a game that allegedly has Hollywood writers, do you think the story, dialog, and characters are similar to those found in movies? Do those things matter with a game like this?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows
Price:$49.99 (PC), $59.99 (consoles)
Available online?Not available online
Developer:UbiSoft
Release date:March 24, 2009
Genre:Action/Adventure
ESRB rating:T for Strong Language, Suggestive Themes, Violence (PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360)

This review of Wheelman was written by

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About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written byjoshandy September 5, 2009
AGE
15
QUALITY
 

Uhh...Teen?

Violence isnt that bad, enemies just die without showin blood in the air or on the gound/walls. Language is strong for a teen rated game, and should be used with coution. Sexual ladies in strip joints are used and shown. No nudity.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent Written byMatt The Gamer November 8, 2009
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

Perfect for anyone 14 and over

First off I'm going to make a comparison here. If you are a parent of a kid under 17 who asked for a Grand Theft Auto title and you said no... get him/her this game. This game has the same free open racing/walking world of GTA... only with good morals and characters. As opposed to playing a criminal like you do in GTA... you play as Vin Diesel who is an undercover special agent. He pretends to be a criminal yes... but he really is not. Most of the game centers around car combat and such with some gun play thrown in. The shooting in this game is not graphic at all. No blood, no gore, no violent death animations. Also, in response to part of the above info given about the game: you can shoot civilians and the police... but no matter what... they can't die. You can walk right up to them and shoot them with a shot gun and they don't even fall over. They literally can't die. And if you shoot the police or civilians the squad cars show up to arrest you. Even when the police have their squad cars blow up... if you look carefully you can see them flying from the car... and if you look behind you they actually get up and start trying to shoot at ya. The only people that can die are the character and the gang member bad guys. The only iffy thing about this game is the fact that you can steal any car at any time. While that is wrong, Vin doesn't kill the person he steals the car from ever (unless he steals it from a gang banger in which it is player optional to "try" to do so) and he's doing it to bring down the criminal underworld that is holding Barcelona (where the game is set). Overall... it's a beautiful game with a great story and lots of fun things to do.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written byironmaidenfan December 5, 2011
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

Half-way decent driving game is age appropiate with the exception of an edgy cutscene

Wheelman is a decent game. Its nothing special but if you want to crash a motorcycle through a office building and then hijack a scooter midair you could do worse. On to the content the suggestive themes is just that you do see a stripper dancing but don't any of her breasts or genitallia. The language is arguably on the higher side of T games. No f-words as to be expected from a T game but you do hear sh**, he**, and hijo de puta i.e. son-of-a-bit**. The violence is nothing too bad with the exception of a cutscene you can skip where it appears that a man is being bludgeoned with a hammer. It really is less bad then it sounds as you don't see much just a glimpse of the guy and the hammer. The shooting isn't as it is strangely enough bloodless. Also strange, you can shoot civilians as much as you want but they won't even flinch. They also seem to have the uncannily ability to dodge any car coming towards them. I think its on for 14 year olds if they skip the cutscene with the bludgeoning and pause for 14 year olds if not.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing

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