GC 2008: Wheelman Preview
Written Thursday, September 25, 2008 By Dan WebbView author's profile
Wheelman is set in the Spanish city of Barcelona and behind the cities’ hot weather, beautiful women and fiesta style atmosphere, lies a dark criminal underworld which is where our main protagonist steps in. Mylo Burrick who is voiced by and has the likeness of Vin Diesel, is an undercover agent who gets thrown in head first in to a huge escalating gang war as he attempts to save someone from his past. The world you are cast in to is not an exact copy of Barcelona as Tigon have decided to exercise their artistic license in the city to create a better experience, but with over 30 landmarks featuring in the level, we’re sure that unless you know Barcelona well, you’d be hard pushed to tell the difference.
One of the levels on show at this year’s Games Convention was the opening level where Burrick must help one of his contacts escape from a bank robbery with the police in hot pursuit. At this point as Burrick is dashing through the streets, driving through benches, trees, you name it, it’s clear that the intention of Tigon Studios is not to create a realistic driving experience. The focus is most definitely on the speed, pursuit and experience as a whole and they clearly don’t want any small obstacle slowing you down on the way. This in another sense makes the game really accessible to all types of gamers, ranging from the casual to the hardcore.
In order to create the illusion of a Hollywood movie, Tigon have taken it on board to throw in plenty of Hollywood style stunts... You know, the completely unrealistic, over the top stunts that are only ever present in movies ... Wheelman has plenty of them.
The first of these worth mentioning is the vehicle combat system. With a simple nudge of the right thumbstick, you can throw the car across the road. You are in effect using the car then as a powerful battering ram and slamming your opponents in to railings or surrounding architecture provides some text book Hollywood smashes and explosions. As you progress through the game, your opponents will start to use the same moves on you, so expect a bumpy ride.
My personal favourite feature of the whole demo was most definitely the “cyclone attack” which is possibly the most elaborate weapon of the game and something that you’d definitely only really see in Hollywood. With the “cyclone attack” your car will perform a 180 and as you are facing the wrong way, time slows giving you a window of opportunity to aim your gun to take out any pursuers. All you need to do to perform this behemoth of a move is to click down on the d-pad and Burrick will perform the “cyclone”. I kid you not, I swear Hollywood was never this fun!
The emphasis on Wheelman falls entirely on high octane, over the top, Hollywood style chases and scenes. Wheelman by no means is trying to be a racer of any kind whatsoever, it’s just trying to create some pretty elaborate scenes and it does just that, while looking good as well. We won’t know entirely whether Wheelman will be worth shouting about till we’re sat with the review copy in hand but rest assured, Vin is coming baby and he’s trying to create a whole load of commotion on the way.