LT Panel
RT Panel
Just Visiting
Thursday | August 16, 2018
Popular Review Links:
Wheelman (PC)

Wheelman (PC)


It seems to be a prime time for Vin Diesel with several computer games including Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena released recently. Today we are taking a look at Wheelman, a game much closer to what you would expect from the musclebound anti hero if you went to the cinema to see his latest film. It is all about fast cars, lovely looking women and plenty of weaponry. The mainstream press have slated this recently, but I find it quite enjoyable!

Vin Diesel plays Milo Burik, an undercover policeman from Miami who is in Barcelona to deal with the Catalonian underworld. He does so by getting a name for himself as an expert driver with a mastery of all vehicles from bikes to trucks. This basically gives you an excuse to drive around, kick some ass and wreck the city in any way you want. There are insane stunts, slow motion take downs and flying carjacks on the motorway.

As you get used to the game you begin to see how much fun it can be and that Vin Diesel is a very versatile character capable of handing out a ton of pain in a variety of ways. Midway Studios Newcastle appear to be onto an interesting concept because while many have unfavourably compared this to GTA the focus is mainly about solving your problems from behind the seat of whatever vehicle you happen to be behind at the time.

If you want to take people out in other vehicles you can use the right mouse button and motions to sideswipe them until their car is in critical condition and they explode, or you can use your guns to take out their fuel tanks, tires … as well as the people themselves inside. You can do this with a simple lock system or you can earn enough speed boost to enable you to use a bullet time style slow mo mode called Cyclone or Aimed Shot to take them out in only a few shots.

Car jacking is a brilliantly fun mechanic and it only works against the general populace or on missions in specific situations. You hold down the right mouse button until an icon above the vehicle in front changes from red to green, let it go and wham Vin Diesel jumps onto the roof, slams through a window, takes control and drives off as if nothing had happened. This is particularly useful if your car or bike is damaged and you need to quickly change to a fresh set of wheels without stopping.

The vehicles range from scooters and sports bikes, through to various cars, vans and even 18 wheel lorries. They all handle quite well and it is quite amusing to see the musclebound Diesel riding along on a little pink moped with a submachine gun strapped to his back.

The city of Barcelona is a stripped down environment which works reasonably well in the context of the game … sure, don’t be expecting GTA4, but in fairness the graphics and design aren’t really all that bad. There are broad roads connected by various alleys and there are specific landmarks such as parks, train stations and shopping districts.

Everything about the game is designed to let you drive around like a maniac much like you would expect from him in The Fast and The Furious and to ram the point home the story attempts to bring up the dozens of side missions on your GPS map, which all revolve around you racing, smashing things up and creating as much mayhem as possible. Finishing all the side missions unlocks garages, weapon caches and upgrades for your focus meter that powers your Cyclones and boosts … it is all very arcade like.

Vin Diesel is a gamer because he has his own game company and it is clear when he came up with this game that he said “let the players have as much fun as possible and wreck everything” because frequently on the missions there are shells of destroyed vehicles everywhere. The side missions however are rather weak and repetitive and it was only almost when I had finished the game that I decided to play through as many as I could. You do the same things in various parts of the city, just normally in a slightly different environment with a slightly different time limit.

The car combat entertained me for quite a time and even though while I knew it wasn’t ‘awesome’ something about this game just appealed to me from start to finish. Cyclone and Aimed shot are novel ideas and work great in the contexts of the game especially when you see Vin Diesel spinning around in his seat and shooting out the engine of a pursuing car. Sideswiping is the only aspect of the car combat which didn’t really work for me, but I was able to forgive it because I was having a lot of fun in the primary missions. The AI isn’t wonderful and it is quite obvious when you are pursuing someone and you fall behind to realise that their icon has almost stopped to let you catch up a little. Equally so, the frustration is high when you are trying to escape only to have the enemies never give up and never fall behind no matter how hard you try and how many of them you seem to take out. This also happens in the secondary street races which is a little silly.

The car handling worked for me and even though it is firmly footed in the arcade sector it works quite well … most of the vehicles handle as you would expect. Motorbikes accelerate quickly, don’t take much punishment while an 18 wheeler will be the complete reverse. You can also get out of the vehicles to wander to other rides, or to enter into hand to hand combat which I also quite enjoyed. The cover system isn’t the greatest, but at least it has one … you hit space to duck behind barrels or walls to regain your strength and reload your weapon. There is a lock on mode, but I preferred the freestyle options as it offered more of a challenge. The enemies don’t prove much of a challenge unless you walk out of cover and decide to take on a handful with sub machine guns which means you do need to use the cover system to advance.

Visually the game is not bad at all. I have read comments that it is bland and unatmospheric, but i found it acceptable if you don’t try and compare it to GTA4. The Unreal engine as we all know runs well on a variety of hardware and on my quad core with 260 GTX it was capable of running along really smoothly at 2560×1600 with everything maxed. The characters unfortunately don’t look wonderful with not a lot of attention to detail, however Vin Diesel has been realistically recreated. Nothing is ‘bad’ and the extremely smooth running engine makes up for a lot of the shortcomings.

The environments repeat with roads looking very similar and a specific limit of objects being repeated from time to time and without the map it would be very easy to get lost as it is hard to make out more than a handful of specific landmarks as you drive around. Thankfully the game developers do not force you to drive around to every mission start as you can hit the GPS key (P) and click the left mouse on the mission you wish to play.

The soundtrack is sadly lacking however the ambient effects are perfectly fine and they give enough impact to sound just as you would expect them to if you were wandering around yourself. Vin Diesel handles his own voice acting and the rest of the voice actors are great.


Wheelman contrary to popular belief isn’t an unmitigated disaster and I honestly enjoyed playing the game from start to finish, even though there was a certain amount of repetition after a while. The combat worked for me and while the environments weren’t comparable to the detail in Grand Theft Auto 4, if you are in a fun mood and don’t have any set pre-expectations then there is quite a lot of positives to be taken from the game. I still remember some of the missions and while the storyline is silly and a little contrived some of the characters would make good movie crossovers. Don’t let the critics put you off trying this game, because you might actually enjoy it.


An interesting concept with some clever game mechanics.
Powered by the Unreal engine which means it will be very smooth for most people.
Great voice acting from a plethora of actors, including Vin Diesel himself.
I played it for 12 hours solid over the weekend and enjoyed it all.

Well worth a look, even with the faults.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

It appears you have AdBlocking activated

Unfortunately AdBlockers interfere with the shopping cart process

To continue with the payment process can we ask you to

deactivate your AdBlocking plugin

or to whitelist this site. Then refresh the page

We thank you for your understanding

Hardwareheaven respect you right to employ plugins such as AdBlocker.
We would however ask you to consider whitelisting this site
We do not allow intrusive advertising and all our sponsors supply items
relevant to the content on the site.

Hardwareheaven Webmaster