8 things you didn't know about Wheelman

4) Vin Diesel’s mug is scary… in a good way

We’ve seen some pretty dodgy looking celebrity likenesses in licensed games recently – Quantum of Solace’s Daniel Craig face that was so waxy it looked like it belonged in Madame Tussauds springs to mind. Thankfully, Midway Newcastle have really captured the subtle, brooding menace of the Chronicles of Riddick star. From the trademark furrowed brow, 24-style lingering scowls or Vin’s deadpan but effective voice work; you really do feel like you’re controlling Hollywood’s hardest slap head.

5) It’s like Red Dead Revolver in a car

Remember Rockstar’s overlooked gem of a Wild West shooter? Well, Wheelman is like that in a vehicle. Only without the horses, tumbleweed or old-timey prostitutes. Specifically, it’s the slow motion in-car aiming system that reminds of us of the targeting system we used with Red a few years back.

In this mode, the camera pans slightly above your arm – kind of like a quasi first person/Resi 4-style view – and lets you target specific vehicle or enemy parts. It’s particularly useful when you want to take out wheels or pull off easy headshots. And there’s nothing quite like seeing a car flip up and pirouette through the air after you’ve crippled it’s suspension with a well-placed shot.

6) Nothing gets in your way

During our playthrough one of the developers aimed a not so sly dig at Niko Bellic’s amoral adventures by stating that their trees ‘wouldn’t get in your way’ And it’s true, GTA IV’s indestructible trunks of doom that would stop you dead in your tracks are nowhere to be seen in Wheelman. Truth be told, we did our fair part for Spanish deforestation by ploughing through half the tress in Barcelona.

In fact, in the right vehicle, namely a semi-truck - that lets you drive through almost anything – nothing will get in your way. This was demonstrated particularly well when we chased a boss in our truck, crushing seas of traffic and shrubbery under our massive wheels. And all to the charming tones of some opera music - provided by one of Wheelman's in-game radio stations. How civilized.

7) Vin Diesel actually takes games seriously

As anyone who’s played the Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay will attest to, Vin Diesel is not in the habit of appearing in shoddy games. Granted, it’s not a mantra he’s always followed in his celluloid career – think the Pacifier <shudder>.

Thankfully, Wheelman looks set to maintain the quality production values and intense atmosphere of Riddick’s immersive FPS. It may not be pushing the PS3 and 360 quite as hard as Butcher Bay did, but the build we saw was pleasingly solid. Vin’s also been putting some serious hours in the recording studio. So there’s no need to worry about a SpiderMan 3 Tobey Maguire-esque phoned-in performance.

8) You fight a train with a bike

Trying to stealthily sneak away from the cops in car with knackered brakes – thanks to some unwelcome tinkering from a gang of Romanians – is tense. Racing through Spanish rush hour traffic with a live bomb in the back seat of our car even more so. But battling a tube train while on a puny motorcycle? Now that’s just ridiculous. Nevertheless, that’s exactly what we had to do in the final mission we were allowed to play.

After chasing a gang of bikers through a shopping mall and down into Barcelona’s underground network on Milo’s hog, we suddenly found ourselves chasing the head biker who’d boarded a train. Now most normal people would probably just give up and go for an early siesta at this point. But then again, most people aren't named after a type of fossil fuel.

The highlight of the chase was definitely entering into slow motion and individually shooting specific parts of each carriage, which subsequently fell off, making the train smaller and smaller. Silly, gloriously over the top, but the sort of shameless escapism only games can capture. This one set piece was the perfect summation of everything Wheelman does well.

Nov 28, 2008

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  • GodlikeApe - December 1, 2008 12:13 p.m.

    I'm well proud of being an imperialist pig. Glad to do my part in making the world a better place. Game looks alright too, might give it a rent!
  • FancyRat - December 1, 2008 2:46 a.m.

    How much did they pay you for this?
  • TheFish - November 29, 2008 11:16 p.m.

    no.1 romanian fan here gets a tingle of joy when you imperialist pigs mention my country (romania really sucks though!) hail Chausescu!!
  • NelosAngelos - November 29, 2008 9:12 p.m.

    Holy crap, that rhymed!!
  • jimsondanet - November 29, 2008 12:12 a.m.

    yea ima diesal fan ever since riddick i look forward to some user reviews on metacritic
  • Tornado7000 - November 28, 2008 7:41 p.m.

    I was never really interested in this when I first heard about it, but reading this article and from what I've seen, it looks awesome. GTA IV had really high production values, but was slow and dull to play. This actually looks like it could be ENTERTAINING, which a lot of games seem to forget about these days! Will wait for more news on this, but definitely looks like it could be one to pick up.
  • RowleyBirkinQC - December 2, 2008 8:01 p.m.

    not really bothered about wheelman, think it looks mediocre at best
  • TheCorpulent1 - December 2, 2008 7:21 p.m.

    I wasn't looking forward to this at all, but consider my mind changed thanks to this preview. It's definitely going on my rental list with a possible buy in the future.
  • arrowman01 - December 1, 2008 11:26 a.m.

    Looks awesome! Might pre-order this one. Not slow and boring like GTA.
  • NelosAngelos - November 29, 2008 9:11 p.m.

    Funny how Vin Diesel is an actor, yet some of his best work was in video games. I'm a little skeptical about this game, A GTA like game that's even more over the top then Saints Row two? Why not just let Vin walk through walls and hide an RPG in his shoe?
  • Tasty_Pasta - November 29, 2008 8 p.m.

    Hahaha! Like Red Dead Revolver in a car! As much as that statement interests me, I still have no intentions of picking this game up.
  • Shellghost - November 29, 2008 2:45 a.m.

    tornado7000 is right, games seem to have forgotten that they are ment to be entertainment, latley they've concentrated on being realistic over entertaining
  • joabbuac - November 28, 2008 6:55 p.m.

    Ive seen a few gameplay clips and was not really impressed.............we'll see
  • Treners - November 28, 2008 6:52 p.m.

    also, first! xD
  • Treners - November 28, 2008 6:51 p.m.

    Great article, but "knackered breaks" should be "knackered brakes". Might rent this, looks alright :)

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